This is a movie where I think the history behind it is much more interesting than the movie itself. Let’s think of the time period that it came out for starters. This movie came out in 1980 and that was the great year of a lot of the larger science anime and media was in full swing. That was when Daltanious, Gundam 0079, and so many other anime series came out. It’s kind of crazy to think about isn’t it? Especially since this took the place of a collaboration series of Cyborg 009 where Toei and Sunrise were supposed to work together to just work on the 79 series. Sunrise Pulled out of it and in 1980, this movie appeared instead by Toei itself.
And yeah, this is Cyborg 009 with its heroes in space. Something is rather unique for Cyborg 009. According to my watching of the 2001 series, they have all encountered aliens before, but never space travel. So even the ground bearing people took to the stars just like literally everything in the beginning of that decade. Space was in fashion in the 1970’s, but the success of Space Battleship Yamato really kicked everything into that gear. Honestly, good. Everything should go to space at some point. I wasn’t alive then, but I miss the era when anime just went into space. I could watch those shows forever.
The Story of Super Galaxy
This is a series that starts with the cyborgs currently in retirement. Each cyborg is happily living out their dreams with Professor Gilmore and baby 001 living in a lab with a man named professor cosmo. A man who recently discovered this huge amount of power in far off space called the vortex. Something which Gilmore wants nothing to do, but the show won’t let them rest. A villain named Zoa, who wants to take over the entire universe, is heading for Earth and wants to destroy it. That leads to the cyborgs moving out of retirement like every 80’s action movie and going on yet another mission.
Through that attack and invasion which were barely held off, they meet an alien boy name Saba who had his dad, Dr. Corbin. So basically, the cyborgs decide to travel through space to the vortex and who knows where in order to get Dr. Corbin back. It is pretty standard space adventure stuff with visiting different planets for different reasons and then facing the biggest threat that they have ever faced ever since defeating literal greek gods. Plus, the gang’s back together again for yet another time here. So in that essence, the idea of this film is pretty incredible. In execution, well, that’s a different story.
A Mismatched Execution
It feels weird for me to say this, but The Legend of Super Galaxy is very much like Star Trek: The Motion Picture in its execution of pacing and tone. You know a franchise that has some really cool action adventure stuff that would work so well in a Star Wars sort of environment doesn’t work as well as it could like that. There are some really cool moments of seeing a space jump occurring, but the pacing behind this is really slow. Now being slow isn’t exactly a bad thing, but it is when it feels like padding. Star Trek: The Motion Picture didn’t do that because it let the scenery do most of the talking. This film was full of exposition that didn’t have to be there.
So yeah, it already is a lacking sort of execution with nothing hitting as hard as they could. Even seeing cool planets and environments. Then there are the facts of the ending not having any sort of weight at all. Or a final battle that could have been cool, but ended up being a wash out because of space magic. There are just so many off putting ideas and details put into The Legend of the Super Galaxy that slowly build up these flaws as it goes along. A really great idea in general here that could have worked so much better but just couldn’t. A lot like a road trip in which the weaker things in the beginning and suddenly you hit road construction.
I hate the way 003 and 009 interact in this film. From all the Cyborg 009 stuff that I watched, I know that 003 and 009 have a thing for each other. They have great chemistry and just love each other too. But in this film 009 wanted 003 to stay behind on Earth and its so dumb. Especially since 003 is the only female member of these cyborg warriors and her abilities are useful. That old romantic trope of people wanting their loved loves to stay home and stay safe and I’m glad that 003 went along. I just wish there wasn’t a time where there wasn’t a strange interaction between 009 and a woman on a planet because 003 was right there man. She’s hot.
Then there are the old sorts of characterizations and weird/stereotypical choices that just don’t work well at all. I hate the way 006 was just the stereotypical cook while in the 2001 series, he was so much more than that. That’s like only one sort of example of all of this here. Or we could talk about 003 getting focus in the end in weird ways when he was nonexistent in the film at all. I do like 008’s design compared to how he was from what I’ve seen in the manga and it’s much better, plus he’s such a bad ass. Even compared to the 2001 series he was a bad ass. But I think the 2001 series was such a great update of the series in the best ways for the most part.
Final Thoughts on The Legend of the Super Galaxy
Visually, this film is pretty good. Some really good character designs, great scenery, good bits of action, and great bits of action for it here too. I loved seeing some really good space battles and some really good evocative space designs. Something which made sense back then when they happened all the time, but there was no stock footage. It was so much fun seeing and great planetary ideas and places for it too. I wish there wasn’t a claustrophobic fight against a giant monster because it wasn’t put in a way that was understandable at all. Maybe the point? I don’t care regardless.
As for my final thoughts, you know what they are. It’s an ok film. Still watchable and enjoyable in seeing more cyborg 009 in an environment that you wouldn’t have seen before either here. There are good things going on here too, but the most mediocre thing around those things which makes it a very forgettable watch here too. Not sure what else to say here too as well. But there we go.
I’ve only seen a few episodes of the 2001 Cyborg 009 series, but it might be fun to watch a movie showing what inspired the later series!
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