Issues and Images in Adieu Galaxy Express 999 (Part II)
SPOILERS AHEAD. There’s three more things I want to comment on the Adieu Galaxy Express 999 movie. Here they are, # 5, 6 and 7.
I don’t think I’ve ever heard or read anyone commenting on fanservice in Leiji Matsumoto’s work. This is odd to me because I see it all over the place. Matsumoto may even be considered a pioneer in the field. Adieu is no exception. Check this pic out:
In this sequence, we are watching events from the perspective of Tetsuro Hoshino. Emeraldas is carrying Maetel (don’t worry, she’s fine) in her arms and walking toward Tetsuro. Watch carefully. Next pic in the sequence is this:
And finally this:
No, I didn’t zoom or manipulate anything. This is an actual shot from the film focusing on, in my best clinico-heraldic Latin: Maetel’s gluteus sable orle azure over Emeraldas’ pubis gules two pallets or. Is it just me or is this some fanservice?! Or is just me??
6. The Speed of Justice
The legal enforcement machinery in the developed capitalist world is something awesome and terrifying. It really doesn’t take that long for police to respond to an incident. Everyday it gets harder and harder to be a criminal, specially a petty thief (the big cats can often avoid the machine by becoming a part of it).
It only stands to reason that as history progresses, the time gap between criminal act and disposal of the criminal will become narrower and narrower. Adieu shows this very well. In the 23rd century, it’s down to 2 seconds! We see Tetsuro shoot down an enforcer type (guard, soldier, police…it’s not clear) on the planet LaMetal, here:
Two seconds later (I counted it!), the following patrol ship is already in pursuit:
Never mind that the enforcer dude attacked Tetsuro first. The law is the law.
7. Why Maetel’s body is modeled on Tetsuro’s mother’s
In the first Galaxy Express 999 film Maetel reveals to Tetsuro that the reason she looks so much like his mother is that her body is actually patterned after that woman. Maetel can practically live forever, and every so often she changes one body for another. She doesn’t steal someone’s body (that’d be villanous) but apparently she’s able to copy someone’s body to make one of her own.
The viewer is left assuming that the reason Maetel would replicate Tetsuro’s mother’s body is to make him comfortable, to lure him, into boarding the Galaxy Express 999 with her. And sure enough it works: Tetsuro is drawn to Maetel’s appearance from the beginning.
But there might be another, deliciously ominous reason for Maetel’s “choice”. In Adieu we meet the Black Knight Faust, Queen Promethium’s right-hand machine-man. We learn that he is actually Tetsuro’s father, a former comrade of Captain Harlock’s who at some point made a fittingly Faustian bargain with the Mechanization Empire and rose to be one of its major figures. As part of this move he abandoned his beloved wife and child.
Given that Faust is seen to be a family man throughout, cunning Promethium must have offered him some sort of replacement. So maybe, just maybe, Maetel adopting Tetsuro’s mother’s (i.e. Faust’s wife’s) body was part of the bargain. A sacrifice on Promethium’s part, the image of Faust’s beloved in the figure of her daughter and heiress would guarantee his loyalty. Considering how noble-minded Faust and Maetel are, I doubt actual physical contact was demanded. Anyway, it’s just a theory!