Hakugei Densetsu

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"Hakugei Densetsu" (I’m not calling it Moby Dick… and you can’t make me) is a 26 episode TV series sporadically released from 1997 through 1999; directed, storyboarded, and co-created by Osamu Dezaki (Director of "Ashita no Joe", "Rose of Versailles", "Golgo 13", "Kasei Yakyoku", "Black Jack", etc.). It was originally planned as a 39 episode show, so some of it, especially the ending, feels a little rushed or truncated.

At the dawn of the 48th century a planet is scheduled to be destroyed. In the distant future, all of space is controlled by the Federation. After having mined the planet Moad of all its natural resources, the residents are being mandatorily evicted and the Federation government has decided to use this world as a testing ground for their newest planet-destroying super-weapon, Hakugei.

Despite being ordered to leave, a group of fervent religious settlers, led by a young man, Shiro Tokisada (in surely the most sympathetic portrayal of Amakusa Shiro ever seen in Anime), choose to oppose Federation rule, declare their independence, and form a resistance force, in order to protect their home world from obliteration. With this rag-tag group of freedom fighters facing overwhelming odds, Shiro’s sister, Sachiko, disguises herself as a young boy, Lucky Luck, and leaves Moad, seeking to enlist the help of the universe’s greatest spaceship salvagers, known as “Whale Hunters”, led by the infamous Captain Ahab.

“Forty years a whaling…” This Ahab is thirty-five, so I don’t think so.

“The path to my fixed purpose is laid with iron rails, whereon my soul is grooved to run. Over unsounded gorges, through the rifled hearts of mountains, under torrents’ beds, unerringly I rush! Naught’s an obstacle, naught’s an angle to the iron way!” --Ahab, Moby Dick
Rather than an obsessed man gone mad with rage, vengeance, and bloodlust who sets off on a journey with his only interest being killing the freakish beast that took his leg; who gives up every other aspect of his life and would stab the creature with his final breath; "Hakugei Densetsu’s" Ahab is a man inducted into a futuristic pseudo-retelling of the Shimabara Rebellion. Someone who fears and “wants to forget” the White Whale, or rather its re-imagined interpretation as huge spaceship/cyborg weapon, the reluctant, resurrected scientist, Abel Cain; which in this version took both an eye and a leg.

While bearing no resemblance to its expressed source material except for some names used, some lightly touched upon plot devices, and the tattooed crewmember Barba’s undeniable origins in Queequeg, the series is enjoyable. It has a tragic love story between cyborgs, a serial murderer turned cyborg who is able to reclaim his humanity, and even its Ahab is an interesting character retaining much of his namesake’s charisma. It also has one of the best father-daughter type relationships that can be found in anime between Ahab and Lucky/Sachiko (though it’s more like Stevenson’s father-son relationship between Long John Silver and young Jim Hawkins than anything of Melville’s). The show, directed by Osamu Dezaki, despite limited animation, has some of that great look that can be seen in many of his anime, such as "The Professional: Golgo 13", "Golgo 13: Queen Bee", and "Black Jack".

However, I still can never forgive this series for renaming the Nantucket whaling vessel, Pequod, the Lady Whiskers!

 WWhale 01

 WWhale 02

 WWhale 03

 WWhale 04
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Curator: guyvariii
Gallery Created: 1/21/2004

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