The Town of Fireflies

The Town of Fireflies is an anime episode of Galaxy Express 999 that was released on 12/28/1978

Plot Summary

"Time passed and eventually in theaters all over the galaxy, Fraiya's animation was released. And it began with the following words before the title: 'In my name, Fraiya, and in the name of my cat, we dedicate this movie to the great Tetsuro Hoshino. We will never ever forget your courage and your friendship.' But we do not know if Tetsuro ever saw it." - Narrator

Fraiya at her hotel job
Fraiya at her hotel job

During their journey, Maetel and Tetsuro have a 24-hour layover at a station known as Mariko's Firefly. The planet is extremely luxurious and Tetsuro is impressed by the high standards of living that the citizens have. While on the planet, the duo decides to stay at a hotel where they meet a maid named Fraiya. Tetsuro notices that her clothes are raggedy so he offers to give her money. The act hurts Fraiya's pride and she refuses it, saying that while she may be financially poor, she isn't poor in her heart. Later, she returns to Tetsuro and Maetel's room and tell Tetsuro that if he comes to her apartment, she would be willing to sell him something if he wanted to buy it.

Fraiya shows Tetsuro her storyboards
Fraiya shows Tetsuro her storyboards

Tetsuro decides to visit her and is shocked to see the poor conditions in which she lives. Fraiya tells him that what she wanted to sell him was storyboards for an anime that she is creating called, "A Cat's Tale." Fraiya says that the only one to improve one's lot in life on Mariko's Firefly is by being talented at something others are not and that she has chosen anime as her escape from a life of poverty and servitude. Tetsuro is impressed by her work but while he is looking over it, the the apartment has a blackout and parts of Fraiya begin to glow in the dark. Tetsuro is amazed by this by Fraiya seems ashamed. She tells him that their is a caste system on the planet at that those who can glow all over of their body live a life of luxury and those who can't are considered ugly and are stuck in minimum wage jobs or a live a life of crippling poverty in one of the planet's shanty towns. Tetsuro takes the storyboard and tells her the he will pay her when he sees her at work the next day. While traveling back to the hotel, he bumps into a young man who can fully glow and is treated terribly by him.

Tetsuro is super happy to receive a kiss from Fraiya
Tetsuro is super happy to receive a kiss from Fraiya

Once he is back at the hotel, Tetsuro reads the storyboard and is touched by the story it tells. The next morning Fraiya stops by and Tetsuro decides to give her two gold coins for it, far more than she ever expected to receive. Tetsuro also returns the storyboards to her so that she can create an anime from them. She initially feels that Tetsuro is patronizing her but Tetsuro explains that she can use them to make her anime and then send her the final storyboards once they are done. Fraiya is moved by his kindness and kisses him on the forehead, which makes Tetsuro extremely happy.

Maetel watches as Fraiya hands Tetsuro a gift
Maetel watches as Fraiya hands Tetsuro a gift

Later that day while Tetsuro and Maetel are boarding the 999, they overhear Fraiya as she has come to see them off but is being harassed by the same young man that Tetsuro met the night before. Tetsuro challenges him to a fight and the young man bitches up and apologizes to Fraiya. Maetel tells the young man that he's in for a rude awakening if he plans on traveling through space and hopes that his good looks and glowing will be enough to get by on. Fraiya hands a wooden statue that she carved and wishes him safe traveling.

In the narration at the end it is revealed that Fraiya was eventually able to get her anime produced.

Characters & Voice Actors

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Conductor ( x ) ( x ) ( x )
Maetel ( x ) ( x ) ( x )
Tetsuro Hoshino ( x ) ( x ) ( x )
Fraiya ( x ) ( x ) ( x )
Yoshiko Matsuo ( x ) ( x ) ( x ) (Japanese)

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