Thursday, October 17, 2013

I Want To Hammer My Point In With Many Nails Instead of Few, And That's Terrible: A Galaxy Express 999 Post

After seeing Rintaro's movie version of Galaxy Express 999, I took a look at the summaries for the actual series and was shocked at how awful they made it seem. For 113 episodes, Tetsuro and Maetel do nothing but visit planets and learn lessons regarding how awful it is to be a cyborg? That wouldn't last me through a 13-26 episode series let alone one that's longer than Legend of the Galactic Heroes. How can people like that stuff?

Editor's Note: I forgot to take the time period of the anime into account when writing this, so whilst I stand by my points, I admit that it could have been reworded better and clarified my issues with Kadian in the comment section below.

For those who don't know, Galaxy Express 999 is a story about a kid named Tetsuro who lost his mother due to a robot that hunts humans. His dream is to have a robot body so he can live forever and take revenge on the robot at the same time, but they're too expensive for him. However, there is a planet that can give him a robot body for free, but you have to ride a space train known as the Galaxy Express 999 in order to get there. Tickets are expensive and the train only comes to Earth once a year, so it's not until Tetsuro meets a mysterious woman named Maetel, who gives him a ticket in exchange for being her traveling partner, does he start his journey. On the way, they stop at various planets (the place where Tetsuro needs to go is the last stop) where Tetsuro meets many different people and customs, but the outcome is pretty much the same: he starts doubting he wants a robot body and more likely than not, the trip will end on a downer. The movie only had him visit four or five planets (including the ending one), but the series has him visiting almost a hundred. To which I ask, why?

Maybe it's better execution-wise, but I don't really buy that. There's only so many ways you can say "being a robot is bad" before it gets tiresome, especially considering this type of moral has been repeated ad nauseum before the anime even existed. That message isn't exactly as varied as the topics of the power of nature or immigration or whatnot, and from what I read of the summaries, the formula of each episode is about as repetitive as a Scooby-Doo episode. Hell, I was tired of it when the movie got to the ice planet part, because by then I caught onto its formula and whilst the additions of Esmerelda and Captain Harlock were great, the message was the "exact same" in the end, and if it wasn't for the fact that their stories were plot-important, Galaxy Express 999 would really have lost me.

I somehow doubt every single planet in the anime or manga were that important to the plot, especially considering the movie had far fewer stop points and I could follow everything perfectly. Yes, I know there were liberties taken with Count Mecha and everything, but that's to be expected regarding an adaptation. Namely adapt the goddamn thing! Even if it's meant to be a recap movie or whatever no, especially if it's a recap movie, the goal should be that you don't need previous experience with the franchise in order to enjoy it. Plus, from what I read, the changes were about as radical as Evangelion 1.11: You Are (Not) Alone or Air: The Motion Picture. Yeah it's streamlined and details are changed, but the overall message is still the same. Oh sure, I might have missed out on some complexity and all that stuff that Leijiverse fans eat up, but unfortunately, this blog supports short and simple over long and complex. And as I said before, it's not like the themes were complex enough to devote a whole lot of time towards them. Imagine if Bebop kept bringing up Spike's past in every single episode up till its two-part finale. That would be really fucking boring because it'd just be repetitive and irritating.

You may start complaining that I'm being harsh on a series I never watched. Well the point I'm trying to make isn't that I dislike Galaxy Express 999, series or otherwise, but I'm being turned off from ever seeing it because of what the series seemingly represents: a good idea that seems to ruin itself, not only because it should have been compressed, but that it bangs on the same point over and over with its individual stories. If you're going to have a long length, you have to realize that you can only evolve your concept so far. There's a reason why Rumiko Takahashi's comedy series are able to keep my attention despite the length whilst Inuyasha got boring in the middle of the second season. And even comedies can run stale at a long length. Not only is the Galaxy Express 999 series not a comedy, it seems to want to be another version of Detective Conan. Yeah, no thank you.

Besides, the movie was enough for me, and you know a recap movie is good when it doesn't make you want to check out the rest of the series. Sorry, but why would I want to see your story again when I got it really well-done the first time? Okay, I didn't love the movie or anything, but that's due to genre biases. I can't think of a thing you can change that would make it appeal to me more. And BTW, I am biased against that Carrie remake, even if I wasn't that big into the first film.

So yeah, I have no desire to check out the series. I felt like I got all I needed by watching the movie version. Think I'll have better luck going for the sequel films instead.
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