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Arcadia of My Youth
Arcadia of My Youth
Actors: Makio Inoue, Kei Tomiyama, Takeshi Aono, Lanny Broyles, Walter Carroll
Director: Tomoharu Katsumata
Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Drama, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Television, Anime & Manga, Military & War, Animation
UR     2003     2hr 10min

The 1981 feature Arcadia of My Youth (Waga Seishun no Arcadia) reveals the past of Leiji Matsumoto's celebrated trio Captain Phantom F. Harlock, technological wizard Tochiro (with whom Matsumoto is said to identify), and f...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Makio Inoue, Kei Tomiyama, Takeshi Aono, Lanny Broyles, Walter Carroll
Director: Tomoharu Katsumata
Creators: Leiji Matsumoto, Yooichi Onaka
Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Drama, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Television, Anime & Manga, Military & War, Animation
Sub-Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Drama, Animation, Television, Anime & Manga, Military & War, Animation
Format: DVD - Color,Full Screen - Animated,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 11/25/2003
Original Release Date: 01/01/2003
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2003
Release Year: 2003
Run Time: 2hr 10min
Screens: Color,Full Screen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 8
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: Japanese
Subtitles: English

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Movie Reviews

All Brave Men Dream of their Youth in Arcadia
Strategos | In Space above Planet Earth | 09/22/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Captain Harlock is perhaps the greatest creation of anime legend Leiji Matsumoto's , the creative mind behind classics like Space Battleship Yamato (known as Star Blazers in the U.S.). Harlock is really to me the quintessential anime hero (anti-hero?). He's stoic. He's cold and aloof. When challenged to a duel, he doesn't even blink. But deep in his soul the fires of his lost love and eternal courage burn deep. This character has been duplicated numerous times (check out captain Nemo in Nadia: Secret of the Blue Water or Alex Row from Last Exile). The original series that put that character on the map has long since disappeared unfortunately, and is impossible to find in America as far as I know. All is not lost however, as the spectacular story of the origins of Captain Harlock is told in this exquisite movie.

The film starts with one man's fight against the elements and ends with one man's journey across the sea of stars flying under his own flag. Arcadia is a place of Viking legend, and references are made to it through the movie. The reason hinted at is that Harlock is a man out of his time, and comes from a long line of men out of their time. Harlock is one-time soldier of a planet now defeated and enslaved. When his true love puts up the only resistance to the misery and hatred spread all around, it stirs something deep inside of him. He soon finds himself allied with the scientist Tochiro and the space trader Emeraldas. Despite betrayal by his own race and government, Harlock and his new friends decide to use a ship that Tochiro has built in a desperate attempt to save a planet from destruction by the hand of the same race that have enslaved the earth.

That's putting it in simple terms. This is a complex movie with visuals that range from good to breath-taking (thanks in no small part to a marvelous restoration for the DVD, but marred somewhat by a lack of widescreen), a soundtrack that is downright haunting in its beauty, and themes of tragic loss, remembered innocence, and eternal hope that will always ring true. In fact, if this film has a flaw, it's that it may be TOO heavy for some, TOO melodramatic. Personally, I don't think so (: I'm just warning those who like fast, fun, popcorn flicks :) Of course, there are some people who will find some of the film rediculous (Tochiro having a spaceship on hand, and life-energy pull of the Stanley Witch of Space come to mind). I love these very same elements. They aren't supposed to be realistic, and the whole story has the air of a legend which grew and exaggerated through time like the ancient legends the film keeps making reference to. If you like your stories to take on mythic proportions, you may find yourself agreeing.

If you want to see something really GOOD that Leiji Matsumoto made, if you're just dying to know how Harlock lost his eye and got his ship, who Harlock's first true love was, how Emeraldas got her scar, and in general the COOL stuff about the origins of Matsumoto's greatest characters... this movie is for you.
A must-see Japanese animation classic
Strategos | 10/23/1998
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Arcadia of My Youth (aka My Youth in Arcadia) is by Leiji Matsumoto, who is also the creator of other classics such as Space Cruiser Yamato (aka StarBlazers here in the USA) and Galaxy Express 999. It is a prequel to the Captain Harlock TV series, and on the surface tells the story of how Captain Harlock transformed from defeated Earth soldier to a space pirate fighting to free his home from alien tyranny.But what makes this story a classic isn't that it's one of the first animated full-length sci-fi pictures, or that it's even technically advanced in animation quality. Arcadia of My Youth is not even like most Japanese animation, in that there are no cute girls, giant robots, or mystical martial artists. This is a serious, and mostly dark, story.As the film goes on, and we see Harlock's actions, meet his friends, and see the moral choices made, the messages becomes clear: it is better to stand and fight for what you believe in, even though it may be more painful, than to take the easy way out. To never abandon hope, no matter how bad the situation might look. "The sun that set today will rise again tomorrow." The message and how it is so masterfully conveyed by Matsumoto is what to me makes the movie a classic. Live, and realize your dreams... END"
"It takes a man to understand these feelings..."
Zack Davisson | Seattle, WA, USA | 05/11/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Captain Harlock epitomizes what the Japanese call the "Hard School" of heroes. He is stoic and strong, unmoved by weak emotions and undistracted by women. Yokio Mishima ("The Sailor Who Fell from Grace With the Sea") would give a silent, grim salute to this space sailor, who coasts the pure and cold ocean of stars, accompanied by his boon companions who he shelters from the storms. High melodrama, complete with capes and scars.There is no film that captures this essence more than "Arcadia of my Youth." Of all Matsumoto adaptations, this one remains the truest to the core of his work. Here we get the origin story of Space Captain Harlock, most recent in a long line of Pirate-Knights sailing in ships they name "Arcadia." A manly heritage of struggle and stamina passed from the original Phantom F. Harlock to his descendants, across 3,000 years. Along with Harlock is the origin of many his familiar characters, such as Emeraldas, the female proponent of the hard school, and Tochiro, the diminutive mechanical genius looking for a hero to follow. A Wagnerian tale to be sure, a true Space Opera.The DVD is an excellent presentation to this ode to the hard school. The animation is a bit dated, but not yet marred by the distracting CGI found in later Matsumoto adaptations. The original and uncut version is presented, as it should always be in every release. The extra features are enjoyable, but nothing spectacular. The main star is the movie itself. Be sure to put on your most stoic face when watching "Arcadia of my Youth," and know that life is born of struggles and sacrifice and challenge. As Captain Harlock says, "It takes a man to understand these feelings...""
A Matsumoto classic!
Matthew A. Kraemer | APO, AP United States | 12/09/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Wow, where should I start? I have been a big fan of Anime (Japanese Animation) since my childhood in the seventies. I remember watching shows like Speed Racer, Battle of the Planets (Gatchaman), Star Blazers (Space Cruiser Yamato), Dangard Ace, and many more. My introduction to Captain Harlock (the star of Arcadia of My Youth) was watching Galaxy Express 999 on cable back in around 1980. I remeber thinking how different it was from US cartoons, so serious and mature, not stupid kid stuff. I moved to Japan in 1982, and plunged deep into Anime...I've been addicted ever since! I didn't really get into Captain Harlock until the early 90's though. Leiji Matsumoto, the creator, also created Yamato, Galaxy Express 999, Emeraldas, and many others. I was completing my Yamato collection and kept hearing about this movie. I found it one day and decided to buy it. All I can say is "Incredible"! While not as action packed as other contemporary Anime, Arcadia of My Youth has deep rooted issues and morals to teach (as most of Matsumoto's work has). Here's my review: The movie opens in the past, the early 20th cetury, before World War 2, but after World War 1. Harlock is an early aviator, exploring the world in the skies, constantly challenging himself, and conquering the unknown as well as his own fears. A proud man, who finds himself attempting to conquer the Owen Stanley Mountain range in New Britain, which had never been done before. He finds his biplane unable to climb high enough, and has to turn back in defeat. As he turns away, he imagines the spirit of the mountain laughing at him! Unable to accept defeat, he jettisons all of his fuel except for 10 minute's reserve, and turns back to conquer the mountain. He realizes it will most likely be a one way trip, with him crashing after he clears the summit, but is undeterred, focused on his dream and his goal. He succeeds, only by sacrificing everything. The movie makes a HUGE turn then, fast forwarding to the present (our future...sometime around 2277). Harlock's decendant, Captain Harlock, is the greatest and best in Earth's space fleet. Much like his ancestor, a proud man who would risk all for the right cause. Earth has been fighting against an alien race of conquerors, the Illumidas, who are very much like ourselves (human, with light green skin and different hair patterns). They appear to be similar to the Roman Empire, conquering one world after another, pressing the conquered into service, and harvesting all the resources available from the conquered world, however they have the habit of destroying conquered worlds once the resources have been tapped. Earth fought bravely against a much larger and more advanced foe, and has lost. Earth has been conquered by the Illumidas, who are pillaging our planet for all of its resources. Earthmen serve under the Illumidas, as workers, servants, and militia-fighting fellow Earthmen who rebell against the Aliens. Harlock attempted to save a bunch of Earth's refugees in his space battleship, the Deathshadow, and find a new world where man could live free. He is returning to Earth in defeat. The Illumidas foe is too great, and there are no places where we can go without running into the Illumidas. Harlock has given his all, and fought valiantly, but to no avail, only delaying the inevitable. He now returns with the refugees, to surrender his ship to the Illumidas, so the refugees can come home to Earth safely. Once he has landed, the enemy offers him a job in their service-he will never fly again otherwise, and they were impressed with his bravery against them. An offer that is refused, as he would rather serve no one than to serve the enemy. He faces unemployment, uncertainty, and eventual starvation, as Earth's resources are running out. Things seem to be as bad as they can get. His family is gone, and his woman is being hunted down, as she is the head of Eath's resistance movement. Just when it seems things can't get worse, he meets a small man named Tochiro, who at first seems to be a beggar, but in reality was the best Engineer in Earth's fleet before Earth's surrender. He has secretly built a ship. He has been waiting for the right person to captain it. He and Harlock become fast friends, discovering that their families have crossed many times in the past, with their ancestors meeting and becoming lifelong friends throughout history, usually during conflict. History repeats itself, with Harlock and Tochiro becoming inseparable, and rebelling together against the Illumidas, using Tochiro's ship, the Arcadia. The downside is they get exilled from Earth in the process, for disobeying Earth's current government, Harlock's woman is captured and is to be executed,along with one of Harlock's few remaining friends, Emeraldas, a free space trader (and sometimes pirate). At the same time, the Illumidas decide to destroy his other friend's planet, where his friend's family is waiting for him to rescue them from the Illumidas. Harlock must choose, save the people he promised to, or save his woman and other friend, who will be surely executed if he doesn't intercede. At the same time, the Illumidas fleet seeks his head! This film is different than most, telling how Harlock became who he is, and why he is the way he is. It ties together with the other Captain Harlock movies and TV shows, the Galaxy Express 999 TV and movies, Maetel Legend and the Queen Emeraldas ones. It also ties into the Space Cruiser Yamato Manga (comics). The animation is high quality, and technically very accurate in its rendering of mechanics. The story is riveting, and not very happy, but realistic in its portrayal of how life can be. It has an inner story to teach the audience, a moral. This is one of my favorite movies, and a must have for fans of realistic sci-fi and mature anime"