GE 999 024-026 : Battle of the Queens
The Galaxy Express falls prey to the Queen of the Dimensional Travel Planet.
Though the name of the Queen is unexpected and funny (Egoterina, obviously a portmanteau of Ego and the Russian name Ekaterina) the antagonist in this episode is very generic in Leijiversal terms.
Matriarchies abound in the Leijiverse. The most fearsome races (the Mazone, the LaMetalians, the Metanoids) are all ruled by Queens. Galaxy Express 999 itself is, politically speaking, the chronicle of a power struggle between the Queen of LaMetal and her two daughters (one of who, Emeraldas, plays a very small role due to her inability to get her hands dirty in the fight).
The most significant difference between the anime and the manga here is that in the manga, instead of fighting Queen Egoterina from the train until the carriage gets blown up, Maetel and Tetsuro decide to ignore her and have a meal…until the Queen is so annoyed she blows the carriage up.
The reason this was changed in the anime is likely the fact that we had pretty much the same “let’s eat before meeting the enemy” scene back in episode 22. It would have been too boring to repeat this so soon… This wasn’t a problem in the manga because there the Egoterina chapter appeared several chapters after the Emeraldas one (i.e. the equivalent of episode 22). It’s a good example of how the fact that the anime rearranged the manga chapters had an effect on the TV content.
This episode looks very conventional early on but it suddenly goes odd in many different ways. The 999 lands on Masspron, a planet whose inhabitants are obsessed with manufacturing things. The name of the planet makes that clear, playing off the Japanese business slang word “masspro” (short for “mass production”). Obviously the planet is going down the tubes environmentally so a group of naturalists led by a woman called Chromaria are fighting the authorities.
Things get wacky when we find out these rebels are essentially eco-terrorists. They blow things up without compunction (as long as they’re made of metal, I imagine). Throughout the entire episode Chromaria and gang are portrayed in a positive light even though they are so destructive. Then again, Maetel is a certified Destroyer of Worlds so it takes one to know one.
Chromaria’s people end up hijacking the train, and here we’re surprised again. The Conductor is so scared he literally puts Tetsuro in front of him, trying to use him as a shield. So far in this show we’ve gotten to know that the Conductor is not the bravest of fellows, but only now do we realize he can be this dirty…wow!! (BTW, the Conductor does not d0 this in the manga)
By the end of the episode one starts wondering if the anti-air attack the 999 suffered at the beginning of the episode (as it was about to land on Masspron) was not in fact caused by those eco-terrorists. It makes sense to weaken the authorities in Masspron by firing on interstellar transportation, since the main motivation of the Masspronians seems to be selling their manufactured goods in other planets.
Another morally reprehensible tale. Tetsuro and Maetel side with a man who avenges himself on an ungrateful ex-girlfriend by killing her along with the new boyfriend.
Question # 1: What on earth is Maetel’s business on every planet?
It seems like as soon as she checks into a hotel she has to go out and take care of business. From the beginning my best guess is related to the next question.
Question # 2: How come Tetsuro always does the opposite of what adults tell him?
This one’s easier. He’s a naughty boy. Maetel knows it, and the only “business” she has is to leave Tetsuro to allow him to be naughty as he pleases. This is all part of Tetsuro’s training. It’s always a risky business, since the enemies are not actors and the boy is often in very real danger, but it seems like it’s necessary that Maetel have Tetsuro train like this before they reach Andromeda. Whether this is Maetel’s own idea (against Promethium) or whether this is actually what Promethium wants Maetel to do is unclear. My sense is that both are true.
The gimmick of this episode (i.e. the notion that Horohoro is so drained by his unrequited love that his flesh and bones fall away) is extremely peculiar for GE 999 because there is no way to frame it in sci fi terms. In that sense, I can’t recall ever seeing an episode that resembled so much a fairy tale as this one.
It’s a pity that the TV episode cut out Maetel’s explanation for why the planet is called “Planet that Sings Yesterday’s Songs”. According to the manga the winds running through the holes in the planet make a sad sound as if it were singing some melancholy tune. Maybe Paul McCartney’s??