Discotek aka Eastern Star has released Eternal Fantasy for the very first time in the US. Before this release, this movie was very rare outside Japan and for years, fans could only watch low quality versions without subtitles. Now at last, the final movie in Galaxy Express 999 series is available to fans and it meets expectations. It's also a standalond piece, set 1 year after the other works, so previous knowledge is not a necessity but is helpful.
Eternal Fntasy was released in 1998 and was one of the last productions to use Cel Animation. Although made in the late 90's, if you didn't know the production date, you would be forgiven for thinking it was made in the mid 80's. The animation is incredibly vivid and bright, there's not a single scratch, mark or grain on the entire print. The video is clearly using a remastered telecline print from an R2J DVD source and is in Progessive Scan and Widescreen Anamorphic. The audio is clearly remastered as well, as every sound is crystal clear and delivered to a perfect note. The orchestral score and music really shines through on this release.
Unlike the previous two movies Galaxy Express 999 and Adieu, there is no English dub available. Viz dubbed both movies in the 90's but never aquired the rights to this one so no dub exists for Discotek to use. This will give some fans, the oppurtunity to listen to the Japanese audio and voice actors and familiarise themselves with it before the TV series release by S'more Entertainment, which is coming in Novembe this yearr. It will also be Japanese with English subtitles only but I'm sure the low price point and the high episode point will encourage alot of people to take the plunge.
Eternal Fantasy has a interesting story although the pacing at the beginning was a little slow for my liking but that's just nitpicking, since this is typical Leiji Matsumoto material, emotional and psychological. Directed by Rhintaro who did the first two movies and other high budget movies like Dagger of Kamui, Phoenix: Karma Chapter (must see) and less known, more experimental pieces like the OVA's Take the X Train and Bride of Deimos. I would happily add this title to his list of achievements.
The middle to ending this movie really delivers, there's action, tension and lots of plot twists. I love the fact we get introduced to Captain Harlock, first his ship, then his actual character, as he offers help and words of inspiration. The ending was really spectacular and I wasn't expecting to enjoy it as much as I did, in many ways, it became classic Evangelion, lots of angst, more questions and cliffhangers rather than answers, hints of characters we don't get to see, also a suspected sequel. The space scenes were geting really epic, had an almost Legend of Galactic Heroes feel to it. I just wish there was more.