Galaxy Express 999: Eternal Fantasy is a 1998 film directed by Kōnosuke Uda with screenplay by Junki Takegami. It is the third film in the Galaxy Express 999 series.
Maetel has returned to Earth on the Galaxy Express 999, seeking to bring Tetsuro on board once again. She rescues him from imprisonment and he learns of a new threat: Metanoids. On their journey, they also encounter the Lady of Hell Knight, Helmazaria.
The film adapts the first chapters of the Galaxy Express 999 mangas "Eternal Edition", though altering some of the story.
The film was released to build up hype for a potential sequel in 1999, the "Year of 999". However, Eternal Fantasy was advertised to be much longer than it turned out to be (54 minutes), causing Toei Animation to receive many complaints. This in turn caused the film to massively underperform financially, totaling a box office result of 200 million yen compared to Toei's original target revenue of 700 million yen.
“Next stop is Earth!,” the conductor of the Galaxy Express 999 shouts. Layover will be for 24 hours. He asks Maetel if Earth is truly her destination. She confirms, saying that it is the destiny for her and Tetsuro. Back on Earth, a shackled Tetsuro weeps in front of a woman frozen in ice. A blast is fired, sending him back. He tries to place flowers on the ice, but his shackles send him back to his cell. A group of men and woman beat him up as punishment for attempting to escape. Tetsuro is then trapped, and a man asks him how he managed to escape. A voice tells him via electronic disassembly, and that Tetsuro’s punishment is the death penalty. In the reflection, the man notices something approaching the building. The Galaxy Express 999 crashes through the building! The conductor lassos Tetsuro onto the train and saves him.
The man looks at the ruined building, and tells a person standing in a knight’s armor that the boy was taken away on the 999. He begins to panic when he sees who it is, and tries to shoot at them when they turn their back. Tetsuro wakes up in Maetel’s arms, barely able to hold in tears. They embrace, and Tetsuro wonders if he’s dreaming. The Conductor says hello, and brings along a cat that was barely hanging on to the train. Tetsuro introduces Mii-kun, his companion. The Conductor is hesitant to allow a passenger who boarded illegally, but Maetel convinces him to allow it. More importantly, Tetsuro needs a haircut! Tetsuro has his hair cut to his old length, and Maetle presents him with his luggage, including his old hat. The luggage contains a Cosmo Dragoon, a warrior’s gun. Maetel places the flowers that Tetsuro had from before on the gun, making Tetsuro cry again. He says that she brought him water and food, and regrets that he could not free her from the ice.
Tetsuro says when he first returned to Earth, he assumed that mechanization would fade. But a new ruler came along with an unknown agenda. He fed the population, making the powerful seem like greedy pigs, and those who dared to resist were sent underground. Maetel says that his name is Bolkazanda III, responsible for the darkness in control of the colony. The power goes out in the 999 as they pass through a tunnel, and Tetsuro remembers that he met Clair the last time they went through. Clair herself walks out, much to Tetsuro’s surprise. Clair says that she was pieced back together by someone. Maetel says they will meet their person on their destination stop. The trio go to the locomotive room, and the conductor explains after the C62-48 upgrade, things changed. A woman named Kanon greets them. She and the locomotive are one in the same, as she shares its personification. She remembers Tetsuro well, saying the 999 does not forgot its clients. Kanon also gives Tetsuro a pass, and one for Mii-kun as well!
The 999 goes past Pluto as Maetel looks at her old body in tears. She thinks of her mother, Promethium, as well. The 999 departs, and she returns to the main car. The communication line between Galaxy Railways and the 999 is down, and Kanon says she might lose control. The Conductor says that they must stop to check for repairs. The 999 will now stop at Bright Ring Firefly.
Tetsuro and Maetel relax at a hotspring surrounded by fireflies. A young girl bring them food. She introduces herself as Iselle, the general manager of the resort. She already seems to know Tetsuros name. She says that she and her father are the only two workers, as visitors to the planet are rare. Iselle meets back with her father, and overhears a 3D hologram saying that Tetsuro and Maetel are highly-sought after criminals that should be reported to the agency immediately. Iselle’s father destroys the projection in anger. Iselle meets Tetsuro on a hill by himself, and he tells her of the planets he’s been able to visit. Tetsuro says that Iselle looks like the girl who took care of him on Earth. Mii-kun growls at something nearby, and Tetsuro follows the cat into the woods. He hides behind a tree, but a woman in knight’s armor tells him to come out, noticing that he travels with Maetel.
She strikes Tetsuro, knocking his gun away and holding him at gunpoint on the ground. Iselle chases after and tries to protect Tetsuro. The knight leaves, picking up her helmet and remarking that she will let him go because Tetsuro didn’t shoot her when she wasn’t looking. Tetsuro and Maetel return to the resort, and Maetel says that they’ve met Helmazaria. She decides that they should leave to not give Iselle and her father anymore trouble. Iselle brings Tetsuro a bento box to take during his travels, and the 999 leaves. From her ship Helmazaria sends a rocket to destroy Bright Ring Firefly. Tetsuro can only look on in horror as the planet is destroyed. The 999 must speed up to escape the debris. It seems to be too late, but blasts from another direction destroy the debris. The Arcadia, captained by Harlock arrives!
The Arcadia then engages in battle with Helmazaria’s ship, and a warning from the 999 says that Herlimon 3 invaders are arriving on the 999. They take a slimy shape and try to attack Tetsuro and Maetel. They self-destruct, taking apart several of the 999 cars. Tetsuro and Maetel are unharmed. Suddenly, Helmazaria appears above them! Tetsuro becomes angry at Helmazaria for destroying Bright Ring Firefly, and they engage in battle. She appears behind Maetel, and Tetsuro hits her directly, but he’s also hit, knocking him out. Helmazaria’s wound is fatal, and she tells Maetel to tell her son that she was killed by a will of iron. She falls out of the 999, drifting to death in space. Maetel sees an explosion where her body was. Tetsuro’s wounds are healed. A somber Conductor says that they just received word that the solar system is going to explode. Tetsuro says that something like that could never happen, but Maetel disagrees. Tetsuro cries that his dreams are all for nothing, but Harlock tells him that he’s here, and that the Earth is in his heart forever. Tetsuro looks at the bento box from Iselle and finds a message. He begins to cry, but Maetel asks him to show her his ticket. The destination is not longer Andromeda, but “Eternal”.
The next stop is Great Technologia!