Posted by psgels 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 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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  • WyattX
    (Monday, Oct 20. 2014 06:39 AM)
    Example, obviously nsfw. This is Karma’s latest work: https://www.fakku.net/manga/rainsnow-english
  • WyattX
    (Monday, Oct 20. 2014 06:35 AM)
    If you’re that apt at writing pleasant slice of lifes, I’d recommend sticking to writing fluffy slice of lifes. Because you’re mediocre at writing hentai.
  • WyattX
    (Monday, Oct 20. 2014 06:34 AM)
    Karma Tatsuro makes cute, feel-good stories in the very first few pages of almost every doujin he writes… Then they always devolve into vanilla hentai with generic sex, and they always conclude by goes back to being a regular,belter,fuzzy feel-good manga. Strange bloke.
  • Bam
    (Monday, Oct 20. 2014 06:18 AM)
    @K-off: let him be m8, it’s only natural to get hated on after writing the fanfic of the century.
  • k-off
    (Monday, Oct 20. 2014 06:11 AM)
    @Miyako “Look how cultured I am, comparing an anime to a completely irrelevant comedy classic,” is what you’re saying m8. Who the hell says “For my holy grail references?”
  • MiyakoJungle
    (Monday, Oct 20. 2014 06:06 AM)
    “Ooh, you can’t compare things from two different mediums!!” *Figuratively vomits
  • k-off
    (Monday, Oct 20. 2014 06:03 AM)
    @Miyako Did you really just compare Monty Python and the Holy Grail to Fate?
  • MiyakoJungle
    (Monday, Oct 20. 2014 06:00 AM)
    Fate sucks. For my holy grail references, I’d recommend Monty Python.
  • Bam
    (Monday, Oct 20. 2014 04:51 AM)
    (3/2) There’s also a competition between Gilgamesh and Irvine to take over the Archer position, plus any cross-universe shipping that you can imagine! Angra Mainyu Vs. Void? sure. Skull Knight/Saber power-couple? why the fuck not.
  • Bam
    (Monday, Oct 20. 2014 04:28 AM)
    (2/2) He mows thru the competition while screaming his battlecry “Griffith!” and then manages to absconder the Grail for himself, which he then wishes to reverse the Eclipse with. This causes a 2nd (or 3rd?) eclipse which sacrifices the whole population of Fuyuki. The result is the emergence of an apostle Band of the Hawk that forces Guts and all the magi to get together to once again seal away.

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