I found this in Hulu. I decided to watch it with no understanding of context and give a running commentary. Enjoy.
OK, we're starting this off right. We are immediately presented with the baffling logo for what I can only presume is the production company for this particular piece of Japanonsense: a starry background, glimpsed briefly, as we see a cartoon cat's head, grinning widely and toothlessly in the way only the severely, blissfully retarded can. Said horrifying cat has something on or about its head. Perhaps an old fashioned floppy hat. It also has some mysterious business around the back of the head. Perhaps a friendly waving paw? Or maybe a feather from his hat? Or maybe a piece of the cat's spine, still jutting out from the gaping, unseen decapitation wound? Ah, no answer, for as soon as the ghoulish feline visage appears, it is gone again, leaving only unanswered questions and subconscious nightmare cues.
The Galaxy Express, I presume, mere moments from demise as it is sure to plummet from these unfinished tracks, killing many in the city below. Remember, kids, Japanese cities are made of wood and paper, and are thusly not particularly resistant to multi-ton falling metal anacrhonisms. OH SHIT THE TRAIN CAN FLY.
Not only within the atmosphere of Earth, we see, but also out into the soulless void of space. The title begins to make some small amount of sense--at least, when I ignore the fact that I am currently seeing a train, smoke billowing forth, press onward into the uncharted heavens. A male Japanese voice sings to me as the eponymous vehicular abomination cruises through asteroids and around the moon. Perhaps he is trying to explain to me why any of this is happening.
Now there are more trains flying around like prog rock album covers, whistling and leaving glittery comet tails, making me wonder: if they are designed to function in the vacuum of space via their own propulsion, why do they need so many wheels? The credits end, the singing Japanese man has failed to make me understand. I am afraid.
The show begins, and we are informed that it is 2221 AD, and though "great advances have been made," we are still using technology that is, in this narrative, roughly four hundred years old.
Ah! Megalopolis, joining its sister cities Metropolis, Citytown, and Location USA. Also, how can something be "extremely modern"?
As the narrator babbles about temperature control, a long-haired woman turns around and waves, revealing a terrible robot John Lennon face with a glowing hole in the forehead. This, I imagine, is what will come for Mark David Chapman when he dies. The back of her knees also share the same unholy orifice. The narrator says that the wealthy trade their bodies for mechanical ones, which beats my habit of trading my body for money.
The poor of Megalopolis live in a green wire frame and rubble hellscape where shirts have been uninvented and dream of the mythical (perhaps?) GALAXY EXPRESS 999 that can take them to get a free robot body or something. They look skyward in either hope of the hallucinogenic spasms of their decaying brains. This it the American Dream.
A mother and child walking through the winter wastes--how did such a dainty frame birth such an abnormally large head? I bet she's just a mess down there. Ruined. Destroyed. It becomes clear that she is trying to get her hydrocephalic monster child onto the possibly mythical train--thus proving the unfortunate genetic factor in cases of mental disability. Their brief moment of warmth and laughter is shattered by the senseless and horrific violence that runs like a rhythm through Japanese children's programming. While my mind tries to comprehend the idea of cyborgs on horseback, the mother of the water-headed ape child is murdered--and, we discover, she was naked under her coat. We are less than ten minutes in and a dead mother has been sexualized. I am unsure if I will last the full 25. It also occurs to me that, really, hunting a woman and child for sport in an open field can't be much fun at all.
The child is saved by a blonde white woman who lives alone in the forbidding, violence-filled wasteland, who seems to busy herself solely with spying on suffering travelers while withholding aid. A deviant such as herself, I imagine her cruelty orgasms are prolonged and unsettling. Her relationship with the child is immediately inappropriate. The child angrily breaks his host's china and makes demands. The pervert-woman saves his life, then offers him his entire life's desire (a pass on the magical space train!) and he behaves like a stripper's boyfriend. Deformed and ungrateful. In my day just one of those was enough to get a child left outside the city gates to be eaten by wild dogs.
As you contemplate the child's rudeness, don't miss how he trembles with an adorable rage, then grabs a rifle to go slaughter his enemies. The horrible blond woman does nothing to stop him, even though the child is either going to be brutally killed, commit several acts of murder, or both.
The ad bumps are inscrutable and disturbing.
The evil cyclops discusses the taxidermy of the mother when the hydrocephalic hero bursts in and mows them down. The head cyborg begs for his life, and the boy brutally beats his head in with the rifle butt, then torches the place. The protagonist becomes a child murderer. Not a murderer of children, but a child who has murdered. That, I think, is somehow worse.
The police chase him because he is a murderer. He is rescued again by his blonde benefactor who probably became familiar with his bathing suit area while he was unconscious.
In the city the child stares cheerily out the window, reflecting on his status as the angel of death. The blond woman is taking a shower and talking to someone with a male voice, and the child (confused and probably aroused) chooses to investigate. Oh, no, there's no man in there. Just a naked, showering, adult female who doesn't seem shamed at all to be in this situation.
The police arrive! The woman is immediately in her coat, apparently taking a free-balling lesson from the mongoloid's dead mother. They escape and fly over cartoon Auschwitz.
I am less amazed by the final revelation of the space train than I am by the apparent fact that Megalopolis seems to have no residents besides the poor naked people, the two protagonists, and the two cops that chased them. No, wait, the fact that a steam locomotive with opening windows is still somehow spaceworthy is pretty amazing.
The line "The next time you see it, it might not be with human eyes" makes me want to read my children Lovecraft bedtime stories.
MIND BOGGLING END CREDITS IMAGERY!
GALAXY EXPRESS 999!
(Preview footage of the next episode: a dead girl in a hole on Mars and more child gunplay)