GE 999 Ultimate Journey Stop 2-1 (Happy 75th Birthday Sensei)
Mr. Leiji Matsumoto is 75 today. May he have a great day and a great year and great films this year though I haven’t heard any updates in a while 😦
For Ultimate Journey, I’m thinking maybe I’ll do these summaries by section and not by chapter a.k.a. stop. Each stop has got several sections and it just seems easier both for me to write and for you to read this way.
By the way, I wanted to comment on the authorship of this novel. If you look at the front cover of the book, on the second line you see Masaki Wachi credited as the Author. Wachi is apparently a scriptwriter and a light novelist. Most of his work has to do with the manga/anime world. He can write in a very engaging manner although he’s far too fond of two tactics. The first tactic is he’ll mention a character for the first time, then pause, repeat the character’s name, and give us an exciting bio on him/her. Here’s a mock example:
“And so blah blah blah blah blah then Emeraldas showed up. Emeraldas. The scourge of the seven seas. She was born on…”
I swear this pattern is used five times or more in the first 50 pages!
The other tactic is going back in time. I understand that telling events in a purely chronological fashion: A B C D E F gets boring, I do. But so far in the first 60 pages we’ve had a long section on Tetsuro, then going back in time to see what Maetel was up to, then going back to the present up to the time Layla and co. show up, and now Stop Two begins going back in time to what Layla was doing earlier. I’d rather he interspersed what was happening at the same time… We’ll see, maybe he’ll snap out of it.
Above Wachi’s name is of course Leiji Matsumoto’s. He’s credited as, I’m not making this up:
Creator of the original work, creator of the general setting, designer, supervisor
And it totally shows. Every page feels like Leiji. Come to think of it, maybe I shouldn’t be blaming Wachi for any peculiarities in the writing! Anyway, let’s go to the actual section.
We’re 12 hours before the chance meeting of the goddesses in Stop One. Galaxy Express 000 (a.k.a. Fortune) is approaching the planet Esmeralda. As we’ve learned, GE Commander Layla (with Chief Todo along for the ride) is on her way to announce the dissolution of all ties to the Machine Empire. Here we learn that Esmeralda is indeed the third most important machine planet (after Maetel and Andromeda) and that since both of those were destroyed it is currently the de facto Imperial capital.
COMMENT: This is a bit silly. A big element of the GE 999 story as it has developed over the decades, is that Queen LaAndromeda Promethium detests/rejects her oldest daughter Emeraldas to the point that she acts as if she never existed. It doesn’t make sense for her to have named a whole planet after Emeraldas, unless it was her horribly cruel way to mock her (since, you know, she misspelled the name as Esmeralda) 😀
The Fortune is escorted by the cream of the SDF: Sirius Platoon on Big One, Cepheus Platoon on Hiryu and Spica Platoon on Flame Swallow [Galaxy Railways fanboying time~]. The SDF defensive operation is under the control of Sirius Capt. Bulge, who is currently aboard the Fortune with Layla and Todo, and has left Killian Black in charge of Big One. OMG. Guy Lawrence (Cepheus Capt.) and Bulge actually joke about Killian’s incompetence..
Anyway, the plan is for Big One and Hiryu to be ready with their weapons to defend Fortune in case a firefight begins. Flame Swallow for its part (with Julia in command, will she ever find true love? we sure hope so) will be in charge of electronic warfare (viruses, radar stuff, who knows?) if there comes a need for it. As the fleet approaches Esmeralda, they can tell all of that planet’s weaponry is trained on them. Things are tense. Then, Spica picks up some ominous readings from the machine planet. It looks like Esmeralda is about to fire its cannons!
Bulge orders everyone to descend to the planet immediately, using the SDF emergency spiral formation, so picture to yourself all of these trains descending rapidly and almost 100% vertically in a spiral on a machine planet. I could watch this anime, you know~