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[ café reviews ]

[The dream takes off once again, with Maetel in the hearts of all young men]
[Sayonara Ginga Tetsudo 999 title]

Sayonara Ginga Tetsudo 999

(Adieu Galaxy Express 999)

[ production info ]

Copyright: © 1981 Toei Animation Co., © 1997 Video Video (North America)
Length: 137 minutes
Rating: NR, parental guidance suggested
Format: Japanese Language / English Subtitled (VHS)

[ plot summary ]

vhs jacket

Two years after the destruction of planet Maetel, Hoshino Tetsuro finds himself on Earth -- an Earth devasted by war with the mechanised worlds of Queen Prometheum. Amidst the bloodshed, Tetsuro receives a strange recording -- a recording of Maetel's voice, urging Tetsuro to board the Three-Nine once again...

Tetsuro's voyage turns out to be much more than he bargained. Travelling from unknown destination to unknown destination, he encounters the director of Galaxy Express Railways -- the fearsome Faust, as well as the mysterious Ghost Train, which seems to always have precedence of all other express lines. As he journeys on the GE-999, Tetsuro discovers the terrible secrets haunting Faust, and even Maetel - a secret harboured on the homeworld of the mechanised people: Great Andromeda.

[ capsule review ]

[Tetsuro lives among the freedom fighters of Earth.]

[A courier delivers a recording to Tetsuro -- one with Maetel's voice urging hime to board the GE 999 once again.]

[Meowdar, resident and resistance fighter from Maetel's own homeworld.]

[Faust, Tetsuro's mortal foe... and a man with old ties to both Tetsuro and Harlock.]

[Queen Prometheum still lives, despite the events of two years past.]

[Tetsuro discovers the terrible secret behind the machine body's eternal life.]

[Maetel, her journey with Tetsuro finally over, bids a silent farwell as the GE-999 makes the return trip to Earth...]

There's rule in Hollywood which states that a sequel can never be as good as the original. The Japanese anime industry, it seems, is not immune to this generalisation. Adieu Ginga Tetsudo 999 has all the weaknesses of its predecessor, and none of the strengths. Once again, we're prey to Matsumoto's overuse of coincidental encounters to pull our heroes out of danger, or to tie plot lines together.

Director Taro Rin was given the daunting task of making something out of this screenplay, but the his attempt to give this an epic feel merely compound the problem -- when the script itself is unbelievable, then not even the finest director nor cast can save a production. Acting was marginal, with Tetsuro (played by Nozawa Mariko) being far too annoying for my tastes. She sounds remarkably like Yamaguchi Kappei, as a matter of fact. Interestingly, I find that I prefer the dubbed character voices in Galaxy Express 999 - The Signature Edition over the Japanese cast. Again, it's because the Japanese cast plays this movie far too seriously, and the end result is much like some of the "classic" B-movies of the 1960's.

The earlier Matsumoto works had some degree of originality to them, but this one even dares to blatantly steal elements from other movies. Listen to the fanfare being played as GE-999 first takes off from Megalopolis Station. Sound familiar? The opening bars to Superman, perhaps? Or the real identity of Faust as Tetsuro's father -- is it merely coincidence that he bears a striking resemblance to Darth Vader of the Star Wars saga? Incidentally, The Empire Strikes Back was released a year prior to Adieu GE-999, and Superman a year before that. Even the ending song is not original to this production -- it's a late '70's pop music production by Mary "Torn Between Two Lovers" MacGregor.

Adieu Ginga Tetsudo 999 takes itself far too seriously. It's a depressing, self-serving drama punctuated by outrageous use of "just in the nick-of-time" plot elements to try to tie together one or two loose ends from the previous movie. Problem is, I didn't know there were any loose ends to be had.
- AN, 98.10.18

[ café rating ]

Original: Subbed: Dubbed:
Story: N/A 1 star N/A
Direction: N/A 2 stars N/A
Acting: N/A 3 stars N/A
Animation: N/A 1 star N/A
Music: N/A 2 stars N/A
Translation: N/A 4 stars N/A
Overall Rating: N/A turkey N/A

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