“Galaxy Express 999” is a campy but exciting classic with a colorful cast of characters and space-traveling trains.
The plotline alone is a big ball of cheese. In the setting of this series, the wealthiest humans are able to convert their bodies into cyborg parts, so that they’ll never have to eat again. Of course, this leaves the poor humans down in the slums to starve. A rumor spread through the impoverished community that the legendary Galaxy Express 999 train line will take people to a planet where they can turn their body into a cyborg.
Episode one opens with Tetsuro and his mother looking for the Megalopolis station with the Galaxy Express line in a blizzard. Things quickly turn tragic when a cyborg gang kills his mother to post on a wall as a trophy. Tetsuro collapses in the freezing cold, but is thankfully saved by a blonde-haired woman named Martel.
She offers him an unlimited ride pass on the Galaxy Express 999, as long as he takes her with him. Thus begins a long story of revenge and liberation.
Admittedly, the character designs and technology is even goofier than the gadgets found in The Jetsons. Mars looks more like the wild wild west. A space cowboy named “Geronomo” makes a cameo. However, the campiness is exactly what makes “Galaxy Express 999” one of the coolest anime series ever made. The opening sequence of trains in space and Japanese enka singing only escalates the funky 70s feel to a level that is indescribably sexy.
There’s even more to it than campiness though. This is one of the series which inspired series such as “Fullmetal Alchemist” with its portrayal of cyborgs. Certainly the visual theme is nothing new, but the second episode alone has enough drama and violence to make someone think twice about outfitting bodies with automail.
Hands down, “Galaxy Express 999” is a classic treat for anyone who loves anime with cyborgs and corny futuristic designs. Watch it for free at funimation.com.
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