The second of two Japanese animated features based on the popular 1970s TV series "Galaxy Express 999," ADIEU GALAXY EXPRESS 999 continues the adventures of Tetsuro, a homeless human boy caught up in a war with the Machine Empire and his travels through space aboard a quaint
19th-century-style passenger train.
As the earth lies in ruins from an ongoing war between humans and the Machine Empire that controls the galaxy, Tetsuro Hoshino (voice of Saffron Henderson), the youngest of a band of human rebels, is sent a message by his mentor, Maetel (voice of Kathleen Barr), to board the Galaxy Express 999
which returns to Earth to get him. In an encounter with Meowdar (voice of John Payne), another young rebel, Tetsuro is warned not to trust Maetel, a stylishly dressed young woman who had traded her human body for a machine one. Two years earlier, Tetsuro had aided Maetel in overthrowing her
mother, Queen Promethium (voice of Kathleen Barr), ruler of the Machine Empire.
Tetsuro is reunited with Maetel, who takes him to Faust (voice of John Novak), a towering machine man and one of the Empire's rulers. Tetsuro fights him and escapes on 999 with Maetel to the planet of Greater Andromeda, the capital of the Machine Empire. There they confront the disembodied Queen
Promethium, kept alive by a control panel. They witness the spectacle of thousands of humans being processed in a giant factory which extracts the life force from them and transforms it into capsules which feed the robot population of Greater Andromeda. The outraged Tetsuro fires his weapon to
disrupt the machinery and leads the surviving humans back to 999. Captain Harlock (voice of Scott McNeil) and Emeraldas (voice of Nicole Oliver), notorious space pirates, lead an attack on Greater Andromeda. As 999 flies away amidst the wreckage of Greater Andromeda, Faust appears on board for a
final duel with Tetsuro. Once defeated, Faust reveals to Tetsuro that he's the boy's father. The humans make it to a neutral planet where they prepare to return to earth. Maetel takes leave of Tetsuro, trusting in his ability to carry on alone.
Despite being overlong and, at times, overwrought, ADIEU GALAXY EXPRESS 999 remains a superior work of animation art, offering a mesmerizing journey into a universe that is the product of some very creative imaginations. Director Taro Rin, in fact, went on to become one of Japan's most
accomplished and innovative directors of animation; his later works include the 1996 Japanese boxoffice hit X: THE MOVIE. ADIEU GALAXY EXPRESS 999, produced in 1981 and released on US home video in 1997, offers early examples of the director's penchant for surrealistic imagery. The extreme
stylization on display includes a 19th-century passenger train flying through the galaxy, space pirate ships crafted after old sailing ships, breathtaking planetary landscapes, and robot cities with miles and miles of gleaming, colored, mechanized towers. (Violence.)
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- Released: 1981
- Rating: NR
- Review: The second of two Japanese animated features based on the popular 1970s TV series "Galaxy Express 999," ADIEU GALAXY EXPRESS 999 continues the adventures of Tetsuro, a homeless human boy caught up in a war with the Machine Empire and his travels through sp… (more)