Arcadia of My Youth is an anime film published by Toei featuring Captain Harlock. The film chronicles the life of the Harlock family starting from World War I (incorporated from Leiji Matsumoto's Battlefield series) up until the battle with the Thirtieth Century battle against the Illumidas.
Sometime after World War I, explorer-pilot Phantom F. Harlock I embarks on his journey to traverse the Owen Stanley Mountains in New Guinea. During his journey, he encounters the ghost of a witch haunting the mountains. To cross through the mountains, Phantom Harlock I ditches some of his fuel to gain altitude. He then carries on while the witch mockingly laughs at him.
During World War II, Phantom F. Harlock II encounters Toshiro Oyama, a Japanese engineer, after a major defeat against the Allies. Toshiro sympathizes with Harlock and his views on the war; seeing it as a pointless venture that will only end in the Axis Powers' defeat. Harlock, learning Toshiro's dream to develop a new gun for fighter planes in Switzerland, offers to take Toshiro to Switzerland. Harlock encounters resistance managing to survive the dogfight while crashing onto Switzerland. Harlock has to go back in order to deal with the consequences of his action with Toshiro pledging eternal friendship between their bloodlines.
Sometime in the Mid-30th Century, Earth had its civilization advance into outer space. Unfortunately, it had been conquered by the Illumidas. Captain of the Death Shadow, Harlock had returned only to learn that the Earthling and refugees blame him for not being there. Harlock, along with the Torkagans lead a resistance against the Illumidas using ancient warfare methods that were able to put up a fight against the alien conquerors. During this time, Harlock encounters Tochiro Oyama, a former engineer of the Solar Federation. Tochiro shows his dream project to Harlock, the Arcadia joining Harlock in the struggle against the Illumidas. Joining them is an old friend of Harlock's, Emeraldas and the Underground resistance lead by Harlock's wife Maya.
The Resistance side while making much progress loses many people. The Torkagans, losing their last female sacrifice themselves to save the Arcadia during an encounter with the Flame Stream Prominence (echoing the Owen Stanley Witch). Maya is gunned down with Harlock losing his right eye. However, encouraged by Maya to press on, Harlock honorably defeats the reigning leader, Zeda. However, he and his allies are branded as outlaws and are exiled into space. Earth itself prefers servitude to its masters rather than fight the hard fight for freedom. Even still, Harlock and his allies gather crews of idealists and romanticists to venture out into space for their eternal freedom.