The Galaxy Railways is a 26-episode series that was produced by Planet Entertainment and was directed by Yukio Nishimoto. The series aired on Japanese television from October 4, 2003-April 4, 2004. As of this writing, FUNimation Entertainment holds the North American license for The Galaxy Railways. There are also two sequels that have been produced, but they are both unlicensed in English regions.
This is a science fiction series produced by Leiji Matsumoto that features flying trains that are capable of interplanetary travel. The trains are protected by the Space Defense Force against intergalactic terrorists, meteor storms, and hostile alien life. The railways are made up of a series of large rings that create energy shields to protect the trains that move between them, creating the tracks the trains follow.
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 when the overall story arc finally returns.
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. Yuki Sexaroid also looks a lot like Stasha/Starsha, while Louise Fort Drake bears a resemblance to Yuki.
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 of the series worked as effectively as it could have. This series can be a little awkward for viewers who are familiar with Space Battleship Yamato, since character designs and uniform designs between the two shows are similar.
The Galaxy Railways isn’t necessarily a bad series, but it does feel inferior when compared to other space operas such as Space Battleship Yamato.
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