Based on the manga created and illustrated by Leiji Matsumoto, Galaxy Express 999 debuted on 14th September 1978 and ran for 113 episodes, with the finale originally broadcast on 26th March 1981.
The series follows a poor ten-year-old named Tetsuro Hoshino who desperately wants an indestructible machine body that will give him the ability to live forever and live his life how he would want. Unfortunately machine bodies are very impossibly expensive, but soon Tetsuro discovers that machine bodies are 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!
In order to pay for tickets to get on Galaxy Express 999, Tetsuro and his mother travel to Megalopolis where they hope to get jobs. Unfortunately they encounter Count Mecha and a gang of “human hunters” who kill Tetsuro’s mother.
Moments before he death she instructs Tetsuro to continue the journey they started, and to get a machine body to live the eternal life she couldn’t provide for him. Tetsuro tries to continue alone but is wiped by the brutal cold and wind. He cries out an apology to his mother for failing to fulfil her wish, and hopes that in his next life he will be born as a robot to begin with!
Later Tetsuro awakens 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 Galaxy Express 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 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 Galaxy Express 999…