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Galaxy Express 999: Eternal Traveler Emeraldas (1980)

Ginga tetsudô Three-Nine: Eien no tabibito Emeraldas (original title)
Recounting the historic meeting of two of series creator Leiji Matsumoto's most striking heroines, Maetel and Emeraldas. Maetel is the black-clad traveling companion of the young hero, ... See full summary »

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Credited cast:
Masako Ikeda ...
Maetel (voice)
Masako Nozawa ...
Reiko Tajima ...
Queen Emeraldas (voice)
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Recounting the historic meeting of two of series creator Leiji Matsumoto's most striking heroines, Maetel and Emeraldas. Maetel is the black-clad traveling companion of the young hero, Tetsuro, while Emeraldas is a dashing pirate queen more familiar to fans of the "Captain Harlock" series. Here the two are seen in flashback, squaring off for a fencing match, Maetel in her long black coat, boots and fur cap and Emeraldas in her red jacket, red cloak and boots and white pants, both with long, flowing blond hair. The bulk of the story-line focuses on what happens when Emeraldas' ship forces the Galaxy Express to a stop on a remote planet and takes Maetel and Tetsuro prisoner for a nefarious operation designed, we are told, to put Maetel's mind into Emeraldas' body. Tetsuro takes it upon himself to get to the bottom of it.

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Animation | Sci-Fi

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GALAXY EXPRESS 999 TV special highlights 2 stunning heroines
13 July 2002 | by (Bronx, NY) – See all my reviews

"The Eternal Voyager, Emeraldas" (1980) is a 48-minute TV special spun off from episode no. 22 of the long-running Japanese animated TV series, "Galaxy Express 999," recounting the historic meeting of two of series creator Leiji Matsumoto's most striking heroines, Maetel and Emeraldas. Maetel is the black-clad traveling companion of the young hero, Tetsuro, while Emeraldas is a dashing pirate queen more familiar to fans of the "Captain Harlock" series. Here the two are seen in flashback, squaring off for a fencing match, Maetel in her long black coat, boots and fur cap and Emeraldas in her red jacket, red cloak and boots and white pants, both with long, flowing blond hair. The bulk of the storyline focuses on what happens when Emeraldas' ship forces the Galaxy Express to a stop on a remote planet and takes Maetel and Tetsuro prisoner for a nefarious operation designed, we are told, to put Maetel's mind into Emeraldas' body. Tetsuro takes it upon himself to get to the bottom of it.

Creator Leiji Matsumoto ("Space Battleship Yamato," "Captain Harlock," "Queen Millennia," etc.) was strongly influenced by American comic books and European movies. His works generally boasted the visual look of the former and the sensibility and mood of the latter. They featured the strong lines, bright colors and technical detail of the American comics, but the mood was very melancholic, with overcast skies on the various planets the characters visited and a general malaise afflicting a universe where humans are rapidly being outranked and outmaneuvered by machine people. The heroines, tall, slender, with long, long hair and sad, serious expressions (and eyelashes that went past their hairlines) were based on actresses Matsumoto had seen in postwar French films. The story is told in a more European manner, with multiple flashbacks and subjective sequences. We see certain past events from two different viewpoints, those of Maetel and Emeraldas. There is more to the relationship of these two than we originally knew, lending a poignant emotional subtext to the proceedings. The romantic streak that infuses so much of Matsumoto's work is only enhanced by this mode of storytelling.

This is quite an accomplished work, with spectacular visuals and an amazing amount of detail in the technical animation (as seen in the galaxy-hopping train of the title and Emeraldas' space ship), all the more remarkable when one remembers that this was all hand-drawn artwork done on a TV deadline.


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