Though I’ve not watched Starblazers for 20 years, DNA Sights 999.9 is decent, if you’re into that dramatic “space opera” stuff. Matsumoto is saved from charges of self-plagiarism partly due to his gifts as a writer and partly due to the relative incompetence of his younger storytelling rivals. The space opera format may be dated in the Evangelion era, but Matsumoto writes space opera better than anyone else today. The pacing, drama, humorous asides, and humanity of his films put George Lucas’ overblown Star Wars epics to shame.
Sometime in the future, asteroids decide to hit the earth. Why? You ask. Well, because they bounced off of some other planet and hit OURS. The Earth was left in utter stupidity and our evolutionary scale went down the drain. Before the people could totally recover, a military force called the “Traders” kept them in line and bossed them around, keeping the population from evolving any more. A boy named Daiba meets up with a woman named Mello. She came to Earth from her planet in a blue meteor-type light. She wants to help Daiba and his people, but he doesn’t seem to believe her. He yells at her and asks her what she wants, because he is not being affected by her blue-meteor-flame-light that she is emitting. Traders see what’s going on and capture him.
I wouldn’t call DNA Sights 999.9 a complete disappointment, but it’s not exactly a success, either. Like much of his works, it’s set in an indeterminate future time. Matsumoto loves disasters, and this time, the earth suffers from the impact of a huge meteor. In the wake of the destruction, a group called the Trader Force sets up a virtual dictatorship on earth. On a distant world, a young woman (who strongly resembles all Matsumoto women– willowy, with impossibly long blonde hair) is charged with going to earth to help the planet resolve its crisis. Startlingly, she leaps up and soars off into space, unaided. Back on earth, we join a young man (who resembles all Matsumoto young men– scrawny and constantly glowering) named Tetsuro Daiba. He lost his home and his mother to the meteor (and thusly has Mommy Issues, another Matsumoto staple), but he makes ends meet by running errands for Dr. Shimaoka and his assistant, Moriki. Daiba is understandably bitter, but seems resigned to helping the good-natured doctorrebuild the neighborhood. Then he meets the girl from space. Her name’s Mello; she descends as if riding a meteor, and she only appears to him fleetingly. The Trader Force quickly arrives to investigate, and takes Daiba into custody. But he escapes, and discovers that he somehow remembers how to fly the Trader Force fighter that he steals.
The assistance of a strong-willed girl named Rei Yuki aids in his escape, and then he goes underground with none other than the good doctor, who turns out to be a professor in charge of an organization that seeks nothing less than the liberation of earth. There’s a lot more where that came from– in a nutshell, DNA Sights 999.9’s story revolves around the concept of genetic memory, but it all comes off as a bit confused (another Matsumoto staple). The villain of the story is, of course, the head of the Trader Force– named Fouton, she herself is an alien, and seems to know quite a bit about Mello and her mission to earth. Mello tells a disbelieving Daiba and Yuki that they’re humandkind’s next step in evolution, and must leave for the stars to save earth (hey, another Matsumoto staple!)– but will they be able to escape Fouton and the Trader Force in time? Honestly, I got the impression that whoever bankrolled this project just got the idea that if they took all of the usual Matsumoto ingredients and mashed them together, they’d have a good story. I have no doubt that DNA Sights 999.9 was popular in Japan, but that still doesn’t make for a story that’s compelling or even interesting.