Queen Emeraldas Is The Coolest Space Western You’re Sleeping On

Queen Emeraldas

Spaceships? Pirates? A strong female ship captain? The only thing not to love about Queen Emeraldas (クィーン・エメラルダス is how little of it there is.

This forgotten classic originally ran in manga form from 1978-1979, with four OVA episodes released between 1998 and 1999, making it unlikely you’ll hear it being introduced today. So here is everything you need to know about Queen Emeraldas and why you should love it!

Queen Emeraldas Synopsis

The TV series is a continuation of the Space Pirate Captain Harlock cycle. Fair warning: It stems quite heavily from that, and it might be worth brushing up on your knowledge of it, before diving into this sequel series. The other property in which she appears the most is the film Galaxy Express 999, which focuses on Emeraldas’s sister, Maetel, but in which she appears.

The Afressian race seeks to take over the galaxy. A young boy named Hiroshi Umino stows away on a freighter looking to leave Earth, but once in space, the freighter gets attacked by a ship of the Afressians who are flying the Skull and Crossbones insignia, led by Captain Eldomain.

Just in time, Hiroshi’s ship is saved by a mysterious third vessel, also bearing the insignia. It is Emeraldas’s ship, the titular Queen Emeraldas. Emeraldas travels throughout the sea of stars, fighting the tyranny of the Afressians with her trusty gravity saber and being fascinated by the downtrodden who still manage to dream and have hope.

Safely at his destination, an old Western-like planet called Daibaran, Hiroshi works to make himself a stronger person and build his own starship, just like his idol (and Emeraldas’s close friend), Captain Harlock.

The Afressians, however, have followed the freighter to its destination, hoping to draw out Emeraldas for attacking their ship. She turns up and confronts them, and later their queen, Baraluda.

The rest of the series follows Emeraldas’s exploits and fights for justice as Hiroshi watches her, and occasionally helps her while working towards his own personal goals.

Queen Emeraldas Characters

  • Hiroshi Umino – A young boy who leaves Earth to become strong and make a name for himself. Ends up endearing himself to Emeraldas, who watches and helps him from afar.
  • Emeraldas (also known as Queen Emeraldas or even Pirate Queen Emeraldas) – Space pirate captain, she’s an infamous wanderer and warrior who fights against the tyranny of the Afressians. She is tormented by her lost love.
  • Captain Eldomain – An Afressian fleet commander who fights Emeraldas. He has very few scruples with using or harming the innocent to get what he wants.
  • Tochiro Oyama – An engineer, mechanic, and inventor. He’s also Emeraldas’s lover and father to her daughter. He died before this series, but his memory still lingers all across Emeraldas’s life. The original owner of the Cosmo Dragoon that Emeraldas eventually gives Hiroshi.
  • Captain Harlock – Although he also doesn’t appear in this series, he is one of Emeraldas’s best friends and has a strong influence over all of her decisions. The archetypical hero, he’s a fellow space pirate with a very individualist philosophy.

Queen Emeraldas Anime

Is Queen Emeraldas Adapted from a Manga?

Queen Emeraldas was originally a manga, written and illustrated by Leiji Matsumoto. Beyond just this one title, though, he has created an interlocking universe of manga series that Matsumoto fans have lovingly dubbed the “Leijiverse.” Matsumoto fans will also know him for his work directing the anime series Space Battleship Yamato.

The specific Queen Emeraldas anime was adapted from a manga of the same name. It was originally serialized in Weekly Shonen Magazine in 1978. The next year, after the original serialization ended, it was collected into four volumes.

Almost forty years later, Kodansha Comics licensed Queen Emeraldas and published it in English. It came out in two large-format, hardcover volumes released a year apart in July 2016 and then July 2017.

How Long Is Queen Emeraldas?

One of the only downsides to Queen Emeraldas is how short it is – in anime form, there are only four OVAs.

Of those four, only two have been dubbed into English and released on DVD by ADV Films in 1999.

So it’s a good thing there’s an entire Leijiverse to dive into, and Emeraldas appears in a lot of it, so you’re not limited to this one series to get your fix of the badass space heroine!

Where Can I Watch Queen Emeraldas?

Currently, Queen Emeraldas is not available for rental or streaming in North America. However, if you’re willing to drop $129.99 on an awesome anime, you can buy the DVD of the first two OVAs from Amazon.

The reason it’s only the first two episodes is because the first two and the concluding two were produced by different companies, and they require different contracts. Only the first two were ever licensed for translation, and then released on DVD in English. They also used to run on the Action Channel, if you remember watching that!

For now, though, we can all just hope that sooner rather than later, especially considering how the manga was released in English just a few years ago, it will get picked up to stream in North America.

Queen Emeraldas is a prime example of an old-school anime from a classic director. If you can find it, it is absolutely worth the watch. With space travel, a badass pirate queen, and a legendary creator, what else could you want from this classic TV series?

Leiji Matsumoto / Kodansha
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