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Queen Emeraldas

Episode 1: Departure

Copyright: © 1998 Matsumoto Leiji / Maxam, ©1999 ADV Films
Length: 30 minutes
Rating: NR, Café rated Parental Guidance Advised
Format: DVD / VHS, Original Japanese Dialog / Subtitled / English Dub


Young Umino Hiroshi has nothing for him in his past... so he sets out to make something of his future. Determined to follow the footsteps of the legendary Tochiro, master builder of the Arcadia, Hiroshi stows away on board a frieghter bound for Daibaran, the planet whose energy crystals made ships like the Arcadia possible.

But during the voyage, the ship and her crew are set up by Alfressian pirates. Engines failing, the ship is about to be destroyed, when a stealth ship's shields intercept the incoming fire. After dispatching the Afressian assault, the mysterious ship disappears just as quickly as it came...

Bararuda, supreme commander of the Afressian forces, is not impressed by these latest developments, and orders Eldomain, commander of the Afressian fleet to hunt down this new interloper. Determined to discover who owns such a powerful ship, Eldomain and his men arrive at a small saloon on Daibaran -- a saloon where Hiroshi has managed to find employment. Not impressed by the bullying tactics of the Afressian commander, Hiroshi finds himself staring at the business end of a gun. Just as it seems that his short life is about to end, a woman intercedes... a woman who turns out to be none other than Emeraldas!

capsule review:

Matsumoto Leije is a man with a lot of baggage. His works tend to follow very familiar themes, use similar characters, and follow common plot lines. Queen Emeraldas, despite its up-to-date animation, is no exception. This is merely yet another recycled plot, which even has the audacity to steal scenes from other well-known films.

matsumoto's universe is vast in one sense that there are many players, but it's also very small -- the major players are clones of each other. Emeraldas is the tall, stark, lone privateer, forever voyaging the Sea of Stars, haunted by the memory of her lost love, Tochiro. Umino Hiroshi (even the character names are getting all to familiar), played by Hayashibara Megumi is the young boy, destined to become great man and builder; a mirror of Emeraldas' lost lover. And you have the leader of the Afressian forces, a person of opposing political views, but of the same spirit as our lead heroine.

This series does bring one new item to the table -- the anime character designs faithfully capture the gnarled look of the minor players, most notably of Le Law, the grizzled old stowaway, and the crew members of the ill-fated freighter.

Even more impressive is the score -- a fully orchestrated piece, which exudes a grandness of scale perhaps better suited for a full-length motion picture. The opening theme's haunting vocals is a more modern version of what we've heard before in the Harlock series, and like its predecessors, it will stick in your memory.

But perhaps even more disturbing than the recycling of old ideas is the outright borrowing of scenes from other films, most notably the showdown between Emeraldas and Eldomain, a scene unabashedly lifted from Batman: The Movie, where Batman, on board his Batwing, faces off against the Joker. This is one series that needs more than a cosmetic upgrade to make it of any worth.
- AN, 2000.03.22

café rating (english subtitled):


1 star

[1 / 5] - How many different iterations can Matsumoto make of the same old story? If there's a patron saint of recycled anime, he's got to be it.


2 stars
[2 / 5] - Old-fashioned, meldodramatic, space soap opera meets an even older script. This show takes itself far too seriously, and comes across as trifling.


4 stars
[4 / 5] - Perhaps one of few strong points of this series. Vetrans including Hayashibara Megumi and Ogata Kenichi bring some life into this tired plot, and Tajime Reiko brings a sombre, haunted tone to Emeraldas.


3 stars
[3 / 5] - Another CG and cel-animation hybrid, but this one doesn't work well -- the CG elements really make their presence known with an in-your-face presentation. On the plus side -- cel animators really make Matsumoto's characters come alive, especially in the details of the secondary characters. Never have anime characters looked so manga-like in quality.


5 stars
[5 / 5] - Hauntingly beautiful, richly scored using a combination of rock-influence and orchestral scores. The opening theme, Emeraldas, just won't go away.


4 stars
[4 / 5] - As with most ADV projects, this one is well subtitled, though the literal translation of the monologue by Emeraldas reads very hokey.

Overall Rating:

2 star
[2 / 5] - If it wasn't for the character designs and score, this would be a turkey. Matsumoto needs to get past his personal agenda, and let his characters grow. - AN, 2000.03.22

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