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GALAXY EXPRESS 999 #9 - - Watch & Learn

Hungry people are more terrifying than space cowboys!

Well, true to my word, we’ve reached the last episode available on Hulu and, while it does take a bit of creative reassessment to see it as such, I suppose it’s fitting that this would be a morality play to more-or-less encapsulate the oddities of the show.

Like I’ve said, it’s hard not to feel overly-serious whilst pointing out the personality contradictions in a scrappy lil’ hero who often looks like Eric Cartman cosplaying as the Man with No Name. However, GALAXY EXPRESS has consistently brought in serious and abstract subjects like immortality’s cost, class inequality, sexual obsession and how one must have a hardened heart to survive in this cruel universe. This has never been DORAEMON, has it?

And now, this episode explores the limits of charity, as Tetsuro learns that if he’s generous to even one starving wretch, he’s going to court hundreds of others with increasingly hostile feelings of entitlement. Certainly, that’s a brutally honest life lesson - - something far trueR to reality than the platitudes offered up by any number of “very special episodes” of Saturday Morning toons.

However, when the show does that, it kind of ceases any claim to harmless fun and invites the sort of critical thinking that’d ask why Tetsuro has such hesitation about simply telling a mob of pushy ingrates to back off. After all, he’s been repeatedly shown to have no hesitations about gunning down any bad guys who cross him. Just last episode, he made it clear that he'd rather die than put up with any more of a villainess' nonsense, right? Nobody’s fearless in all aspects of their life, sure - - the guy who’s conquered stage fright can still quake with terror over asking a girl out - - but I feel like killing people would take far more meanness than just giving beggars a cold shoulder.

Such are the thoughts that GALAXY EXPRESS has prompted… and as I turn away from it, I suspect no other anime will be this provocative.

Watch this episode, "Trader Junction, Part 1” 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 - - tompinchuk.com - - and follow his Twitter: @tompinchuk

zaldaron Dec. 26, 2012 at 4:55 p.m.

hmm really I would think that gunning down evil people would be easier than turning away hungry people...yes you are killing people in the first instance but they are evil...so in some sense they deserve to die. Turning away people you can help though who are not evil just in need...

and no this show always did make you think the episodes I saw (only a few more than you) the movie I enjoyed as well even if it did become a little dirivitive toward the end.

Dig Deeper into Galaxy Express 999

Leiji Matsumoto's meditation on mortality and social class. Beginning as a manga series, it moved on to films, Original Animated Videos (OAV), and a television series.

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