Sep 25, 2018
EggheadLuna (All reviews)
A whimsical space adventure full of wonder, excitement, and existential horror! What could be better? Galaxy Express 999 is an expert at opening up your inner child’s feeling of wonder into the unknown realms of Leiji Matsumoto’s colorful universe.

• The series begins with young Tetsurou learning about the foibles of humanity and swearing vengeance in the heat of passionate rage―causing the beautiful and mysterious Meatel to invite him on a space train to find what he’s looking for; Tetsurou agrees while idealizing the possibility of gaining an immortal mechanical body, so that he doesn’t have to suffer through the ailments of poverty any longer, like starvation and weather’s wears. The narrative explores human nature and the intrinsic value of life, as well as the consequences of relinquishing ones’ nature as a human being.

• Nearly every episode is episodic and typically takes place on a different planet, comet, or unforeseen ripple in the chasm of reality, so, filler characters and situations don’t feel like contrived nonsense and each episode shows burgeoning character development―warping Tetsurou’s naïve, small-minded view of the universe into a mature place of understanding and compassion; sometimes, even the reserved Maetel has her moments of revelatory characterization.

• This series is more of a fantastical dream landscape rather than a portrayal of a realistic trip into space. On the galactic train, not one character has to wear a spacesuit and can stick their heads out of a compartment window without suffocating to death. While some may see this as a detracting feature, I thought that the surrealistic atmosphere welcomed such oddities… I mean, there is a FLYING TRAIN in space! The innocence of the surroundings, even with some episodes been adult-themed macabre, had the same kind of passionate divulgence (one without a care of an audience reception) as Doraemon (1979)―which I’m a huge fan of!

• The weakest point of the series was the climax with Maetel’s mother, which was incredibly rushed and ruined the development that the series had build for hundreds of episodes! The series itself kept Maetel’s composed veneer up for so long, so when it gets shattered immediately―it’s a huge letdown!

For the majority of the series, Galaxy Express 999 is a genuine, pure-hearted space adventure with moral catharsis and heart-breaking realizations about mortality. I would recommend this series to anyone who’s willing to give a show from the 70’s a gander, and I would suggest experiencing the entire series rather than just the (recap) movie version, but I always prefer a full-length telling of a story rather than a condensed, film-version―I also thought the Mobile Suit Gundam film trilogy was lackluster compared to the experience of watching Tomino’s full vision of the war. I give Galaxy Express 999 a 8/10; a must-see series for an otaku who wants to experience an influential series!