Posted on 6 February 2010 with categories: Anime Reviews



Remember Night on the Galactic Railroad? It was probably one of the quietest movies you can get. In any case, it was based on a story from Kenji Miyazawa, and back in 2007, it was animated for a second time by a digital artist named Kagaya. I was expecting something with cat people again (something that returns in nearly all of Kenji Miyazawa’s adaptations), but instead I got something much more unique than I thought.

If you looked at the screenshots you might wonder why there aren’t any people on it. That wasn’t because I was in some strange mood when I took them. There really are NO PEOPLE, or any other sort of characters in this OVA. We just have a narrator who reads the story of Kenji Miyazawa, combined with visuals and music. She also does the voices of the lead characters, but they never appear on the screen. All this show is is one huge chunk of atmosphere as we travel through all sorts of locations and constellations.

Don’t worry though. This is really an excellent recommendation if you like visual poetry. What this movie does excellently is combining the narrative, dialogue, visuals and music into one. It’s the perfect movie for if you want to relax for about an hour and dream away, and because of the limited storytelling and how we never get to see the characters, the narrative speaks to your imagination to fill in the omitted parts. It’s such a relaxing, yet thought provoking and imaginative OVA.

Which is really helped by an absolutely beautiful soundtrack. Every second of that soundtrack fits perfectly with the rest of the story and visuals, and it’s been very skillfully composed. The visuals themselves are also utterly gorgeous. Nearly everything is in 3D, and not everything is perfectly and realistically rendered, but nevertheless it’s full of eye candy. This is what I meant with the art of cutting corners in 3D animation, back in my Urban Legend Hikiko Review. Everything that matters is rendered beautifully, and the rest, like realistic water or textures. Ah well, who cares. They don’t prevent the visuals in this movie from being awesome.

Fantasy Railroad of the Star really is an engaging adventure and a beautifully imaginative journey across the Galactic Railroad. It’s obviously not for everyone, and you have to be into this kind of stuff otherwise you’re going to be bored out of your skull, but it’s OVAs like this that start off with a great experimental idea, and actually make it work. It’s a shame that it’s taken three whole years for this thing to get released in the west.

Storytelling: 9/10 – A wonderful combination of dreamy narrative, visuals and audio.
Characters: 8/10 – Um, yeah. We never get to see them, but even though words they were a wonderful lead cast.
Production-Values: 9/10 – Beautiful soundtrack, very imaginative rendered visuals.
Setting: 8/10 – You can see that the creators had an extensive amount of astronomical knowledge.

3 Responses

  1. Firechick says:

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

  2. bob says:

    Thanks for the review! You mention it’s released in the west, where did you find it? I can only find these japanese releases

  3. psgels says:

    What I basically meant by that is that it’s taken three years for a raw to show up on one of the torrent aggregators. Now let’s hope that some subbers actually notice it.

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  • Raggers
    (Friday, Aug 29. 2014 01:36 AM)
    @Bam: yep, if I a) thought it were possible and b)had a better system I could reasonably implement.
    But really, my scale was a lot smaller. Curing cancer, or eradicating malaria, for example.
  • Raggers
    (Friday, Aug 29. 2014 01:29 AM)
    @Bam: if I could reasonably do it I’d certainly give it a shot. But no, I’m thinking on a much smaller scale – curing cancer, eradicating bad genes from the gene pool.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Aug 29. 2014 01:10 AM)
    @Raggers: so you’ll go about dismantling the World Bank and the toxic influences of mega-corporations on politics and the environment? That would take A LOT of effort and money then friend. Or even aim bigger and get at human greed and ignorance? (As identified by Siddhartha as the root of all evil)
  • Raggers
    (Friday, Aug 29. 2014 01:06 AM)
    At the end of the day, I only care about myself. While it’d be nice for everyone to go along singing happily, that just isn’t going to happen.
    If I were to give money, it wouldn’t be to sufferers. It would be better spent eradicating the root causes of the the problems.
  • Zo
    (Friday, Aug 29. 2014 12:43 AM)
    Well, you’ll forever be an idiot in my eyes bam.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Aug 29. 2014 12:40 AM)
    @Aidan: are you playing it on PC m8 ?
  • Zo
    (Friday, Aug 29. 2014 12:39 AM)
    For you ignorant morons, that’s roughly 94,000,000 million US dollars.
  • Zo
    (Friday, Aug 29. 2014 12:34 AM)
    Bam: I’m pointing out your hypocrisy. Ice bucket raised 3 billion rubles. You, raised none.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Aug 29. 2014 12:32 AM)
    @Zo: hahaha the reveal of the great hypocrisy. So you don’t really care about the victims of ALS neither so you’re whole defense of the ice bucket challenge is internally inconsistent and altogether fake. Nothing further, carry along little trolly, these definitely aren’t the droids you are looking for.
  • Zo
    (Friday, Aug 29. 2014 12:30 AM)
    Also, you say I’m a troll. What, because I have strong opinions? In which case, I laugh.

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