(Anime Review) The Galaxy Railways: A Letter from the Abandoned Planet

This may be an OVA for The Galaxy Railways series, but it’s also a cross over with Galaxy Express 999.  In other words, it’s proof of the existence of the Leijiverse or the mind frame that all of Leiji Matsumoto’s works are connected together in some way.  If you don’t know who that is, I give a quick explanation of who and how important he is in my review of Queen Emeraldas: Volume One.  That being said, this is a cross over that still heavily favors the protagonist crew of the The Galaxy Railways.  The people from Galaxy Express 999 are just along for the ride.  Since I don’t think that Galaxy Railways is one of Leiji Matsumoto’s lesser works, not terrible but lacking.  I think this OVA is stronger its parent series.  At least the first season, because I haven’t watched the second season.  It hasn’t been legally released in the United States yet.

Quick Explanation of Both Series:

-The Galaxy Railways:  The universe is patrolled by a large police force on space trains.  They keep an eye on the civilian trains that end up in trouble.   These troubled events can be anything from pirates to strange phenomenon that occur throughout space.  Galaxy Railways follows one particular train, the Sirius platoon riding on Big One, and the different events that happen with it.

-Galaxy Express 999:  Riding on the legendary train 999, the two main characters Maetel, a woman with a mysterious past, and Tetsuro Hoshino, a ten-year-old boy, toward a planet were Hoshino can finally accomplish his dream of getting a machine body.  Along the way, the 999 stops by different planets that each have their own adventures attached to them.

Plot of the OVA:

Starting from the point of view of the Galaxy Express 999, the train makes a stop at a planet and let’s off Maetell and Hoshino like usual for them to go about their business.  Hoshino acquires a mysterious letter that a retired mail man has never delivered, goes back to the train, and notices that Maetel is gone.  Hoshino immediately realizes that she is at that planet that has been called off limits by the Galaxy Express, so Hoshino wants to go there and rescue Maetel immediately.  As fortune would have it, the train ends up crashing on that planet anyway.  Sirius platoon is immediately called in for search and rescue.  This is how the two groups meet together.  From that point on, I will let you watch it to find out what happens, but it features the origins of the new trainee on the Sirius platoon and how he is connected to the forbidden planet.

Just know that it’s going to get confusing very fast.  It’s a science fiction movie that has made up the concept of the time tsunami.  Yeah…apparently that’s a thing.  Just accepting made up concepts can be hard, but if you have watched Star Trek then you should be used to it.  Still, this is my biggest criticism.  Some explanation of these out of nowhere concepts from time to time would be nice.  Otherwise then that, it’s easy to follow along with what’s going on.

Characters:

I already told you about the Galaxy Express 999 crew, but not the Sirius platoon.  Or should I say, the only three people that matter from Sirius platoon: Mamoru Yuuki, the main protagonist of the series, Louise, the main female of the series who is Mamoru’s unrequited love interested, and the new trainee that Mamoru has taken under his wing, Killian Black.  The rest of the crew don’t do anything besides play their roles and be caricatures of who they were in the series. But anyway, Killian is the driving force of the ova.  He is a kind hearted newbie that is also infatuated with Louise, but gets a lot more serious when he sees the wrecked 999.  The reason why he does is the driving force for the rest of the OVA.

Art/Animation:

Besides some computer graphics that stick out from time to time, this is a very beautiful OVA.  The only things that were actually cg were the trains, buildings randomly popping out the ground, and other machines, so I’m fine with how they used it.  I would say that the cg was fine for 2006, but computer graphics in anime feel like they haven’t changed since then.  Other than that, there were so many diverse backgrounds, special effects, and character designs that there is almost nothing to complain about.  The animation was also incredibly fluid.   Especially compared to either TV series.  This is an OVA and one of the series, Galaxy Express 999, is from the 1970’s.  That’s to be expected.  I also lost my mind when I saw Big One and the 999 right next to each other.  Loved it so much.  I’m allowed to nerd out from time to time, okay?

Conclusion:

In the end, I really liked this OVA.  It’s a good crossover with it staying true to both sets of characters.  Even those who didn’t get much screen time.  I said earlier that this is better than the tv series itself is because this is like an expanded episode of The Galaxy Railways.  It has time to make a more complex plot, the art and animation are better, and the crew from 999 showed up.  Maetel and Toshiro increased the value of this ova just by showing up.

I would highly recommend this to anybody.  Even those who haven’t watched either series.  It has enough explanation to tell you who is who and can definitely work as a stand-alone movie/ova, but you can definitely get more out of it if you’ve seen these characters before.  Maybe it can entice people to know about Leiji Matsumoto and his works.  I would definitely be happy with that.

(This is now available on Crunchyroll.  Please support the official release)

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