Arcadia of My Youth

Arcadia of My Youth

Infobox animanga/Header
name = Arcadia of My Youth

caption = DVD cover for "Arcadia of My Youth"
ja_name = わが青春のアルカディア
ja_name_trans = Waga Seishun no Arukadia
genre = Adventure, Science Fiction
Infobox animanga/Movie
title =
director = Tomoharu Katsumata
studio = Toei Animation, Tokyu Agency
released = July 28 1982
runtime = 130 min.
Infobox animanga/Other
title = Related works
content =
* "Galaxy Express 999"
* "Space Pirate Captain Harlock"
* "Queen Emeraldas"
nihongo|"Arcadia of My Youth"|わが青春のアルカディア|Waga Seishun no Arukadia is an anime film depicting the origin of Leiji Matsumoto's seminal character Captain Harlock. At one time, it was considered to be the central hub of the so called Leijiverse with other works such as "Galaxy Express 999" and 1978's "Space Pirate Captain Harlock" television series occurring sometime after.


:"At the end of their lives, all men look back and think that their youth was arcadia."" — Goethe

During the early 20th Century, some time after World War I, aerial explorer Captain Phantom F. Harlock is embarking on what is to be the magnum opus of his long career, the traversing of the Owen Stanley Mountains in New Guinea. His major obstacle is the phantom of the witch that haunts these mountains. In a last desperate attempt to cross the mountains, Harlock ditches all but ten minutes of fuel in order to gain altitude. He carries on to his fate, amidst the mocking laughter of the Owen Stanley Witch.

Near the end of World War II, Phantom F. Harlock II is an Iron Cross fighter pilot. During a major defeat for his side, he meets Toshiro (Tochiro) Oyama, a Japanese exchange technician working in Germany. Tochiro's project is to design a new gun sight for use in fighter planes. Harlock's most treasured possession is the Revi C-12D which he calls his "eye". Both men believe the war to be wasteful and pointless and Tochiro especially hopes that the rockets being developed by Germany may one day lead to a more positive application, such as a trip to the moon. Tochiro wishes he could escape from the war and possibly go to neutral Switzerland where he might be able to fulfill his dream. Harlock offers to take him in his plane. Stowing Tochiro in the plane's fuselage, Harlock is able to fly to Switzerland, but only after surviving a fierce arial dogfight with disables his plane and forces him to crash land just short of the Swiss border. Carrying an injured Tochiro across the river to sanctuary, Harlock departs, giving Tochiro his Revi C-12D, before crossing back into the warzone where Harlock expects to face the consequences of his actions. Although this Harlock's ultimate fate is unknown, Tochiro pledges friendship between their two bloodlines for all eternity.

At some time in the late 30th century (circa 2960s), a Solar Federation officer named Captain Harlock returns home in his battle cruiser Deathshadow to find that aliens from the Illumidus Empire have conquered Earth and enslaved humanity. However the remaining humans blame him and other warriors like him as they were not there to protect the planet when they needed it. Harlock, along with the Tokargans who are ashamed of their role in Earth's downfall set out to lead a resistance against the aliens and adopts the fighting strategy of ancient marauders. During the course of the struggle, Harlock meets a former Solar Federation engineer; a Japanese man who he's never met before but feels he knows. This man, Tochiro Oyama reveals his secret project, the dreams of all his ancestors. Hidden in a deep cavern under the occupation headquarters is a space battleship that he designed and built. This ship is called Arcadia, in honor of the eternal friendship forged between Phantom F. Harlock and Tochiro Oyama during another war.

Harlock also meets Emeraldas, an old friend, who immediately offers herself to the cause. The Tokargans, after witnessing the death of the last female of their race, sacrifice themselves to save the Arcadia from the life sucking flames of the Flame Stream Prominence (aka the Owen Stanley Witch of Space). Harlock's lover and voice of the Underground, Maya is killed by Illumidas gunfire. Honorably defeating the occupational commander in ship to ship combat, the quisling ruler of Earth, Triter, nonetheless declares Harlock and Emeraldas outlaws and exiles them to space. Amidst an Earth that prefers servitude to their new masters over the hard but noble fight for freedom, Harlock, Emeraldas, Tochiro, and their new pirate crew of idealists and romantics set for the stars, heading out for parts unknown.


*Arcadia of My Youth draws many parallels to the post World War II American occupation of Japan. Maya's nickname as "The Rose" and the "Voice of Free Arcadia" mirrors the romantic image of the secret radio broadcasters of the French Resistance.

*Arcadia of My Youth was originally released on North American home video by Celebrity Home Entertainment under the "Just For Kids" banner. It was initially retitled Vengeance of the Space Pirate and was for many, the first introduction to Captain Harlock. This release suffered from having about forty minutes cut out of it. The film was later released by Celebrity along with most of the other anime released under the Just For Kids label. It was given the alternately translated title of "My Youth in Arcadia" and features all the cut footage restored.

*Arcadia of My Youth is the only Harlock story which shows how Harlock actually lost an eye. The trailer for Arcadia of My Youth (included as an extra in Animiego's DVD release) has one of the most confusing and misleading scenes. The trailer has a clip of the Tokargan Zoll shooting Harlock's eye out. Zoll, in the movie, is actually an enemy-turned-staunch-ally and Harlock's injury is attributed to Illumidas gunfire. This trailer scene was recreated for the boxes on the American VHS releases of Vengeance of the Space Pirate and My Youth in Arcadia.

*The prologue of this movie does not make it clear whether or not Phantom F. Harlock survived his mission. He is assumed to have survived as his voiceover monologue indicates that he is reading from his autobiography which is titled Arcadia of My Youth.

*This movie is controversial in that Phantom F. Harlock II was portrayed as a German fighter pilot during WWII. The Tochiro of that era, who had read Harlock I's book, at least found it unusual in that he asked Harlock II why he was flying an Iron Cross plane. The liner notes for the Animeigo DVD state that Harlock's response, "Just paying rent", hid a deeper meaning. It refers to the ancient feudal obligations a noble had to his lords for better or worse, even if he didn't believe in their cause. The liner notes also mention that Harlock technically was no longer bound by these obligations since the feudal customs no longer existed at that time.
*There is much confusion as to where Arcadia, Harlock's birthplace is. It was always assumed to be somewhere in northern Europe, despite its naming after the rustic Greek paradise in the Peloponnesus. Harlock gives the proper name of his ancestral birthplace as Hellingstadt meaning that Arcadia is most likely a nickname. Some place Arcadia somewhere in Germany or Austria. During the WWII segment of the movie, Harlock II, while flying to Switzerland muses about Arcadia, leading viewers to assume that Arcadia was located there. However Harlock's cryptic comments about "paying rent" aside, this would still make little sense in the context of the movie as Switzerland was neutral during WWII. Matsumoto has never given a concrete definitive statement on Harlock's ethnicity or heritage However, Harlock is an actual name of Prussian origin.

*The stories of Phantom F. Harlock I and II are loosely based on short manga stories by Matsumoto. Many of them appeared in his manga anthology The Cockpit. Many elements of Arcadia of My Youth were borrowed from his other stories such as the Deathshadow which appeared in a 1970 manga and in his later adaptation of the original Space Battleship Yamato where the Deathshadow appears along with Susumu Kodai's brother whose alias is Captain Harlock. These elements did not make it into the anime version but they were the source of American fan rumors that the Leijiverse Harlock was actually Mamoru Kodai in disguise or possibly a descendant.

*The American comic book company Eternity Comics published a series based on Captain Harlock. It theoretically picked up where Arcadia of My Youth left off and was also written in an attempt to bridge the storylines of Galaxy Express 999 and 1978s Space Pirate Captain Harlock. The comic also featured several significant story arcs titled Deathshadow Rising, Fall of the Empire, and The Machine Men which would theoretically lead into the Galaxy Express 999 stories. The comic series ran from 1989 to 1992 and was scripted by Robert W. Gibson and drawn by Ben Dunn and Tim Eldred.

*The origin story in the 1978 television series (episodes 26 and 27 Mystery of the Arcadia) depicts Harlock and Tochiro as childhood friends and Emeraldas meeting them both later. In Arcadia of My Youth, Emeraldas and Harlock are old friends while he is just meeting Tochiro. Furthermore, the 1978 TV series also shows the Arcadia (this time blue) being constructed on planet Heavy Melder, not Earth. Also, Zoll and the Tokargans who made a guest appearance in Episode 31 of that series, are totally reimagined for Arcadia of my Youth.

*The fact that both of Captain Harlock's ancestors have the trademark Heidelberg duelling scar gives rise to the widespread fan assumption that the scar must be hereditary. So far, no story has ever depicted how Harlock got his scars. Though Arcadia of My Youth does depict Emeraldas receiving her scar from a glancing shot from the gun of Illumidas officer Muriguson.

*The proper romanization of the Japanese title is a source of fan dispute. Although Animeigo's romanization (Arcadia of My Youth) has been widely accepted, the original My Youth in Arcadia was used in Japan and better reflects the inspiration from the Goethe quote.

*The fight against the Illumidas is continued in the 1982-1983 TV series Endless Road SSX (or Endless Orbit SSX). This series (never licensed in English) suffered low viewer ratings as it aired during the waning years of the Matsumoto boom that started in the 1970s with Space Battleship Yamato. By this time, Japanese audiences interest had moved on to the trend in mecha shows that began after Macross and Mobile Suit Gundam. The Matsumoto boom would completely die off by 1983 with the release of Final Yamato and aside from a few isolated one-off projects, no new regularly-produced anime based on Matsumoto works would be released until 1998.

*This film starred acclaimed Japanese actor Yujiro Ishihara in his final role before his death in 1987. He was the voice of Phantom F. Harlock I. It was also his only role in an animated movie.

*Reportedly, Leiji Matsumoto owns an actual Revi C-12D gunsight.

* The opening scenes of "Arcadia of My Youth" feature parts of "The New World Symphony" by Antonín Dvořák.


*Captain Harlock/Phantom F. Harlock II: (Makio Inoue)
*Toshiro Ōyama / Tochirō: (Kei Tomiyama)
*Queen Emeraldas: (Reiko Tajima)
*Maya: (Reiko Mutō)
*La Mime: (Yuriko Yamamoto)
*Zeda: (Tarō Ishida)
*Zoll: (Shūichi Ikeda)
*Muriguson: (Takeshi Aono)
*Old Tokargan Soldier: (Shūichirō Moriyama)
*Triter: (Hitoshi Takagi)
*Tori-san: (Hiroshi Ōtake)
*Mira: (Hiromi Tsuru)
*Phantom F. Harlock I: (Yujiro Ishihara)
*The Witch: (Eiko Masuyama)
*Black-suited Commander: (Hidekatsu Shibata)
*Illumidus Officer: (Kōji Yada)

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