While his heyday predates anime’s big break in the English-speaking world, manga artist Leiji Matsumoto is still the creator of some of the medium’s earliest titles to be translated into English, including Space Battleship Yamato (known overseas as Starblazers) and Captain Harlock.
One of Matsumoto’s most enduring hits is Galaxy Express 999 (pronounced “three nine”). It’s been entertaining fans for decades, and now true devotes of the epic sci-fi odyssey can further their ambitions to eat, sleep, and breathe 999 by spending the night in a special anime-themed room at a luxury hotel in the middle of Tokyo Bay.
Matsumoto’s tale of a young man taking on a train on a journey to the stars began its comic serialization in manga anthology Shonen King way back in 1977. In the decades since, audiences have watched as protagonist Tetsuro’s quest for the machine body he needs to avenge his mother has spread to TV and feature film anime adaptations, with the most recent anime incarnation finishing its broadcast run in 2005.
This spring, the upmarket Hotel Grand Pacific Le Daiba will be decking out one of its guest rooms with special Galaxy Express 999 artwork and decorations.
Featured prominently is Maetel, the flaxen-haired maternal yet mysterious beauty who accompanies Tetsuro on his travels through space. Maetel is one of Japan’s most revered leading ladies of anime, and the calm, reassuring atmosphere provided by her presence if bolstered further still by the celestial patterns painted on the room’s ceiling.
The guest room also features a recreation of the box seat Tetsuro and Maetel sit in while riding the interstellar locomotive, along with the Hotel Grand Pacific Le Daiba’s standard array of luxurious appointments.
In the past, the hotel has offered special rooms modeled after the anime worlds of Gundam and Matsumoto’s own Captain Harlock, but the Galaxy Express guestroom is a first. Travelers can make reservations for it starting on March 5, with March 20 being the first night the room is available for guests to stay in, and June 30 the last.
In keeping with the Japanese hotel industry’s practice of quoting rates by person as opposed to room, the Galaxy Express 999 room is priced at 29,000 yen (US$282) per person when two guests are staying, and 24,000 yen per person for triple occupancy, bringing the totals to 58,000 and 72,000 yen per night, respectively, for the same room. Hardly budget accommodation, but accounting for the fact that some Galaxy Express fans have had 37 years to save up for this opportunity, we doubt the hotel will have any trouble filling vacancies for its one and only 999 room.
If hotel rooms based on anime and manga are your thing, be sure to check out our feature on 21 of Japan’s best themed hotel rooms.