COVER TEXT ILLUSTRATION

@@Ginga Tetsudô 999 is a science-fiction manga created by Matsumoto Reiji (1938- ) suggested by Miyazawa Kenjifs novel Ginga Tetsudô no Yoru [Night of the Milky Way Railway]. It is a story about a boy who travels to Andromeda to obtain a machine body. Problems in adolescence such as the meaning of life, love, and eternity are explored. The age when people are losing humanity is described with a romantic touch and based on the senses of ordinary people.
@@The story begins on Earth where people live with machine bodies. People pay a lot of money to change their living body to machine in order to gain eternal life. Hoshino Tetsurô has living body. When his mother is killed by a machine man, he sets out on a journey to the universe. He gets on the Galaxy Express and tries to obtain a machine body free of charge. The Galaxy Express is bound for Andromeda. Tetsurô wanders about various stars with a mysterious woman, Maetel, who has helped him. The story is told in a series of short vignettes each explaining what happened in each incident, till Tetsurô reaches the terminal Andromeda. Tetsurô and Maetel visit actual planets and fictional celestial bodies, and meet various people. Gradually Tetsurô begins to doubt whether a machine body really leads to happiness. When they arrive at Andromeda, Tetsurô is nearly forced to be a screw, a tiny part of the star. He is saved with the help of Maetel. In the end, it becomes clear that Maetel was an illusion produced by Tetsurô, and she disappears.
@@Ginga Tetsudô 999 first appeared serially in the boyfs weekly comic magazine Shûkan Shônen Kingu [Weekly Boysf King] in 1977. According to Matsumoto, it was based on his sentimental experience in his late teens when he was taking a night train from Fukuoka to Tokyo. Images of life in a small lodging and downtown people are mixed with a fantastic and romantic description. Matsumotofs manga is mysterious and familiar at the same time.
@@It was made into a television animation in 1978, and an animation movie was made in 1979, 1981 and 1998. The first movie had especially great success and its theme song became very popular. Matsumoto received the Shogakukan Award for Manga in 1978 for the serialization and his gBattlefield Manga Series.h In 1988 Shogakukan published a treasured edition of Ginga Tetsudô 999. Shonengahosha published a pocket book edition in twelve volumes in 1994.