Anime DVD Review: The Galaxy Railways: The Complete Collection

The Galaxy Railways: The Complete Collection is a six disc set that is part of FUNimation Entertainment’s S.A.V.E. line of DVD releases. It appears that this set compiled the six individual DVDs that were originally released for The Galaxy Railways into one set. The first two discs each contain five episodes and bonus features, while the remaining four discs contain four episodes and bonus features.

The Galaxy Railways: The Complete Collection
English Publisher: FUNimation Entertainment
Format: DVD
Release Date: February 26, 2008

The Galaxy Railways is a science fiction anime series that features flying trains that are capable of interplanetary travel. The trains are protected by the Space Defense Force against such things intergalactic terrorists, meteor storms, and hostile alien life.

The main character of The Galaxy Railways is Manabu Yuki, a young man who had dreamed of joining the Space Defense Force in order to follow in the footsteps of his father and his brother. After both his father and brother died in the line of duty, Manabu’s mother tries to keep him from joining. However, Manabu is determined to pursue his dream and joins the force.

Manabu trains hard and ends up joining the Sirius Platoon, which his father used to command. The other members of the platoon are Louise Fort Drake, Schwanhelt Bulge, Bruce J. Speed, David Young, and Yuki Sexaroid.

When I started watching The Galaxy Railways, it felt like it was going to have an overarching story. The first episode focuses on Manabu and shows what happens from the time he was a child to when he leaves home to join the Space Defense Force. However, once Manabu is established in the Space Defense Force, the arc is suddenly dropped for a significant number of episodes; instead, each episode in this portion focuses on vignettes about the various supporting characters. It isn’t until the final few episodes of the first season when the overall story arc finally returns.

I have to give The Galaxy Railways credit for the excellent job the series did in terms of character development. However, I didn’t think the overall storytelling in the first season of the series worked as effectively as it could have.

When it comes to the character design, Leiji Matsumoto’s touch is very evident. Manabu’s uniform looks very similar to Susumu Kodai/Derek Wildstar’s in Space Battleship Yamato/Star Blazers, and Manabu’s facial features look very similar to Kodai/Wildstar. Whenever I saw Manabu, I had to keep reminding myself that the character I was seeing on the screen wasn’t Kodai/Wildstar.

When it comes to the DVD set itself, the first disc contains six bonus features. The first is an interview with Leiji Matsumoto, the creator of The Galaxy Railways. This interview, which runs for about five minutes, has Japanese audio with English subtitles. The second feature is part of a recording session in Japan for the second episode, “Knot In Time.” This runs for almost 13 minutes, and it’s in Japanese with English subtitles. You see the footage of the voice actors performing their lines in the studio, and it’s intercut with footage from the show for the scene they’re recording.

The third extra is the “Title Announcement Press Conference,” which runs for about five minutes. This is the press conference where Leiji Matsumoto, along with the script supervisor, announced The Galaxy Railways; this feature also has Japanese audio with English subtitles.

Next is “Character Profiles,” which contains profiles for Manabu, Louis, Layla Destiny Shula, Wataru, Mamoru, and Kanna; the profiles include a picture and a write-up for each character. The “Textless Songs” are textless versions of both the opening and the closing; however, the subtitles are still included.  The final extra is trailers for properties that FUNimation was promoting at the time this set was released.

The second disc has five bonus features. The first is commentary from the ADR Director and the cast for the sixth episode, “Reason To Love, Part 1.” Next is “Character Profiles,” which contains profiles for Bruce, Bulge, David, and Yuki. The third feature is “Textless Songs,” and this is the exact same feature as on the first disc.

“Mr. Stain” contains a preview of one of the Mr. Stain on Junk Alley CG shorts that were produced by FUNimation Entertainment. This short is “Magic Crayon,” which was the fifth one produced; this feature runs about seven minutes. After watching this short, my husband commented that it made him think of “Aardman on acid.” The final bonus feature is trailers for properties that FUNimation was promoting at the time this set was released.

The third disc contains four bonus features. The first is footage from the Japanese recording session for episode 12, “Twilight.” The next feature is another copy of the “Textless Songs.” The third feature is another preview from Mr. Stain on Junk Alley; this one is “Binoculars,” which was the seventh short produced. The final extra is trailers for properties that FUNimation was promoting at the time this DVD set was released.

The fourth disc also contains four bonus features. The first is ADR director and actor commentary for episode 18, “Life and Death.” This is followed by another copy of the textless songs. The third is another preview of Mr. Stain on Junk Alley; this one is “Clay,” and it’s the 11th short produced for the series. The final extra is trailers for properties that FUNimation was promoting at the time this set was released.

The fifth disc has three bonus features. The first is yet another copy of the textless songs.  The second is another preview from Mr. Stain on Junk Alley; this one is “Cassette Tape,” which was the sixth short produced. The final extra is trailers for properties that FUNimation was promoting at the this this set was released.

The final disc also contains three bonus features. The first is an ADR director and actor commentary for episode 26, “Eternal Hope.” Next is another copy of the textless songs. The final extra is trailers for properties that FUNimation was promoting at the time this DVD set was released.

For the DVD set, I felt a little too much emphasis was put on Mr. Stain on Junk Alley in the bonus features. I also wish that on some of the later discs, that character profiles had been included for the characters in the Spica and Vega squadrons. Personally, I can only truly recommend this box set to people who are already familiar with and enjoy The Galaxy Railways.

I wrote this review after watching a copy of The Galaxy Railways: The Complete Collection that my husband purchased for me as a gift.

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