31 December 2008 | ChungMo
Dramatic sci-fi anime from Matsumoto
An off-shoot of the Galaxy Express franchise, Galaxy Railways tells of the adventures of "Big One", a space battle train that provides assistance to passenger space trains in distress. If you are not familiar with Galaxy Express, this is a sci-fi universe where humans travel about by flying trains. Much like Matsumoto's other projects over the decades, boats, zeppelins, and trains fly around the universe. If this seems strange, it goes along with Matsumoto's old fashioned romanticism. Personal drama and philosophy are heavy in this series although not as much as in Space Pirate Harlock or the Galaxy express series.
The series revolves a young man Manabu whose father and older brother have died in the service of the railways battling space pirates. Headstrong, with a nearly blind need to rescue people, Manabu runs into continual conflict with his superiors. This is the strongest part of the show with the great art direction and the good animation.
Unfortunately the individual plots have large holes in them and are sometimes laughable. One episode has the cast casually interacting with ghosts as if they do it everyday. Another episode the crew leaves the battle train virtually unguarded with unlocked doors and it gets stolen by pirates! Each episode has a passenger train either blown up or put into incredible peril. One episode shows several trains and a gigantic floating train station blown to pieces by a terrorist, killing hundreds of innocent people. Yet each episode people are happily using the space trains. The supporting characters are typical anime characters. Most of the young women characters are drawn with tight breast enhancing clothing and occasionally mash them around so enjoy that if you may.
The second series was retooled for a slightly younger audience (no breast mashing). They introduced a new brash young cadet whom Manabu has to constantly help.
A good show and the English dub isn't bad at all! Not totally up to the high standards of other Matsumoto work but it's very enjoyable.