If you’re a Steven Universe fan, you know by now just how heavily influenced it is by anime. From the link between Akira and the episode “Cat Fingers” to Amethyst’s Kindergarten being the cliff face from The Enigma of Amigara Fault, it’s obvious that the writers and animators behind the show are huge fans of anime and manga. Creator Rebecca Sugar even shared some of her own Utena fan art several years ago!
In recent episodes, we’ve met another huge (both literally and in terms of plot) character: Blue Diamond, one of the matriarchs of Homeworld. And anime fans noticed pretty quickly that she bore a striking resemblance to a certain someone.
Or, rather, a few certain someones.
Leiji Matsumoto, the creator of space operas like Galaxy Express 999 and Captain Harlock, definitely had a “type” when it came to women (at least in his art): tall, willowy, with billowing hair and huge, sad eyes. And while there are plenty of famous women in his works — like Queen Emeraldas to the left — Blue Diamond reminded many people of one in particular: Maetel, the mysterious adventuress of 999.
So other than a way to learn about yet another of Steven Universe‘s awesome references, what does Galaxy Express 999 hold for fans?
Well, if you like big-hearted kids helping other people, we’ve got you covered. The central character is Tetsuro Hoshino, a poor boy traveling to the other side of the universe with his mother to get a free mechanical body — the only way to survive the disease and poverty of his current time. After his mother is killed, he is befriended by Maetel, who joins him on his journey aboard the Galaxy Express 999. Along the way, the train makes day-stops on different worlds, where Tetsuro learns the plights of others and the truth of living with a mechanical body.
Rebecca Sugar has said that Matsumoto’s work influences her greatly, and it’s fairly easy to see how. The epic storylines of kids with big dreams, heroes with dark sides, villains with light sides, and plots that leave the viewer thinking. Matsumoto’s interlocking stories definitely contain all of this and more.
If this sounds like something you’d like, check out the film adaptation of Galaxy Express 999 right here on Viewster!