Galaxy Express 999: Eternal Fantasy
Returning to Earth from a long absence, the Galaxy Express 999 finds the world pacified, in a sinister attempt to destroy humanity through the course of complacency. Hoshino Tetsuro, being held prisoner by the leaders of Earth, is rescued by the Galaxy Express 999, and is yet again taken on a journey through space in the company of his best friend, Maetel.
As noted in the note section, this anime is based on the only manga from Matsumoto that got an US release in its time. Having bought and read (or rather, devoured) said manga, I was very excited that it actually got animated at all.
Better yet, the production values of this little one-shot movie is just fabulous, especially compared to the rather dated TV series, and it might very well even outrank the original movies as far as art and animation quality go. Hell, unlike in the movies based on the original TV series, this movie even has Tetsuro looking like Tetsuro.
I guess I should have had my warning bells go off when I figured out that the runtime of this movie stopped at a little less than 55 minutes, especially compared to a manga of five thick volumes. Naturally, a lot of the manga has been edited out in the process.
The funny thing is that even the manga didn't really serve up a complete storyline, unlike the first series in the continuum. The Galaxy Express 999 manga, from which this movie is based on, starts up with Tetsuro's timely rescue and once again brings us along for the ride, revisiting some worlds from the initial show and generally bringing us back into the world of Tetsuro's dreams and ambitions. It is why, despite the manga's incompleteness, the story still compels.
And from that manga, approximately, oh, ten percent, was eventually turned into this movie. A well-made movie, but ultimately much too short to be of any particular value, especially if you haven't read said manga. Don't get me wrong; I enjoyed seeing what was there. I enjoyed it a whole lot, in fact. Thing is, as short as it was, Matsumoto's flair for storytelling and characterization is absolutely present, and in full force. And while I may also be drawn to blissful shows like Aria or Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou, the passion behind this man's stories certainly isn't lost on me.
Still, when all is said and done (and animated), I can only recommend you to watch this if you've seen or are familiar with the initial Galaxy Express 999 story AND have read the manga I was referring to in the beginning of this review. Then, and only then, might you find some appreciation of this somewhat amputated anime adaption.
Add another star if you've seen and loved the Galaxy Express 999 anime and manga. Deduct one if you haven't seen any of it at all. — Stig Høgset
Recommended Audience: Like most of Matsumoto's fare, you get your fairly bloodless violence and adult themes, along with some light fanservice. Nothing new here, folks.
Version(s) Viewed: Prerelease fansub
Review Status: Full (1/1)
Galaxy Express 999: Eternal Fantasy © 1998 Leiji Matsumoto / Toei Animation
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