The story revolves around a race that seeks to dominate the galaxy. A lone mysterious female warrior, known to others as Emeraldas sails the endless planets of the universe- in her Seas of Star ship- fighting the tyranny of that merciless race. She is tormented by the memory of her lost love.
I’m going to start off this review with a disclaimer: If you’re thinking about using this OVA as a starting point for getting into Captain Harlock, turn away right now. With that said, for anyone who’s already a fan you’ll probably enjoy this OVA just because it’s loosely Harlock related and that you’ve probably come to expect very little from anything beyond the original series anyway.
First off, the few good things the series has:
1. The story. Despite the shortcomings of basically everything else, the story itself is actually quite good. The series has great pacing, fun characters, and an interesting overarching plot.
2. The action
sequences. Although a little uninspired the fighting throughout is some of the best in Harlock. There are cosmo guns, gravity sabres, cloaking fields, energy shields, lasers, missiles, space battles, and a giant robot horse.
Now, onto the bad:
1. It’s not actually about Emeraldas. Despite what the title may have lead you to believe the series is actually about a young boy named Hiroshi who dreams of building his own spaceship. Emeraldas acts as his watchful guardian and that’s about it. If you were thinking you’d get to finally see a series with some focus on Harlock’s most alluring and mysterious ally you were wrong.
2. Being an OVA you might assume its self-contained, well it’s not. The series doesn’t end on a cliff hanger or anything but it’s pretty obvious the plot was intended to continue on.
3. The animation sucks (kind of). The first two episodes are pretty solid but the studio was switched halfway through and the latter 2 episodes are visibly worse. Especially the characteristic Leiji Matsumoto eyes which the second studio never seemed to get right. The series also has a penchant for 90’s 3D animation which I assume was all the rage at the time but now looks hilariously bad.
4. The dialogue is terrible. By the end of this 4 episode OVA I estimate you will have heard Emeraldas say “I am Emeraldas” about 14 times. I don’t know what happened but the show really fell flat in this regard.
Ultimately this is a series that you should only watch when you’ve exhausted all other Harlock options. In that regard it’s enjoyable enough, I certainly didn’t hate it but it leaves a lot to be desired. The real tragedy however is simply pondering what could have been. Emeraldas was a fairly underdeveloped character before this OVA and she continues to be afterward but it’s obvious they were setting up for something big. I’ll let you see how it plays out but there’s a lot of foreshadowing and then it seems to end before it even really gets started.
As one of the more mysterious and sufficiently badass women residing in the vast Leijiverse, her boundaries as a side-character rarely failed to aggravate me in her various cameos as the sincere fanboy I identify myself as. I'm talking about the space pirate Emeraldas who had to wait for 1998 to come before she finally got an OVA of her own. I just finished watching it and hopefully this review will provide a considerably more objective assessment than my rampaging fanboyism logically would allow.
The Leiji Matsumoto pattern has made it clear that a young and ambitious male protagonist is likely to emerge whenever
a story needs to be told and Queen Emeraldas proves to be no exception. This time, the tale concerns Hiroshi Umino who ironically gets more screen-time than the titular character herself. Basically, the story is comprised of a series of coincidental encounters these two characters have with each other and the opponents they more or less face co-operatively as Umino aspires to grow stronger and explore the universe in the liberal spirit he shares with Galaxy Express 999's Tetsuro.
I'd like to make it clear that this OVA seems to exist in order to provide some background information on a popular heroine and as such does not bother too much on developing its narrative. There is a troublesome lack of continuity present and it seems like Umino's repeated meetings with Emeraldas are just random plot devices created to establish a friendly relationship based on coincidence. All in all the story is not particularly strong but comes off as decent.
For the first time I got to witness a Leijiverse title with detailed scenery, fluid movement and wonderful character designs. A most welcome delight! Queen Emeraldas applies a few instances of horrible CGI but generally maintains a great and stylistic approach that qualifies to the contemporary standards.
Emeraldas was apparently deemed awesome enough to get her own theme song and, musical appeal aside, it does match her personality and epic characteristics quite a lot. The rest of the soundtrack is decent but seems to be a lot more timid.
As far as voice acting goes, the two protagonists are portrayed in praise-worthy manners and Emeraldas in particular has the virtue of being voiced by the same woman who starred as Oscar from Rose of Versailles.
Sigh. Assigning a 7 to the "character section" of an anime in which one of my favourite characters of fiction resides doesn't quite seem right. However, as much as I'd like to call Queen Emeraldas character-driven, even that term feels strangely out of place. There's nothing particularly wrong with the characterization, it's just that there isn't any in abundance. We get to witness Emeraldas's inner feelings; her motives and a past that has shaped her as the cynical heroine she has become. But those who watched Captain Harlock and Galaxy Express already knew those things about her and little of the material is actually new. Then there's the modernized Tetsuro and a few diabolic villains that create a diversity that's not as amazing as expected.
All in all, the characters in this OVA aren't bad at all (look at the 7 damnit!) but given that most titles in the Leijiverse seem to be character driven, it certainly doesn't reach the standard.
Despite my harshness I'd like to emphasize that I greatly enjoyed this title as an opportunity to watch one of my favorite heroines show off in a story that seems to be designed in favor of her awesomeness. It quite accurately falls into the "Guilty pleasure" category with a heavy focus on space battles and fencing but still reaches at least mediocre heights of story-telling and disappointing yet sufficient character portraits. Recommended to somewhat initiated Matsumoto fans but might not work quite as well as a gateway drug.
It's hard to really write a review, the last 2 OVA ep3-4. Are hard to find items.. in any form. For what was seen ep1-2. This is worth the ownership, Great if a fan of any of the Harlock-Galaxy 999 Fans. Again i feel i can not write a true review untill i see ep3-4