Otaku USA Magazine
Manga Review – Captain Harlock: Dimensional Voyage

captain harlockSpace pirate Captain Harlock, created by Leiji Matsumoto in the 1970s, is an iconic antihero and the center of one of the most vivid universes in manga. Dimensional Voyage introduces a new generation of readers to the Harlock Saga with a story that loosely retells the first story arc. New artist Kouiti Shimaboshi illustrates Matsumoto’s characteristically bombastic script.

Captain Harlock robs from the rich to give to himself and his rowdy crew, ticking off the fat cats and corrupt politicians of the Mechanized Empire. But he puts the piracy on hold and flies to Earth’s defense when matriarchal aliens called the Mazon attack. Other classic characters, like mysterious pirate Queen Emeraldas, come out of retirement to join the fray. The manga bleeds with an ultra-macho ethos where men (and the occasional super-tough woman) of action and cool ruthlessness stride where the cowardly mass of humanity fears to tread. Characters constantly say things like, “Where have all the true warriors gone?!” and “If you are truly a man, you will board that ship!” Of course, under their hardened exteriors the heroes are frustrated romantics throbbing with old emotional wounds, as revealed in epic flashbacks to even more spacefaring adventures.

Shimaboshi’s artwork faithfully recreates Matsumoto’s universe of squat, cartoony men, impossibly willowy women, and detailed, casually outlandish flying battleships. His work has more precision and dimensionality than Matsumoto’s art but lacks the master’s loose, liquid grace. There’s no artist like Matsumoto, and perhaps no one is less like him than someone attempting to imitate his style. Still, it’s a pleasure to revisit Harlock and his rogues’ gallery of friends and enemies. If you are truly a manga fan, you will read Matsumoto manga!

Publisher: Seven Seas
Story: Leiji Matsumoto
Art: Kouiti Shimaboshi
Rating: 13+