Galaxy Express 999 Movie

Alt title: Ginga Tetsudou 999 (1979)

Movie (1 ep x 128 min)
3.748 out of 5 from 1,130 votes
Rank #2,520

Tetsuro was orphaned at a young age when his mother was killed by Count Mecha. He dreams of one day earning, or stealing enough money to board the Galaxy Express 999 - the intergalactic train that would take him to the robot planet, where he could cast away his humanity in his quest for vengeance against Count Mecha. Tetsuro soon finds a shortcut towards his desires when he meets the enchanting Maetel while running from the police. Tetsuro finds himself drawn towards this woman that eerily resembles his mother, especially when she offers to take him on the Galaxy Express 999 with her. So begins Tetsuro's intergalactic journey to fulfill his wishes, whatever those wishes may be in the end.

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This anime has a great story and awesome cast of characters. Outside the movies, I have little to no familiarity with the other mediums this story has been told. I heard the TV series was 113 episodes!! I don’t get how you can make a story that big!! Plus, I heard the manga was also 20 volumes.Regardless of how much is compressed in this version, you still feel the maturity of Tetsuro and how strong the bond is between him and Matel. The bond they share is something comparable to what Naked Snake and the Boss have in Metal Gear Solid 3. It’s beyond mother and son, brother and sister and a romantic relationship between man and woman despite Matel’s mysterious age and Tetsuro still not yet hitting puberty. There are some elements that are predictable and others that are not. Whether or not you anticipated something, you’ll still be surprised regardless. I’ll admit that every time I see this anime which is probably once every other month or so, I’ll cry at the end. Because you really feel that bond between Matel and Tetsuro and the friends he made and those who died that made their impact and you really learn the meaning of life. Well, this anime despite being made in the late 1970s is still very acceptable by today’s standards. Even Leiji Matsumoto himself cannot even evolve his style to modern day times. You might likely associate the character designs from Daft Punk’s music video One More Time. That music video was made some number of years ago and it shows that Matsumoto stands by the way he draws. He’s a lot like the creator of Saint Seiya, Kurumada Masami in that kind of way. His style can be corresponded to a certain era of anime, but as long as he is still working, he’ll continue to do things the way he does it.I like to talk about the use of scenery and the interpretation of the future in this anime on earth. Despite being nearly 30 years old, the interpretation of the future isn’t as retro ally exaggerated like the Jetsons or Lost in Space or the old school Star Trek series by using stupid designed robots or weird clothes. If this anime was made even today, the interpretation of the scenery of the future of the earth would probably still be the same. It has a dark look to it and you can comparably say the scenery of the city you see in the first act while still on earth is that to Cowboy Bebop and Outlaw Star. Still has tall buildings but they are not really too mechanical looking despite the lights. The clothing of the characters aren’t really spandex jump suits or weird space suits. They use clothing close to modern day standards with the exemption of the pirate characters.Now time to talk about how the characters are designed. The male characters aren’t really portrayed as being muscular. This is a common trait I’ve seen in other 1970s anime such as Gundam, Maringer Z, and Lupin III. They got more of a skinny built but that quality is made up with quick, sharp, and clever movements if there is ever any action. Tetsuro as a kid has a huge head in his flash back scenes and there are other awkward design characters like Tochiro. Then there’s also the female characters. They tend to resemble each other too much. Like Matel, Emeraldis, and the female character at the beginning of the movie all have the same stick figure built and face, but different hair colors and Emeraldas of course has a scar on her face. Is this suppose to be the Gundam SEED of the late 1970s where there is some limited diversity to the design? Granted Matsumoto has a distinctive art style and draws some good female characters, but he really needs to work a bit on the diversity field of main female characters.But the mecha people have great designs as well and are well distinctive which makes up for the bad quality I just mentioned. Like there are some mecha characters that still have some vague human form to them like in the bar scene. Some have 100% mech bodies like the main villain Count Mecha. And there are some that can have other material types of bodies like Claire who is made of crystal glass and can light herself. So the world of robotizing yourself in this anime gives you many choices of what you can do. And of course there is the awesome looking pirate space ships that have an intimidating look to them and the interesting design of the 999. Now time to talk about the voice acting in both the Japanese and English version. What’s ironic is that Tetsuro happens to be played by actresses that have one trait in common. Both Masako Nozawa his Japanese voice actress and Saffron Henderson who plays him in the English version also happened to have played Goku in Dragon Ball. Well Henderson specifically played Goku in the first dub to Dragon Ball that was released in 1995, while Nozawa played Goku throughout the entire Dragon Ball saga. So I thought that was a real interesting twist. Both actresses portray the character very well. The screams really bring out the character in the Japanese version while the voice Saffron uses is well suited to his personality meaning he is a kid, but still quite mature and knows how to handle himself.Other well known Japanese voice actors is Banjo Ginga who has a brief role in Planet Andromeda. And from what I found, the original voice actors in the Japnese versions of Harlock and Emeraldis also reprise their roles.The English version as well as the sequel which I will also review at a later time were aired on the Sci-Fi era of Anime after Midnight. So I guarantee that you will love this anime despite the language because both offer their own great portrayals to the characters.As for the music, it has a lot of disco beat to it considering the time it was made. I happen to be a 1970s fan and I love the movie Saturday Night Fever so I dig the background music. Now time to talk about the lyrical music. Specifically the ending theme. It’s a very iconic music. It’s really folkish and it is a timeless classic in it’s own right. So big in Japan that it was included in versions of Guitar Freaks and Drummania and is in Karaoke Revolution. It’s really catchy and really sets the mood of the ending. The voice sounds really 70s but the way the music is played doesn’t really have the disco beat but it has more of a 1960s rock to the presentation.Quite honestly, I have no idea how you can make a 113 episode TV series out of a story you can perfectly tell in this 2+ hour movie. You will feel the emotion of the characters and be captured by the story. The character design may not be for everyone but the action and the scenery is still up to the standards of modern day anime of the same genre. The music is incredible. The anime may be a possible interpretation of the future, but will always be a product of it’s time.

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