This is going to be a short post, unlike the sloshing krakens that surround it. The only thing I need to impress upon you here, and I mostly do it for fun, is that the latest movie did not originate the idea that Harlock has a less than ideal personality. It may push some of those troublesome qualities to an extreme, but it didn’t invent them.
Harlock is an idealist, which is a pretty good trait. He also overestimates his own abilities, underestimates the threat other people pose and intend to him, and practically makes a hobby out of sparing people even if they wind up screwing him over. He’s alcohol-dependent in a quiet, unfunny way reserved for no one else. Like, ‘wake up out of your facedown nightmare slump on your desk only to knock an empty bottle to the floor,’ levels of unfunny.
‘Deal with your closest friend being dead and a computer ghost by taking two cups of booze into the computer room (alone) to drink with the ghost, which cannot drink, because it is a ghost,’ unfunny.
By the way, in an early continuity where his ghost-computer-friend spends the majority of the story alive before becoming a ghost, Harlock’s emotional avoidance prevents him from even saying goodbye. He doesn’t even try until Tochiro is dead, and he tries by wordlessly rushing off the bridge to go stand in the computer room, where he last saw him, and just cry.
He doesn’t do things by halves, which is simultaneously admirable and a fast route to utterly cocking things up. He’s tried to fight the weather and nearly paid for it with his life when it turned out that, big surprise, the weather he stormed off into alone was full of a space witch out to murder him.
His unwillingness to compromise his will and let people help him is also a demonstrable problem. The attitude of “No, I’ll fix this alone, thanks,” presents at least one notable scenario in which he nearly gets everybody killed. He exposes himself to a combat situation that’s caused him debilitating emotional discomfort before, refused to cede control of the ship, and proceeds to… backslide into a flashback.
He’s reacting to a situation he isn’t in, arguing with the results of his own orders because they don’t match what’s happening in his brain, visibly shaking and not even directing his gaze where it needs to be. He’s dangerously compromised, he’s determined to just power through it, and he probably would have sunk the Arcadia trying if a sudden drastic change in situation didn’t snap him out of it.
Harlock has problems. Like, a lot of them. They’re not always called out outright, but they have consequences within the stories and they’re fairly consistent. You can like it or not, but true to Matsumoto’s mission statement he’s a character who eats and sleeps.
And boy does he drink.