Hm. This cut-off is actually going to be harder to call than I expected. It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anybody that I’ve already picked another series to cover on W&L in place of this (you’ll be getting a very concrete clue about that very soon, by the way). Initially, I was thinking I’d swap out once I got to the last GALAXY EXPRESS episode featured on Hulu. Then, the last episode turned out to be so lame that I decided I’d part ways with this show earlier and wrap up with this episode.
Well… this episode actually turned out to be the best one offered up, so far, so... I’m in a bit of quandary, now.
Really, this is precisely the sort of story I’d expect, and hope, to see in a series about a couple of outcasts traveling through space in a blatantly-ridiculous train that makes stops on one strange planet after another. The surrealism in this installment takes on the sort of dreamy, operatic quality that washes over all potentially snicker-inducing absurdities - - like, say, a frozen lake full of sleeping bodies or an all-powerful bullwhip - - and renders them into evocative, allegorical flourishes.
Sure, this is still cheesier than melted Mozzarella; but damn, if it isn’t fascinating to watch. And damn if isn’t fascinating to listen to, as well. I don’t think I’ve ever actually commented on the sound design in any of the hundreds of anime episodes I’ve watched (it really is one of those ingredients that’s as essential as it under-appreciated), but the relentless whooshing of the harsh Plutonian winds cooks up such a rich mood here. Maybe it’s technically “dated” sound work since I’m consciously noticing it instead of just subconsciously registering it, but I swear, I think it might’ve been the X-factor that turned this nearly-ridiculous yarn about a faceless, beauty-obsessed, robot temptress into a hypnotic, lucid nightmare that tugs on a lot of elusive, Freudian chords.
Now, I’m not so eager to turn away so early. Oh boy…