Captain Harlock mythos, Endless Odyssey depicts an alternate portrayal of the 1978 TV show continuity which appears to have taken place years after the defeat of the Mazone, minus Tadashi Daiba joining up with the crew. This time around, Daiba joins up with Harlock and the Arcadia crew to combat an ancient evil called the Noo capable of possessing and exploiting the fears of living beings, whom are responsible for the murder of Daiba's father. The OVA depicts all the typical elements you would find in a Harlock work with the man's individualist philosophy, being defiant against all threats, the enemy threat having a grand evil scheme for the universe, the repeated utterances of "being a man" by a number of the title's characters and humanity being under some sort of negative influence (in this case, man's sloven, lazy behavior from the many conveniences they created from the 70s TV anime). The plot to Endless Odyssey gets solid development as details are unveiled over the origins of the Noo threat, what their plans are for the universe and how they became unleashed. With the Noo inhabiting the corpses of their human victims and exploiting their fears, this chapter in the Harlock franchise takes on a more dark horror-themed storyline, creating a somewhat fresh approach for the title's storytelling.
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That doesn't necessarily means all is perfect with Endless Odyssey. The series still carries a number of the typical flaws you can find in a Harlock/ Matsumoto work. Harlock's head-on approach to enemy threats, while engaging, kills any kind of tension one can get from battles as Harlock is almost guaranteed to prevail against his foes unless developments are created for an attempt at drama (which happens at one point towards the end of the series). In addition, the series is greatly limited in its fleshing out and development of characters where we hardly know anything about most characters in the series and with exception to a couple notable faces, most characters remain the same as they had been from the start of the show. Not to mention with the show seeming to have adapted elements of its storyline from the 70s TV anime, fans not as seasoned with Captain Harlock and other Leiji Matsumoto works may be lost in understanding what is getting referred to or seeing any faces unfamiliar to them.
Visually, Endless Odyssey is solid in its designs of scenery and spaceship designs as designs of the Arcadia and some of the Noo vessals were quite pleasing on the eyes. Character designs, as to be expected, are a mixed bag as this series adapts Matsumoto's drawing style which features some characters looking reasonably human (Harlock, Tadashi, Kei) while others looked crude and rather deformed in their details (Yattaran, Dr. Zero, Masu). The animation for Endless Odyssey is also a bit on the subpar side for an OVA as camera and animation tricks are often used to simulate fluid movement, seeming to come from the OVA originally being made for a TV run before production delays led it to be adapted as an OVA series instead.
If you're a fan of Captain Harlock or anything involving Leiji Matsumoto, then Endless Odyssey will be a definite watch for you as this chapter/ retelling of the Harlock franchise dabbles into elements of horror that lend it a somewhat fresh approach. If you're watching this as your introduction to the Harlock franchise, you may be lost over the mention of events, elements and characters from the original 70s anime that are nodded to here. Not to mention that if you can't stand the crude character designs and storytelling style that Matsumoto normally carries with his works, then this baby may not be for you. Pretty much, only seasoned Matsumoto fans or anyone wanting to indulge in anime's oldest franchises should dare to give Endless Odyssey a look.
Last updated Saturday, January 26 2013. Created Saturday, January 26 2013.