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GALAXY EXPRESS 999 #2 - - Watch & Learn

Our cute and scrappy hero tore this young love asunder!

So we’ll be taking on another nice and short series for W&L. For a little variety, this one also happens to be a classic (although time will tell with MADOKA MAGICA, I suppose). As I mentioned last time, I’ve been wondering what the rest of this series would be like for years and years, and it’s damn near impossible not to scratch such an itch of curiosity when the show’s sitting right there in front of me - - easily available for free and legal streaming.

Once more, I’m a little startled by how the body of this show is so far removed from what I imagined it’d be like with only that little snippet I caught however long ago as a basis. I always figured Tetsuro was a meek and innocent Pollyanna who was swept away on a charming, Picaresque journey through the stars. Maybe like Fievel from AN AMERICAN TAILbut in space. Instead, these first couple episodes have revealed the little scamp as a deadly gunhand. Sort of like a clumsy kid who’s pretending he’s the lead of a spaghetti Western during recess, yet still somehow proving to be as adept as one in fits and spurts of capability.

Finding that comparison point probably isn’t even that profound, I know. Mars basically doubles for Old West Arizona here in an episode that might as well have been guest directed by Sergio Leone and scored by Ennio Morricone. Tetsuro’s even wearing a very Man with No Name-like poncho as if the parallels weren’t clear enough.

With that pop cultural link established in this discussion, I can’t help but see a certain strain of Baroque, romantic and highly emotional adventure storytelling here that maybe started with Leone’s Dollars Trilogy, carried into Matsumoto’s output in the 70’s and then came back through the retro rock opera of INTERSTELLA 5555. Again, it doesn’t take a genius to observe that a title like INTERSTELLA 5555 is a none-too-subtle callback to a title like GALAXY EXPRESS 999 - - but I wasn’t aware that the music of this series probably made as profound of an impression on Daft Punk, too.

Anyway, I get the feeling this will only be the first of many connections I’ll be finding throughout the course of this show…

Watch this episode, “The Red Winds of Mars” here and decide for yourself, then read my comments on the previous episode here.

Tom Pinchuk’s a writer and personality with a large number of comics, videos and features like this to his credit. Visit his website - - - - and follow his Twitter: @tompinchuk

sickVisionz moderator on Nov. 9, 2012 at 4:19 p.m.

Tetsruo is pretty cool and chill when people are cool with him but once he feels slighted or someone tries Maetel on some sucker shit, he pulls out that pistol and starts going to work in a way that makes it all too clear he's had a pretty rough life in a kill or be killed society.

Maetel is no slouch either as future episodes will shows. That overcoat is like Batman's utility belt in addition to her being Hawkeye with pretty much any weapon, whether it be a sword, pistol, grenade, or whip.

PenguinDuston Nov. 10, 2012 at 1:46 p.m.

I started re-watching this series about a year ago but haven't progressed past about half-way through. I really enjoyed what I saw of it, but so many of the episodes are rather bleak. That isn't to say I didn't enjoy it. Quite the contrary and that's saying something given my preference for comedies. What I have enjoyed is the mystery of Maetel's past, her true identity and how it all relates withing the Matsumoto universe. Yes, there is an element of predictability as the series wears on (basically figure the downer ending & 9 times out of 10, that's it), but I still found it well crafted. The animes made in the 70's and 80's hold a special place in my heart. They don't make shows like this anymore because I question if the modern audience would have the patience for the pacing despite each episode being a self-contained story most of the time.

sickVisionz moderator on Nov. 10, 2012 at 2:51 p.m.

@PenguinDust said:

They don't make shows like this anymore because I question if the modern audience would have the patience for the pacing despite each episode being a self-contained story most of the time.

I think it's less about patience (the show does legitimately drag though. There are only like 5 or 6 types of stories they tell over it's 113 episode run) and just that many have rejected the concept of episodic content. I know a lot of people who think episodic is a bad by default method of telling a story and that anything where each and every episode isn't directly driving the plot forward (heaven forbid and series where the focus is character interaction rather than progressing a plot) is poor storytelling.

Dig Deeper into Galaxy Express 999

A young boy named Tetsuro and a mysterious woman named Maetel travel across the galaxy getting into adventures in this 1978 anime series based off a manga series of the same name by Leiji Matsumoto.

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