Adieu Galaxy Express 999
Continuous wars against the machines has turned the earth into a ruined wasteland. As the war still continues between the human beings and the machines, Hoshino Tetsuro gets a message from Maetel: "Get on the Galaxy Express 999 immediately."
So, after a daring break into the ruins of the once busy station, he finds the Galaxy Express waiting. Taking off to space once more, he ponders his destination or more imporantly, his fate once again.
Let me warn you right now before I start on the review that there WILL be spoilers to the first movie, the original "Galaxy Express 999." If you haven't seen that one, then I suggest that you do. Or, if sci-fi anime of the old-school variety doesn't float your boat (or run your train, to use a more fitting metaphor in light of the title in question), just ignore both reviews and go find something else. In either case, there WILL be spoilers to the first movie. Understand? Good. In that case, onwards with the review.
As those of you who has seen the first movie or read the review of it has seen, Tetsuo's first journey on the Galaxy Express could be seen as a metaphor for his journey into adulthood. Or at least part of it. And even though this second trip of his was far from planned, what we're presented with is nevertheless another piece of that journey. Although it's quite clear that we're dealing with a more mature Tetsuro, even if he still tends to act rashly like the youth he is.
This movie, like the last one, makes it absolutely clear that it IS a sci-fi CLASSIC, and a rather odd one at that. The Galaxy Express is still seemingly modeled after an old fashioned steam train. Also, Captain Harlock's ship has some parts of it modeled after old galeons and Queen Emeralda's ship IS practically a galeon mounted under a zeppeliner. Even Tetsuro's gun looks somewhat like an old western-stylized barrel gun. Unusual? Most definitely. And, like pointed out in the review of the first movie, it might take some time getting used to. But since you'd do well to see the first movie, it should be a moot point at this time anyway.
Another thing people should expect being carried over from the first movie is the same style of writing and plotting. The only difference being that Tetsuro's destination is as of yet unknown and will be pointed out as they go along. And, like in the first movie, there will be old and well known characters returning. Aside from Tetsuro and Maetel, we have the conductor of the GE999, Queen Emeraldas and Captain Harlock. New faces can be seen in the mechanical woman, Metaimena (Metalmania?), who takes over for Claire, who herself sacrificed her life for Tetsuro's sake in the first movie. She comes across as rather haughty and selfcentered. Still, the journey on the GE999 isn't only for Tetsuro's sake and perhaps she, too, will have her personality developed during the voyage. I won't say any more on that. ^_^
Other new characters include Meowdar, one of the humanoid people also warring against the mechanized ones on planet La Matal, rumored to be Maetel's birthplace. We also have Faust, one of the most renowned of the mechanized race and a source of much mystery.
Of those who've seen Star Blazers, Captain Harlock or Queen Emeraldas or, yes, even the latest Daft Punk videos made for the Discovery album ought to be familiar with Leiji Matsumoto's art style. It's being put to good use in this movie and also animated quite well. It won't impress the hell out of you, but it's more than adequate for the job. The Japanese VA's are quite good. I can't tell you anything about the english dub, since I just have the options of having Japanese or Korean dubbing, this being a R3 release and all.
So, since you've read this far in the review, I'm gonna assume you've seen the first movie. If you liked it, you will like this. If you didn't, this one probably won't turn your opinion around. In either case, I'm really starting to like the Leijiverse and will most definitely be looking for more.
I was aching to give this one a five star rating. It's a marvelous movie of the old school variety, a style of which I'm very fond of. If you're a bigger Matsumoto fan that I am at this point, add one star. If you find the idea of a steamtrain running through space ludicrous or think that ship designs inspired from oceanic vessels from the last turn of the century look stupid, subtract one star. Also, if pureblooded (and continuous) action fare is your cup of tea, remove a star as well. — Stig Høgset
Recommended Audience: People get shot and die. Not in a gory or bloody way, but they die en masse anyway. Also, Claire's replacement, Metaimena, is no less naked than Claire was. But, since she's an android, I guess few will complain. The violence in this movie makes it unsuitable for the youngest anyway.
Version(s) Viewed: R3 release, Japanese with English subtitles
Review Status: Full (1/1)
Adieu Galaxy Express 999 © 1981 Leiji Matsumoto / Toei
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