Some who travel the universe live by orders handed down to them from governments. Others chose to live life by their own code, and play by their own rules. One such person, is Emeraldas - a somewhat infamous and dangerous woman who travels in an unusual space vessel that resembles a 20th century airship.
Emeraldas never seems to get far without trouble following her. Once she encounters an alien vessel flying her flag, her pride demands a confrontation. How deep that fight would get is something Emeraldas never expected. Even she may not survive, but she's never been one to back down.
Sometime in the 90s, the Harlock franchise became fashionable again. One result was Emeraldas getting her own anime. The Harlock universe has a lot of great characters, but most of them never got their own spin off. Certainly not Emeraldas anyway. She's always been brooding and mysterious, so she seems like a prime candidate for a great story to explore her character. Which is annoying that it doesn't really do that. It doesn't tie into other Harlock stuff aside from a few vague references, but doesn't stand very well on its own either.
Most of the animation isn't bad. When CGI was first introduced into anime, it usually looked terrible. Queen Emeraldas was made right around that time, uses CGI, but it looks pretty good compared to other titles that used it. The traditional cell designs also look good. It doesn't do a great job at blending, the two, but it doesn't look all that bad.
There are big detractors to this title though. It doesn't have any sort of ideal most Harlock titles embody. Being a bad ass is nice and all, but the "heart" in those titles is what it really comes down to. Queen Emeraldas doesn't really seem to have that. Instead it tries to fill in that void with speeches, but I just wasn't buying into it. The characters are mostly uninteresting, but the biggest disappointment is Emeraldas herself. By the end she's the same person, but we don't seem to know any more about the woman, or why her lost true love was a super short guy resembling a small troll with glasses.
This series is also anti-climatic. Emeraldas has some sort of reality distortion field that allows her to shoot with perfect accuracy, while others have no chance of hitting her despite the fact that she never moves. Likewise her ship sweeps areas of space clean moments. The only reason ships are allowed to to show themselves in great numbers is to make blowing them up more interesting. It lacks an edge of excitement though. When Harlock does a dual in the Arcadia, there's a sense of drama. It's like a 17th century ship dual in space that captures the imagination. Ships take damage, yet turn around for another pass. It's a dual to the death! The action in Queen Emeraldas is like that of a fight between a spider and a 10 gauge shotgun. Stuff explodes and that's that, but it wasn't that exciting.
Who flies around in a ship named after themselves anyway?
Some Harlock fans might find this one interesting, but most should skip it. The franchise thrives on a nostalgia and capturing the imagination of swash buckling honor and adventure, but Queen Emeraldas does a very poor job of it and rings a bit hollow.
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