銀河鉄道999 -Galaxy Express 999-Bunkobon

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An impoverished ten-year-old named Tetsuro Hoshino desperately wants an indestructible machine body, giving him the ability to live forever and have the freedom that the unmechanized don’t have. While machine bodies are impossibly expensive, they are supposedly given away for free in the Andromeda galaxy, the end of the line for the Galaxy Express 999, a space train that only comes to Earth once a year.

The series begins with Tetsuro and his mother making their way to Megalopolis where they hope to get jobs to pay for passes for the 999. Along the way, however, Count Mecha and a gang of “human hunters” kill Tetsuro’s mother. Before she dies, she tells him to continue the journey they started, and to get a machine body to live the eternal life she couldn’t. Tetsuro tries to forge on toward the city alone, but is quickly overcome by the brutal cold and wind. As he succumbs, he cries out an apology to his mother for failing to fulfill her wish, and hopes that in his next life he will be born as a robot to begin with.

Tetsuro is surprised to awaken by the fireplace in the home of a beautiful woman, Maetel, who is the spitting image of his dead mother. Maetel tells him she had heard the entire incident with a long-range directional microphone she had been idly scanning around the area with. Maetel offers him an unlimited use pass for the 999 if he will be her traveling companion, to which Tetsuro agrees. She provides him with a gun and directs him to the Count’s residence, telling him that the Count and his henchmen will be too distracted with their revelries to defend themselves against a surprise attack. Tetsuro bursts in on them in their meeting hall and cuts them down with a spray of gunfire. With the Earth police in hot pursuit, Tetsuro and Maetel flee the planet aboard the 999.

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