Hiroshi is a young boy stowed away on a ship when it comes under attack from a evil Afressians, only to be saved at the last second by a mysterious ship. The spirited (okay, rude) youngster gets a job at a rather tough bar, which is where the Afressian captain Eldomain starts his search for the ship that screwed up his attack. That's where the tall, beautiful, REALLY long-haired Emeraldas emerges and gets Eldomain and his henchment to get out of town. Hiroshi isn't exactly grateful to Emeraldas for her help, although everyone else certainly is.
Hiroshi's dream is to meet Emeraldas' old flame Tochiro (who died in Galaxy Express 999) and build his own ship, and live alone -- free and strong. Emeraldas is amused by the boy (and is reminded of Tetsuro, the kid from GE999), but when Eldomain's crew comes back to take the gang at the bar as hostages, Emeraldas is prepared to unleash her wrath on this evil one... but that doesn't look like it'll be too easy.
Queen Emeraldas is the second DVD release that ADV Films announced (the first was Tekken), and their choice couldn't have been more appropriate. The animation in this two-part OAV is so good it feels really inadequate seeing it on VHS.
Yet another Leiji Matsumoto epic-turned-anime, this one is filled with the typical three-foot-tall munch people, odd mangy animals, and heroic people with scars on their faces. Set in the Captain Harlock Universe, this actually seems to serve as more of an epologue to what's become (or not become) of Emeraldas since the Galaxy Express 999 movie, and seems to be set about five years later.
Queen Emeraldas is more than just another space epic. While the feeling is rather reminiscent of 50's American Sci-Fi, the plentiful CG makes for a rather enjoyable visual experience. This is probably the first 100% digital anime to actually look good! There are a few problems here and there (some shimmering and low-resolution frames) but nothing that really detracts from the look of the show. The rendered scenes aren't too great except for one or two that really stand out, but they're not bad...
Although good, it's unfair to compare this to the epic that is Galaxy Express 999. The story itself is just a tad anticlimactic, and Emeraldas' frequent "I Am Emeraldas" monologues get old rather quick. Still, it's a good watch, and most certainly a satisfying one.
The dub, produced by ADV's Gary Dehan, is excellent, well cast and well acted (although Captain Eldomain is a bit miscast). Having both the dub and the sub on hand would certainly be handy for the well-rounded anime fan, especially in convenient DVD form.
Overall, Queen Emeraldas is one of the many gems in the glut of Sci-fi anime out there. It's a nice showcase of what is possible with the new standards in digital anime.
Overall (dub) : A-
+ Epic story, great animation
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