2: Harlock: Space Pirate (2013)
Synopsis: This version of Captain Harlock is a story for folks who like political films. The film begins by introducing us to a young boy, Yama, who must atone for the sin of not being able to save the woman he loved. He decides to infiltrate the Arcadia, a state owned ship and stop Harlock, the ship's captain, from terrorizing the universe. On board, Yama discovers that the real enemy is not Captain Harlock. Rather it is the state itself. The state and its political agents are lying to everyone. It has ravished the Earth to the point where it becomes uninhabitable and they are using a hologram to cover up that fact and to show that the Earth is as it always was. In realizing this, Yama decides to collaborate with Harlock and his crew and uncover the tragic truth.
Why it`s on the list: This modern reboot of the classic manga and Anime is worth watching for several reasons. First, its themes of government cover up, state supported killings, environmental pillage and illusion are universal and contemporary. People want to know the truth and want governments to be truthful, just as Harlock wants Gaia (the government) to tell the truth about what happened to the Earth. Second, people like the lone anti-hero who is alienated from the world. We admire people like Edward Snowden who can take on the vast power of the state and uncover the truth but who also feels different and alienated from the rest of society. That is exactly what Captain Harlock does and what he feels; his obvious alienation drives his need to confront the government and to help other people. Indeed, one person's matrix is another person's hologram. Finally, this film is worth watching, if only for technical reasons. The 3D style animation is gorgeous and meticulously put together. The characters move with remarkable efficiency, either when just talking or during highly dramatic action sequences. They move like real people, unlike some of the clunky 3D animation that that causes many to abhor this often over-hyped technology. The imagery of the space battles will remind space opera fans of the epic battles in Star Wars and Star Trek movies.