Posted by psgels on 9 August 2007 with categories: Anime Reviews

Released in 1985, this movie is already 22 years old. It tells the story of two Italian male kittens, who board a train on the galactic railroad. The train stops at various constellations, and various people step in and out, with all their own story. This is a movie about travelling, and all the things you experience in the process.

I must say that A Night on the Galactic Railroad has been quite an interesting watch. Mainly because of two things: its mood and symbolism. This movie really gives a feeling of silence and loneliness, it’s really slow-paced, and the mood of both the expanding space of the universe, and the silence in a train-cabin work perfectly, and create a really eerie mood for this movie, even when people are interacting with each other. There’s also lots of symbolism; each station on the different constellations is full of imagination. They’re all really diverse, ranging from religious messages to references to the time of the dinosaurs.

The movie does have its flaws, though. Near the end, the entire mood disappears a bit, when the focus comes to the two main characters. They’re these kinds of main characters who are great as side-characters, watching from the side-lines, but fail to deliver when put on the spotlights. The amount of religious messages also may have been a bit too much at one point. Be also aware that this movie doesn’t really pay attention to the whys of its world. Fantastic things happen, though we never know why most of them do.

The graphics, well, they’re not that interesting. But what did you expect from such an old movie? Basically, the anime takes place in a world where cats live, instead of humans; they walk on two legs and wear clothes. Our two main characters are also the only ones who have been obscurely coloured, everyone else is just brown or grey. The music-department is interesting, though, as this movie has a rather unique soundtrack. Especially the main tune is worth listening to.

Overall, this movie is definitely not for the impatient ones, as it moves really slow. It’s an above average movie, though it’s not a big disaster if you haven’t seen it. If you have the chance of watching it, though, you can indeed give it a whirl, as it definitely has a few worthwhile elements.

5 Responses

  1. Avatar Chris says:

    You should watch Kenji’s Spring aka Spring and Chaos, it’s a biography anime on the creator of Night on the Galatic Railroad and it is a very artistic and beautiful short anime, it’s something very different from anything else. It is done with catpeople aswell though. A little realistically depressing.

  2. Avatar Chris says:

    I actually managed to find the trailer from the official company!

  3. Avatar Wyrdwad says:

    Miyazawa Kenji is a wonderful author — if you liked this anime adaption of his novel even remotely, I highly recommend reading some of his prose and poetry. I studied him quite extensively in college, and he was just a really unique man…

    Aside from this and “Spring and Chaos,” there’s also an anime adaption of his short story “Gauche the Cellist.” TERRIBLE art and animation, but the story is 100% intact, and it’s a really cute little fable. Worth checking out sometime.


  4. Avatar Firechick says:

    I did try to watch this movie once, but I was never able to finish it. Maybe I’ll watch it again once I have time.

  5. A more than competent film in its confidence to its style which was at moments enough to keep me watching to the end once I sort of settled into it, though I did finish it feeling somewhat unmoved, definitely something that while I didn’t dislike it, I wanted to love it more.
    But I admire its silence and its stylistic aspects do connect at least enough.

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