Based on the story by manga master Leiji Matsumoto (The Cockpit, Queen Emeraldas), the 55 minute featurette picks up one year after the events of Galaxy Express 999 in which a young boy named Tetsuro and his motherly companion Maetel worked to rid the universe on the Mechanized Empire who had taken over Earth.
"Galaxy Express 999: Eternal Fantasy" was actually one of the first anime movies I had ever seen back in the 90’s, and while it hasn’t aged that well, it still remains an entertaining movie. Basically our hero Tetsuro wants to get revenge for the murder of his mother by the hands of machine people. (Humans that gave up their bodies in order to become immortal robots) His only means to do this by riding the Galaxy Express 999 (a space train of sorts) in order to get a machine body himself and kill his mom’s murder. The only way he can do this is by
way of a young women named Maetel, who offers him a ticket if he takes her with him.
It is basically a movie that summarizes everything that took place during the TV series, only it whittles it down to about an hours worth. The story is quite well written as you can see from above, it really gives you a feeling that you are riding with Tetsuro on the express ways, as they tend to introduce different planets that have also been under oppression by the machine people, along with love, sadness and surprising plots twists, which are especially nice considering this is only an hour long movie. The action scenes themselves are fair enough, but lack a really visual appeal and flare. I know some may feel that it was appropriate for its time, but there still were much more fluent titles out there around this era. (such as Robotech or Captain Tsubasa) Still, it gets the job done well enough! It contains a bit of blood shed (doesn’t ever spurt or flow though) and some of the scenes show women in a more erotic manner, so it might not be appropriate for all viewers. These scenes are few and far between, but I still feel they are worth mentioning.
Really has a great one! The live "symphony" style of music really sets the mood for the movie, and even holds up well by today’s standards. And the closing theme "journey to the stars" was so darn catchy I immediately downloaded it to my ipod! It does seem a bit dated looking back on it, but it still has a lasting affect! My only complaint with the music, is that there isn’t much to it as far as variety goes. Its pretty sparse through out, but the parts that it does show up in are well timed and moving. Most people may view the background tracks as "sad, " but heck they did kill his mom, so its what the designers were trying to make you feel with it! Sadly, there is no opening theme to this title. The character voices were some hit and misses, I felt that the two main ones were well placed and appropriate, but others (like the conductor) just came out plain funny! Which I guess is ok, especially considering this is a sad movie, and some viewers might find the funnier voices stimulating.
Without a doubt it is very dated, this sort of style was very popular in the 80’s era, so to some younger viewers out there it will most likely be a turn off. As far as the character design goes, I just wasn’t a fan of it myself. With the exception of Tetsuro on most parts, the other characters just look weird and not proportioned right, and kinda come off as more silly than actually threatening or mature. (which is what the movie is shooting for) Still, whether you love it or hate it, its well detailed and does contain a character design all its own.
Which is really what this movie is all about! The great chemistry between them, whether it be loss of a loved one, happy times meeting new friends, to touching moments between them! You feel a deep satisfaction of feeling what the characters feel themselves. And even though it wasn’t able to pull off the most touching story for a movie, it still leaves you with a happy yet sad feeling when it finishes. The characters themselves are also interesting in their design. They range from humans, to alien conductors, to people made out of pure crystal, so there is a good variety to them as well!
Bottom Line: 8/10
If your not into the whole classic anime tag, then "Galaxy Express 999: Eternal Fantasy" probably won’t make you change your mind. But if you are interested in what was going on back in older anime titles, its a great find. This movie may be a bit too dark and depressing for some though, so if your the type of viewer who prefers happy movies then I would avoid it, as it does have its tear jerking moments. I recommend it for fans of old school, or people who like more mature drama in their anime diet.
One Final note I feel I should mention: if you do decide to get into this franchise, be prepared for some very confusing detective work. As there are so many spin-offs, sequels and prequels that it can sometimes get quite frustrating!