The story begins on planet Destiny, which claimed to be where the center of the Universe is, where all the terminals of "The Galaxy Railways" are gathered. The main character, Yuuki Manabu (20 years old), carrying on his dead Father and Brother`s will, joined SDF (Space Defense Force) to protect the safety of the Galaxy Railways. SDF, in order to uphold the reputation of maintaining the best transportation schedules within the Universe, deals with accidents, natural disasters, rescue operations, space pirates along all lines of the railway. Layla Destiny Shura is a mysterious beauty unifying SDF and all lines on The Galaxy Railways.
She possesses the ability to see the destiny of planets, human beings and living things. Even though possessing such powers, she, being a "Guardian of Destiny", is unable to tell passengers leaving this station what difficulties lies ahead of them. However, appearances of those who uses evil powers to change the destinies of these travelers triggers another of her hidden ability. "Destiny is changed by the individual`s oneself. Tomorrow`s happiness is grabbed by the individual`s own hands." In what manner will Yuuki`s destiny be seen by Layla? And, how will Yuuki deal with his destiny amidst the greatest crisis approaching The Galaxy Railways?
It always surprises me when I find a series that approaches perfection. I just finished watching Galaxy Railways, and have to say, if you even remotely enjoy anime, it is easily worth your time to watch it. Obviously Matsumoto Leiji is legendary for Harlock and Galaxy Express, and if you've seen his work in the past, this isn't a huge departure from it. Contained is a relatively typical, but incredibly deep cast of characters, including the obligatory hair-covering-one-eye protagonist Manubu, his Harlock-resembling father, and the beady-eyes-popping-out-of-their-forheads old people that bother me to no end.
The story takes place in a futuristic-space setting where the usual spaceship fare has been traded in for space-travelling trains, some of which look like they could be from the future, and some have the old-school flair of a coal-powered locomotive. These trains are used to traverse people across the galaxy, and there is a military operation called the SDF that protects these people from all the unusual things that happen to the trains they are riding. Manubu happens to join this faction and the series follows the SDF and their escapades across space.
This is first-and-foremost a drama, you might feel yourself wanting to tear-up a couple of times. Aside from episode 19 (what's with episode 19?? 0_o) there is very little in the way of comedic relief. Despite that, you won't be crying yourself to sleep or anything. The main impression the series is constantly trying to get across to you is that grabbing a hold of your own destiny is possible with the right attitude.
Animation is excellent 99% of the time. There are a couple of spots that appear slightly rushed, although they are brief and barely worth mentioning. There is some CG, however it is mostly used on the trains and is well hidden using cell-shading techniques. It would have been nice to see the trains moving a bit more fluidly in some cases, however this isn't detrimental by any means.
My only other minor beef is episode 19, although I enjoyed it by its self, it doesn't fit in with the series at all. For those wondering, it's the overdone hot spring episode where half the girls introduced in the series show up and everyone suddenly digs Manabu, also interspersed with 1500% more comic relief. I'd love to know the story being this episode.
Anyway, if you have some time to burn, pick up this series, it should not disappoint, even if you're a somewhat jaded anime watcher like myself. read more
Critic's Log - Earthdate: August 30, 2012. Review #18: The Galaxy Railways
I love Space Operas, I have liked Space Operas since I was a kid back when I first laid my eyes on Star Wars, it was imaginitive and full of adventure, I'll admit that the Star Wars prequels are hit and miss. I also like Star Trek for nearly the same reasons, I also saw a little BSG, you know...Battlestar Galactica. A pretty good show but is fracking mind-boggling. I also like the short-lived TV show Firefly because it is awesome. What does this have anything to do with Anime? Well, there is a man named Leiji Matsumoto that is best-known for introducing The Space Opera into Anime form and some Otakus have seen his previous works and claimed that he brought classics such as Space Battleship Yamato (Star Blazers in the US), Galaxy Express 999 (999 is pronounced "Three-Nine"), and Captain Harlock. Most Otakus have dubbed that these animes are part of the Leiji-verse, and some people compare his work to Gene Roddenberry's Star Trek. Yeah, I think I can agree with that. I am going to start the engines into this review, Let's get all aboard...The Galaxy Railways!
In the distant future, the planets are connected with a massive railway system... Yes, that's right... Trains in Space. I have to admit that is kinda cool. I know Matsumoto-san did this with Galaxy Express 999, but Seriously, I'd like to see more modes of transportation fly into space in fictional terms, did anyone see the opening to the animated film "Heavy Metal"? It shows a car in space!
Yeah, a Car in Space...Freaking awesome, arguments invalid... I need to get back on topic, The passengers aboard these trains are protected by the Special Defense Force (SDF), and the Space Panzer Grenaiders (SPG). This is the tale of a young man named Manabu Yuuki, a member of the Sirius Platoon within the SDF. He and his crewmates meld together as a team through their encounters with criminals, meteors, hostile aliens, a time vortex, ghosts, and terrorists before defending mankind from its greatest peril yet.
To be technical, this is a spinoff of Leiji Matsumoto's Galaxy Express 999 (so a show about Trains in space was already done before this one came out), and this is a Studio Planet production, and Planet has not done many animes before and since The Galaxy Railways except for the sequel and OVA for this anime. I will give Studio Planet some credit that they have good character designs that people are familiar with that is part of the whole Leiji-verse, the character designs are mostly good but has some weird quirks, the animation has big problems. Get used to seeing a couple of short clips over and over and over. not only are there certain scenes recycled, the quality of the animation almost looks terrible. And that is blamed on some of the effects that are used in this anime. To make a long story short, It's BAD! I wish the animation was this show's only problem but it sadly isn't...
The music is mostly forgettable but the composer should at least get a few mentions, Nozomi Aoki has composed some of Matsumoto-san's works and also composed the music for Fist of the North Star (Hokuto no Ken). I don't see how that is relevant, but There are some songs I think aren't too bad but I could simply say that the soundtrack isn't listenable. The Opening and Closing Themes are sung by Isao Sasaki (which he was involved with Matsumoto-san's other works in the past). The opening is cheesy, and the closing theme is skippable
The Japanese cast is mostly good in this show but you might want to derail your hopes of expecting a good Dub here. The English Dub is not really that good. It's a real shame too because Voice actors like Chris Patton and Mike McFarland are in the dub but their voices do not fit the characters' personalities one bit. Everyone else is a bit off. If I were you, I'd stick with the subs on this one, it's ten times listenable than the dub. Chris Cason and Mike McFarland were in charge of ADR Direction in this show and this is very likely that this anime is Mike McFarland's low point in his ADR Directing career.
Another problem with this anime are the characters...Most of the characters are not developed too well and some of the characters are just flat out boring. Manabu is a nice young man, but he's kind of a boring protagonist to watch. I'll admit he cares about the welfare of others and he's not completely invincible which actually makes good traits for a good story, Manabu just doesn't change too much and he's almost the same until near the end of this season. Louise is alright and she at least deserves more development in her character. The same goes for Bulge, Bruce, David and Yuki. Bruce was a bit interesting until I found out he dies (DAMN IT!). the Character development really suffers in this show.
The big problem I had with The Galaxy Railways is its story. The story is slow, the story has some unoriginal storytelling. Parts of the story are far-fetched with ideas like the Ghost-Train episode and the episode "Twilight" (That episode really had a far-fetched twist near the end), and the worst of all...The direction of the story makes it feel like the show is going nowhere until the first season starts wrapping up... Let's face it... Yukio Nishimoto doesn't direct much anime and I guess this is one of the few animes he has directed.
Now I will be perfectly honest about this anime, this anime does not have to be at the same level of animes that are on the same level as Fullmetal Alchemist. This applys to most animes out there, there will be Masterpieces, there will be Excellent series, there will be classics, there will be some good ones, there will be some Decent ones, there will be some ok ones, and there will be crappy animes. Now here's a little fun fact about The Galaxy Railways... This anime aired on the same day or night as Fullmetal Alchemist did, they both aired in Japan on October 4, 2003 which is why I mentioned Fullmetal Alchemist earlier. Here's an other coincidence... Both shows had a fifth episode involving a train being hijacked that aired on the same day or night. These two anime are completely different from eachother. But If I were watching both back to back... I would be more interested in watching Fullmetal Alchemist for its storytelling, and characters rather than watch an anime about a Space Defense Force patrolling the Railways in Space that has a story with a slow pace and pointless direction with poor character development. Also, about that Star Trek comment I made in the intro of this review... If I really wanted to compare The Galaxy Railways to a specific Star Trek show... I compare The Galaxy Railways to Star Trek: Enterprise. Enterprise was the weakest Star Trek show besides the Animated Series and The Galaxy Railways is the weakest entry in the "Leiji-verse". I gave up watching this anime after 20 episodes... and I skipped to bits and pieces near the end and It just never got better for my tastes. Worst of all about all the wrap-up... The villian is only around for the last leg of this first season and the villian is one-dimensional and the villian does not save the show's problems at all... I almost find it hard to believe a second season was made and I sure as hell hope it's ten times better than this first season.
The Galaxy Railways is available from Funimation. The second season called "Crossroads to Eternity" has not been licensed as of yet although some people have expressed interest in seeing the second season, no word has been mentioned if Funimation will license Season Two or not. An OVA which is set inbetween the two seasons called "The Letter from the Abandoned Planet" also has not been licensed as of yet.
With that said, The Galaxy Railways had potential with its imaginative premise, even though it is a spinoff of Galaxy Express 999. it suffers with a slow story, poor character development, and animation that could have been ten times better if they had either the budget for it or having put a lot of effort into it. If you really like Leiji Matsumoto's stuff, By all means... Check this show out if you want. If you are just looking for an anime to watch. This one you might not want to hop aboard on...
I give The Galaxy Railways a 4.9 out of 10, it is NOT REALLY GOOD!
Feel free to leave a comment. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm gonna watch Heavy Metal, then watch some episodes of Star Trek and then watch Cowboy Bebop and Firefly so I don't have to think of this boring schlock of a poor excuse of a Space Opera. read more
I've watched many many anime to find the "one" with a great story, drama, and a hint of romance. The Galaxy Railways has all the things I was looking for. Interesting story, well developed characters. The setup is a bit unexpected, but it works! yes, flying trains maybe something not really of a sci-fi, but that is just the base ground to build up an interesting story around it. To anyone who looks for a bit serious anime, a conclusive ending, a hint of romance and some drama, I would definitely recommend to watch this anime. I wish there were more like this.
As soon as I saw the picture/cover art of this anime I immediately remembered those anime shows of the late 70s / early 80s namely, Captain Harlock, Galaxy Express 999 and all those other shows. Apparently they're all done by the same person, Leiji Matsumoto. Most of his stuff are pretty good but it doesn't mean that ALL of his works are good. I picked up this title because I like to watch dubs and this one a title that seemed interesting and it reminded me of those old Captain Harlock shows from when I was a kid. This show is....interesting, I wouldn't say it's overwhelmingly fantastic or anything but it's a nice change of pace to look at a different style of art compared to other types of anime.
I like the character design, the rest is pretty standard compared to other shows of it's time. I wouldn't say anything was particularly impressive, maybe what I like about it is that all the concepts are old-school however they are very much improved upon by the conveniences modern drawing techniques and technologies. The colors are nice, the shadings and blendings are done very well. Most of the background settings are well done and some of the locales appear very exotic. All the lights on the bridge and the LED diagrams have a fantastic glow and 3D effect to them that obviously would not have been available in any 70s anime.
This doesn't mean there aren't any flaws. To me, a lot of the time the characters look distorted or disproportionate. The animation is slow and choppy in some areas, you can see this during the fight scenes or when they're running, the movements seem kinda amateurish. The train sequences are all CGI so those look great.
I hate 70s anime music which is obviously what the OP and ED tracks were inspired by, it's always some old dude with his warbling voice with a lot of brass in the background, But for some reason, I was OK with the OP maybe because it was upbeat or because I could tell the music was modern or at least digitally processed and recorded and the singer didn't seem to be overdoing it. However I can't say the same for the ED theme, that one did kinda get to me by the 3rd time I heard it, so I skipped it. The English dub was quite good, no one sounded hokey or went over-the-top with the acting...can't say the same thing about the narrator tho! He sounded creepy as hell, he sounded a lot like one of those narrators from those old horror TV series like Twilight Zone or Tales from the Darkside which made the tone of the series even darker and more depressing.
If somebody asked me what this show was about, I would probably say it's about flying trains because that's the first thing that comes to mind. Can't blame me tho, that is the main, constant imagery used throughout the series. Beyond that there really isn't any one main story or theme. Some might disagree and say it's about Manabu, and to others who want to philosophical about it, they might say it's about man's ability to deal with death, grief, loss and overcoming one's "destiny". Both would be a true statement.
Most of the stories in this series are told in an “Adventure-of-the-Week” style with each story having it's own resolution by the end of the episode. The stories are pretty straight-forward and simple, they're mainly about various rescue missions and some side stories. But it's not like the characters don't get to grow or develop, each story does give a little insight about a character so I would say that the stories do have some purpose, they aren't just totally random “Family Guy” type episodes.
One thing that took me by surprise about this series is the level of fantasy in these stories, maybe because I've seen that it tagged as “SCI-FI” on some sites including MAL. But I would say this is more like a fantasy series so much so, that some stories almost have a nightmarish element to them: flying trains, ghosts, aliens, monsters that don't die when you shoot them, black knights on horseback chasing you down dark alleyways, Grim Reapers etc.
I assumed the series was completely Sci-Fi, more along the lines GUNDAM, MACROSS or even Old-School Captain Harlock that had more to do with politics, spaceships and battles and less to do with spirits, ghosts, faeries and the like.....not that it was a bad thing, I just didn't expect all of that. This show has a lot of ghosts, but I'll venture to say that even though the ghosts and spirits in the show are supposedly “real”, they probably served as some kind of symbolism for the characters' dealing with “loss” and “grief”. It's definitely not supposed to be taken as a Scooby-Doo mystery. If you do get bored of all the rescue stories, this do get exciting after episode 20 way more exciting, even the art seems to look a little better!
A good chunk of the characters you meet in this series are melancholy. They all have some kind of past that involves death and grieving so I would say be prepared to deal with that. Most of the stories are centered around the main guy, Manabu, I like him but at the same time he gets on my nerves a little bit. He's way too impulsive and emotional, I'm not saying he should embrace every rule but in almost every episode he HAS to do something in complete defiance of regulation or reason...he just HAS to!!! It's like whoa dude, not everything is about you, I'm sure if you shut up and sit down the captain and the other crew members can solve the issue too! Another character that kinda irks me is Shura AKA “Blue Crystal Ball Chic” all she does throughout the whole series is stand perched over that swirly blue orb and shed that sad-ass single teardrop. OK yeah maybe you see her two or three other times doing something else...like rolling around on the ground and such but that's what you mainly see her doing. All the while wearing her blue swimsuit and tassels, yet she is the Supreme Commander of the SDF? LOL yeah, that's how you know this shit is fantasy and not sci-fi, there's no bikini-clad Supreme Commanders in Gundam or ROBOTECH, not even the comedy ones. Beyond that all the other characters are pretty normal and cool...well, I guess I would still like to know what a sexaroid is? Is that a 6th generation android or just some kind of hooker robot?
I've always liked Leiji Matsumoto's character designs, the boys with mop-topped 70s hair and the girls with never-ending tresses and super long lashes. The body types in this series are a little fuller, especially the men, compared to his earlier designs. of course this isn't everyone in the series but most of them looked that way, I also love the high-collared uniforms of the SDF...this is also another one of his “signature looks”
This was a pretty good show, by the end I would even say it was awesome. I'll admit I underestimated this series, I was never bored watching it but in the beginning with all the ghosts and rescue missions I simply looked at it as a mediocre series, sometimes even depressing. It wasn't until after episode 20/21 that I changed my opinion and got really into it. Overall I would still say this is a sad anime but it's not mediocre at all.read more