Stephen reviews: Adieu Galaxy Express 999 (1981)

adieugalaxyexpress999_1Adieu Galaxy Express 999 [さよなら銀河鉄道999 -アンドロメダ終着駅- Sayonara Ginga Tetsudo 999: Andromeda Shuchakueki] (1981)
AKA Goodbye Galaxy Railway 999: Andromeda Terminal (more of a literal translation, really)

Starring Masako Ikeda, Masako Nozawa, Kaneta Kimotsuki, Makio Inoue, Reiko Tajima, Kei Tomiyama, Youko Asagami, Toru Emori, Ryoko Kinomiya, Hidekatsu Shibata

Directed by Rintaro


As the title implies, this is the conclusion of the Galaxy Express series. But wait, didn’t I tell you all in last week’s review that this was the second film in a trilogy? Well, yes, but it’s a rather impromptu trilogy since the third film, Galaxy Express 999: Eternal Fantasy, didn’t come out until the late ’90s, so Adieu was intended to be the conclusion. Actually, the original Galaxy Express 999 wasn’t intended to have a sequel either, so all three films in the trilogy were the end of the series. And none of them actually stayed that way. (Ok, ok, so Eternal Fantasy was followed by a TV series spin-off rather than a true sequel. So sue me.)

Of course, making a sequel to a film that doesn’t need one is always tricky business. Not only do you have to unravel the ending that had already been neatly tied up, but you have to then face the twin complaints that the sequel is either too much or not enough like the original. While I enjoyed Adieu quite a bit, hecklers will complain about it from both sides of the field. Probably simultaneously.

Continue reading Stephen reviews: Adieu Galaxy Express 999 (1981) →

Stephen reviews: Galaxy Express 999 (1979)

galaxyexpressGalaxy Express 999 [銀河鉄道999 Ginga Tetsudo 999] (1979)
AKA Bonjour Galaxy Express 999

Starring Masako Nozawa, Masako Ikeda, Hidekatsu Shibata, Kaneta Kimotsuki, Youko Asagami, Kei Tomiyama, Makio Inoue, Reiko Tajima

Directed by Rintaro


Say, did you know there was anime before 1980? It’s true. It’s also damn near impossible to find American releases of it. That’s why this is my first review from the ’70s (unless you count the Champion Joe compilation film). It’s also the first film of the Galaxy Express trilogy, which I’ll be tackling over the next few weeks.

One of the few things I know about ’70s anime is that the animation quality was generally crap. I’ve seen brief snippets of anime films from the ’50s and ’60s that could stand proud next to Ghibli films, but somewhere along the line it all went to hell. By the ’80s, animation quality had hit bottom. Sadly, Galaxy Express 999 met my expectations for the ’70s. That doesn’t mean this is a bad film. It just means that Galaxy Express is a product of its time.

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Stephen reviews: Metal Skin Panic: MADOX-01 (1988)

Metal Skin Panic: MADOX-01 [メタルスキンパニック MADOX-01] (1988)
AKA City of Steel

Starring Yasunori Matsumoto, Youko Asagami, Masayoshi Sogabe, Yukiko Ishida

Directed by Shinji Aramaki


This is a short little sci-fi adventure that doesn’t try to do anything special. I’m afraid I don’t have much to say, but with a runtime of less than one hour there’s not a whole lot to talk about. It’s just a lighthearted romp around town with a cool sci-fi armor suit that sits halfway between insightful speculation and face-palming stupidity. As such, it has some aspects that are pretty good, and other aspects that, well, aren’t.

The premise is that the military somehow loses its cool new prototype super armor during transit, and it somehow winds up in the hands of Koji, a young mechanic, who obviously thinks it’s the coolest thing he’s ever laid eyes on. Of course, he then acts like a complete idiot and decides to try it out for himself. Then he can’t figure out how to get out of the armor, and he is forced to clamber about town to meet his girlfriend at 8:00.

Continue reading Stephen reviews: Metal Skin Panic: MADOX-01 (1988) →

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