AD 1999, the Earth was in a critical situation; a planet Lar Metal was approaching to the Earth. Meanwhile, Yukino Yayoi was heard about Lar Metal from Dr. Amamori of Tokyo Observatory. She was a junior high school teacher, but she also worked for Dr. Amamori who appreciated her astronomical knowledge. Actually Yukino Yayoi was Queen Millennia who had come from Lar Metal 1000 years before, and she had been watching human beings since then.
Soon, numerous meteors fell on the Earth, and people were in panic. In this catastrophe, Hajime, who was a student of Yayoi, came to help Yayoi. Yayoi invited him into a big cave under the ground.
This was a really good movie to watch. I was very impressed with the film and the story was really good as well as the characters and sound. This is truly a good film from Leiji Matsumoto and I'm glad I was able to watch this film, as it is very hard to find around here nowadays. This film is worth watching if your a fan of Leiji Matsumoto's works and if you like movies dealing with space and travel as well as battleships, this is the film for you. A true gem and worth watching. You won't be disappointed. You'll even feel sorry for
Hajime and Yamato. 5/5!
Queen Millennia was created initially as a stand-alone manga before becoming a part of the dense "Leijiverse". The setting for the series is 1999 but in the manga and TV series it is very contemporary of 1982. For this movie it was updated to a more futuristic setting in order to be more consistent with Galaxy Express 999 and Space Pirate Captain Harlock. Interestingly, like the Galaxy Express 999 movie, this was released before the TV series had concluded meaning any fans watching this would have had the ending spoiled.
The story is loosely based on the legend of Princess Kaguya (Hajime even mentions this at
one point after Yayoi tells him her history) and the original Japanese title is "The New Tale of The Bamboo Cutter - Millennium Queen" further supporting this.
Queen Millennia starts off with a boy Hajime and his school teacher Yayoi. It is revealed from the very start that Yayoi is more than she seems and is actually Queen Promethium. Earth has a twin planet named LaMatel which also orbits the sun, however the orbit is so long that it only passes the sun once every thousand years. This means that the planet most of the time is freezing cold and its inhabitants are forced hibernate underground during this time. When LaMetal orbits the sun, it passes extremely close to Earth causing many natural disasters such as tsunamis and earthquakes. A secret Queen is put on Earth every thousand years to watch over it and help prepare for when the planets pass.
Trouble occurs however because it is revealed by Hajime's astronomer uncle that LaMetal is actually on a collision course with Earth. Unbeknownst to Yayoi, the LaMetallians have sinister plans for when the planets meet and it is up to her to save the Earthlings she has come to care for.
For a movie based on a 42 episode series the story never feels particularly rushed or missing any important events. There are a few characters who appear for only a few moments on screen who evidently would have been more significant in the series but the story never suffers for it. If anything I would feel that stretching it for 42 episodes would have seriously affected the pacing.
The writing is similar to most other Leiji Matsumoto works being that the dialogue is often laden with exposition and is repeated often so there is never any confusion with the story. Thankfully the dialogue is much less melodramatic than Galaxy Express 999 and Yayoi is a more positive character than Maetel. Hajime is less childish than Tetsuro and there is a nice moment where he has to grow up and face what will happen. Believability is stretched though when he flies an aeroplane (I think he is meant to be 8 years old!).
The story remains very linear and never really features many surprises. Everything which happens is mentioned far in advance and the final action scenes are very repetitive and seem to go on for too long compared to the rest of the movie's running time. The ending however is very poignant and gives a satisfying conclusion.
The character design features the usual Leiji Matsumoto quirks, meaning that he only ever draws about 3 different designs. Hajime and his uncle are weird looking "potato people" in vein of Tetsuro in the Galaxy Express 999 series and Tochiro from Captain Harlock. Whilst this choice would be semi-understandable for Hajime, it is strange seeing his 4ft potato uncle standing next to a 6ft normal looking man. Yayoi also looks like Maetel and her assistant looks like Captain Harlock.
The animation is pretty representative of the late 70's/early 80's era though it is clear this was made on a TV budget rather than a movie. Whereas the Galaxy Express 999 movie managed to elevate the visuals of the original series, Queen Millennia makes no extra efforts. The character designs remain consistent throughout and the action scenes are fluid.
Instead of an opening theme there is an abstract image of a globe with ambient music in the background whilst a very dramatic voice states the premise continually for around 5 minutes. Interestingly the closing theme is a song seemingly written specifically for this movie and sung in English by American singer Dara Sedaka.
A last note for those intending to cover the Leijiverse. The ending for this movie differs from that of the manga and TV series meaning that this acts as a standalone entry. This means that this movie cannot act as a prequel to Maetel Legend.