Anime Meta-Review


Galaxy Express 999


By Date




Title Info

  • type: movie
  • grade: worthy
  • made: 1978
  • Review created: A while ago, i'll revise it eventually.
  • mod: none

Before you continue any further be warned, this movie is 20 years old and time has not been kind to the animation. In addition the heritage of Captain Harlock and his associates (who are supporting characters in this movie) may also have faded, and be difficult for a contemporary fan to find. Still, the movie can stand by itself, presents an interesting world and covers an epic scope even given the long running time (2+ hours). The setting is the far future, although many treasure the memory of the past. This helps explain why the `galaxy express' itself looks like a steam train even though it is actually a high tech space craft. This train stops at many planets, each of which has its own charms and dangers, and we get to explore several of these places. The human drama is equally complex, with a great number of humanity having converted to mechanical bodies, not always without psychological cost. The young protaganist got to experience this directly (depicted in a rather chilling manner) and has determined to get a mechanical body himself so that he can acheive revenge. He is accompanied by a mysterious women who seems to carry no shortage of secrets herself. The plot is complex, and some of the story turns are quite suprising. The combination of influences from old westerns, the Harlock universe and characters, the epic quest for revenge and the exploration of the costs of mechanization, as well as a large cast of well done characters make this a very full movie. It is very calm in its pacing however, so the impatient may find it intolerable although the atmosphere and dialog are well handled for those with patience. Still, if you have the patience to immerse yourself in this plot, can cope with not knowing the background of some characters (not vital, but clearly what the authors expect) and are willing to adopt to the animation style I think you will enjoy, or at least value, the experience. If nothing else it marks an interesting point in the consideration of humanity in a mechanized age.

There is a short review at Anime-Genesis which recommends it highly and comments on the skillful unfolding of the story shining through the age of the piece. Lord Carnage also has a review which outlines the opening of the story and calls the movie a "true classic". Check out the some Mail relevant to this title.


Words by Andrew Shelton, Web by Ticti, Last Compile: Wed Aug 5 12:39:18 WST 2009