Soul of Chogokin Gx-93 Captain Harlock Arcadia

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Soul of Chogokin Gx-93 Captain Harlock Arcadia

The inner tray is actually made up of two separate cardboard pieces, a tray and a separate outer “wrap-around”. So make sure to have a good grip or hold it from the bottom to prevent accidentally dropping the precious innermost cardboard tray, which holds the actual toy.

Rod stands and attachments for the mini ships are located here: (click to enlarge)

How to return the display base attachments (click to enlarge)

The set comes with batteries PACKED SEPARATELY and not pre-installed. Thanks Bandai. Curiously, they’ve switched to Panasonic branded batteries from the usual “Vinnie’s” brand.

Display base

Alternate “elevated” front support arm for when you want to pose the Arcadia looking like it is climbing upwards.

No protective film sheet this time around, Bandai?

Oof… hoo boy, the ship requires a bit of assembly, which is a first, since SOC ships usually come ready to go (with the exception of the cannons) right out of the box.

Be mindful of how to attach these fins, this is how it’s supposed to be oriented. Left and right fins are the same, so you can choose either to get the same result.

Attaching the “main mast” is a bit tricky. Sadly, you will probably scrape against the superstructure a bit to get this thing into place. Sigh…

This flag is small. Be careful not to lose it.

This whole thing runs on 5 AAA batteries (3 for the ship, 2 for the remote), which are included. But since I already have loose batteries, I figure I’d keep the included ones sealed (forever!).



SPACE PIRATE CAPTAIN HARLOCK’S ARCADIA

Starting out as a Manga created in the year 1977 by Leiji Matsumoto and set in the year 2977 AD, the story of “Space Pirate Captain Harlock” focuses on the legendary space outlaw Captain Harlock and his valiant crew as they battle to liberate humanity from the invading Mazone aliens, while also instilling hope in the common space colony folk who have been abandoned by the Earth government’s totalitarian regime.

The series is viewed through the eyes of Tadashi Daiba (“Terry Drake” in the English-dubbed adaptations), a 14-year old boy who meets Captain Harlock for the first time after his scientist father is murdered by the Mazone. Daiba often also serves as an “audience surrogate” (one who forces the main character to explain his actions to the audience) in the series, as Harlock’s methods often seem cold and calculating.



By swapping out to the alternate “elevated” front display arm, you can make the Arcadia look like it’s “ascending”.

How Harlock manages to control the “incline” of his ship vertically using an old style “ship’s wheel” is anyone’s guess.


Why two different Arcadias?
From what I understand, this version of the Arcadia is based on its original design as it first appeared in the classic cartoon series. The more familiar, green version which the Soul of Chogokin Gx-67 is based on was from the redesign that came out later for the “My Youth in Arcadia” theatrical movie. No real explanation for the change in appearance is ever given on the show or any media.

The actual real reason boiled down to marketing. Takara had previously owned the rights to the TV-based “blue version” design and was producing model kits based on it at the time. Bandai requested the animation studio to crank out an entirely new design aesthetic for ship for the movie, as they were going to be producing the toys going forward and they didn’t want to give Takara a piece of the action.

For more about the whole “Green vs Blue Arcadia” info go here:
http://www.cornponeflicks.org/harlock/continuity.html#ARCADIAS

And here:
http://www.cornponeflicks.org/harlock/pirateships.html



ARCADIA’S WEAPONS

The Arcadia’s main battery – Pulsar Cannons

Each barrel can be adjusted manually to various degrees.

Quick firing guns/ Rapid Fire Guns – a.k.a. “Space Busters”

Unlike the previous Gx-67 Arcadia release, this one features a deployable front “impeller” battering ram a.k.a. the “Battle Ram”

While the section holding the ram is metal, the actual ram is plastic. I’m actually very surprised it’s not even sharp. Child safety protocols?



Support Craft
The set comes with several smaller vessels, namely one Cosmo Wing and three Space Wolves.

Opening hatch for deploying vessels.

I was really hoping for some sort of internal light for the vessel hangar. Sigh. No such luck.

To mount a ship on the platform, you just have to plug it into the tiny little peg on the platform, it is a bit hard to do due to the size of the peg and the angle of the platform.

Display rods and attachments for all four ships. Note that the long ends go into the base, the short ends plug into the ships.




Electronics Department

Bandai started including their “M.R.S.S.” (Motion React Sound System) branding into their Soul of Chogokin battleship releases starting with the Gx-86 Space Battleship Yamato. This means that the ship has actual working mechanical interactive electronics and not just “lights and sounds” going for it.

Thankfully, the section detailing the electronics is bilingual, so we get both English and Japanese explanations.
(click for larger image)

Remote Control

The Signal receiver is located here:

To turn on the ship’s electronics, simply push this ventral fin of the ship forward.

You will then hear the ship booting up, with the lights on the port side of the ship turning on.

Bridge lights will turn on, the red signal lights on the side of the superstructure will “pulse”.

Ship’s engine nozzles will also turn on.

Captain’s cabin lights will turn on as well (although they’re a bit dim).

Same as with the Gx-86 Space Battleship Yamato, the turret directions can be adjusted via playing with the knobs on the remote control.

Pushing the “engine button” on the remote will cause the ship’s booster nozzles to glow even brighter for a few seconds, along with a louder thruster noise sound effect.

Opening the port side panel of the ship reveals the Central Computer, which, in the Anime, controls the basic functions onboard the ship. LEDs light up the Central Computer. I love this gimmick. I really wished the SOC Space Battleship Yamato(s) had light up internals built in somehow as well.

Do note that opening the panel is a bit difficult, as the plastic is thin and the hinge is tough as heck. Go slow to avoid damaging the panel or leaving stress marks. Having a spudger tool helps.

Pushing the “Central Computer” button on the remote will cause the lights on it to glow brighter and produce a sound effect for a few seconds.

While the ship does have a Central Computer (which houses Harlock’s best friend, Tochiro Oyama’s consciousness) which controls the basic functions of the ship, the Arcadia still needs to be staffed with actual crew to properly operate. From what I understand, the ship houses a crew of at least 40 personnel?



Audio gimmicks

The set features restored audio clips from the original 1978 classic TV show, all voiced by the late Makio Inoue as Captain Harlock. Sadly, Inoue passed away in 2019. His other notable voice acting roles include Goemon Ishikawa XIII from the various Lupin III Anime series and movies, and also Master Eraqus in the Kingdom Hearts games.

Aside from the 15 different Captain Harlock voice clips, the ship also features seven different songs from the show. Three songs plus four BGM tracks. The songs are performed by legendary singer Ichiro Mizuki of the Mazinger Z theme song fame.

A: Opening credits theme song: “Captain Harlock” by Ichiro Mizuki
B: BGM “Overture”
C: BGM “Pirate Ship”
D: Insert song : “Susarai no Funauta”/ “Roaming Spaceship” by the Columbia Male Chorus
E: BGM “Battle”
F: BGM “Mayu No Komori-uta”/ “Mayu’s lullaby”/ (sometimes part of “Under the Flag of Freedom” theme on OST track lists, played using an ocarina)
G: Ending credits song: “Warera no Tabidachi” by Ichiro Mizuki


Sadly, unlike the Gx-67, there is no adjustable volume for this set. The restored audio seems kind of weak and you can barely hear some of the songs when standing 3 feet away from the toy.

For some additional info on the music tracks, this is a good site, you can flip through the text as English, Japanese or Romaji. It sure helped me figure out the titles to a degree.

https://vgmdb.net/album/19629

The electronics will all auto-shut down if the toy is left idle for more than 5 minutes.



The Good
-Arcadia spans roughly 17 inches (18.5 with the Battle Ram out) and weighs 701 Grams (ship’s weight net of the display stand)

-Diecast parts include:
–Sections of the ship’s underbelly/ hull
–Top half of the cannon parts
–Arm structure of the Battle Ram

The gold details on this portion of the ship are beautifully painted.

-Excellent finish on the ship and that gorgeous shade of blue that really makes it stand out.

-Support ship units included! These were missing from the Gx-67 release.

-The addition of the theme songs are a nice touch, previously on the Gx-67, we only got minor background music from the movie and none of the iconic ones from the TV show.

-Absolutely love seeing that Central Computer lighting up inside the core of the ship!


The Bad
-No Galaxy Express 999 this time (one came with Gx-67).

-As cool as the “Jolly roger” symbol painted on the side of the ship goes, I do wish it was chromed. The matte finish is nice but seems kind of lacking IMHO.

-Lack of ability to boost the audio output. Seriously, the audio feels very weak. Such a shame, considering the iconic music tracks and Harlock’s voice overs included here. The Gx-67 could increase it’s audio output levels via the remote, why cant’ they replicate it here?

-Some assembly required. A “first” for ships in the SOC line. Nothing too hard but it does make you stop to think and analyze what goes where for a few minutes.

-Opening the portside hatch to access the Central Computer is a bit unnerving, thanks to the thin plastic. I was worried about leaving stressmarks as I tried to pry the panel open. Having a spudger tool here helps. I do not recommend opening and closing this panel regularly.

-I would REALLY love it if the ship had light up interiors for the hangar bay. But alas…

-Attaching the main mast is risky, since you will likely scrape against the superstructure. Not something I want to do repeatedly.


The Ugly

The price? This thing costs a lot, considering there aren’t any real complicated transformations involved and there aren’t a lot of individual pieces to cast either. Do the electronics really cost so much to put in? Or are we paying for the licensing rights?


Overall, It’s a beautiful piece, lots to tinker with and definitely a must have for serious Captain Harlock fans, particularly if you’re a fan of the classic TV series.

But for the casual Soul of Chogokin collector who isn’t that into ships, this set’s high SRP and the fact that the green version is more recognizable as Captain Harlock’s battleship, this release is considered somewhat passable by some (I actually have a few friends who skipped out on this one because of the price tag for it).

Hmm… given the choice either this or the Gx-67 “green” version? My personal choice would have to be the green version. I love the electronic gimmicks and the choice of audio tracks included with this release (weak output and all) plus the addition of the support ships, but somehow seeing the green version with the huge freaking skull motif up on the ship’s bow just screams “Captain Harlock”, making that one seem more iconic.


Funfact Most Japanese fans refer to the Arcadia versions as either “Sharpnose” or “Skullnose”, whereas us non-Japanese folks just refer to the versions as either “blue” or “green”.

Funfact 2: Captain Harlock is such a BADA$$ that he once killed a guy using milk!

Funfact 3: The good captain always carries his two signature weapons, the Gravity Saber and the Cosmo Dragoon pistol.

Funfact 4: Captain Harlock is VERY popular among the French, where he is simply named “Albator”.

Gold



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