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The Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society
Miscellanea and Ephemeron

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09/22/2006 Archived Entry: "Anime review:Space Pirate Captain Herlock: The Endless Odyssey, vol 2"

Space Pirate Captain Herlock: The Endless Odyssey
Vol 2. "Outside Legend"
Based on the comic "Space Pirate Captain Herlock" by Leiji Matsumoto
2002 VAP-NTV
English Language Version: Geneon 2004

Review by Kelly S. Taylor

In my enthusiasm for linking pirates and politics, I forgot to mention a few things in my last review that might be of more than passing interest to someone wondering if they should buy the DVD. Don't worry, gentle reader, this is a four part series. I've got plenty of time to tell all.

In this second installment of "The Endless Odyssey" saga, Herlock and the crew of the Arcadia come under direct attack by the manifestations of Noo. Luckily, they meet yet another mysterious alien woman of a race that I like to refer to as the Goddesses of Exposition who reveal more about the nature and history of this demonic force.

Things are not going much better for their pursuer. Chief Iruta's world has started to come apart. He finds himself marooned, helpless and dependant on just the sort of inconsequential people he's let himself care so little for.

In a manner that my high school drama teacher insured me indicated good theatre, protagonists and antagonists are changing and growing. Rather than merely suffering the slings and arrows of their outrageous fortune, their characters expand and develop as a result of these new experiences.

As I have alluded to in previous reviews, this series preserves the graphic style of Masumoto-san's original manga series down to the oversized lips and undersized eyes of the "common people" we encounter. Unfortunately being poor apparently causes people to be born with Mr. Potato-Head syndrome in the Captain Herlock universe.

In stark contrast to the Gankotsuo series and the Appleseed movie who flaunt their computer generated special effects like Liz Taylor with a new diamond, Space Pirate Captain Herlock tends to be as coy with its enhancements as starlet with a new set of ta-tas. You may miss even the most obvious specimen of CGI on the first viewing. When watching the collection of samples of computer generated effects on the bonus reel (that does not come with this DVD) my reaction was less "Oh, wow!" than it was "Oh, really?"

The art director has chosen and appropriately "pirately" color palette for this series. Strong blacks and reds dominate against a backdrop of earth tones. Another reviewer complained of the colors being "mushy." Either he and I are watching different prints, have different tastes, or I've dusted my TV more recently than he has, because I found the graphics to be strong and clear despite the dark palette.

As usual, Geneon provides a nice package for this DVD. The cover art is strong and dramatic. There's a plastic flyer inside the front cover that I mistook for illustrated liner notes. Apparently, though, if you collect the inserts from all four DVDs of this saga, you can snap them together into a little box to put your pirate-y pencils in, I guess. That is, if you don't plan to use it to waylay rich merchant cockroaches.

I really like the design of the menu pages for this series. It's simple but attractive and, of course, very pirate-y.

As I said before, the bonus pickings are pretty slim on this DVD. The real bonus package comes with the last installment of the series. It's worth the wait, but if you just buy this installment, you'll definitely be waiting. A textless opening sequence and the various translation options are all you get.

Speaking of translations, the English voice work is well cast and executed with competence and style. There are a few examples of odd word choices and awkward phrasing that show up in the subtitles. However, the English version wisely smoothes over these rough corners.

Bottom Line
Volume Two is an engaging extension of the "Endless Odyssey" saga. While I don't consider it the high point of the series, it continues everything that was good about Part One. Besides, if you don't buy this DVD, you'll never have a pirate pencil box that you can use to keelhaul those scurvy, landlubber cockroaches.

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