22 August 2002 | BrianDanaCamp
GALAXY EXPRESS 999 movie short retells classic episode
GALAXY EXPRESS 999: "CLAIRE OF GLASS" (aka "Glass Claire," 1980) was a theatrically released anime movie short that retold the third episode of Leiji Matsumoto's "Galaxy Express 999" TV series, a tragic encounter that was also dramatized in a sequence of the feature-length movie spin-off, GALAXY EXPRESS 999 (1979). In the short, young Tetsuro, who is riding the intergalactic train of the title with his elegant older companion, Maetel, becomes smitten with a waitress in the dining car named Claire. In this future era where humans cast off their human bodies for machine ones, Claire occupies a perfectly proportioned, blueish clear glass (nude) body. Tetsuro gazes at her admiringly and tells her of his dream to get a machine body and go back to Earth and help all the poor children get machine bodies. However, Claire only got the glass body to please her vain mother and desperately wishes for her human body back.
When the train passes through an asteroid tunnel and the lights go out, some sort of demonic entity, emerging from a dimensional warp, takes the appearance of Tetsuro's murdered mother and tries to pull him with her out of the train window. Only the intervention of Claire, whose body glows gold in the dark, can save Tetsuro.
It's a beautifully animated little tale, clearly one of the most resonant of the "Galaxy Express" stories, but at 16 minutes (opening and closing credits included), it's just too short. Something this good could at least have been as long as the (already wonderful) TV episode.