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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  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Jul 7. 2015 05:38 PM)
    Going to hell for reading this , but it was right up my alley: http://www.mangachapter.me/34166/doreiku-boku-to-23-nin-no-dorei.html
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Jul 7. 2015 05:34 PM)
    With giants in mind, I for the life of me, keep struggling to remember a manga I read ages ago. It was a series of off-beat one-shots, a seinen manga most likely and one of the stories involved a group of giants shrinking themselves and in one scene going after/taking the human women for themselves. I remember the art style standing out. This came out before Titan and has nothing to do with it.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Jul 7. 2015 05:29 PM)
    Ha, finally found it, for the longest time I had been trying to re-find that romcom manga where the love interest was a giantess.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Jul 7. 2015 05:21 PM)
    @Aidan: Didn’t think anyone else knew about that manga.
  • AidanAK47
    (Tuesday, Jul 7. 2015 05:04 PM)
    Pity the novel itself is as dull as dishwater.
  • AidanAK47
    (Tuesday, Jul 7. 2015 03:01 PM)
    LN title:‎ I’m a High School Boy and a Bestselling Light Novel author, strangled by my female classmate who is my junior and a voice actress.
    …well I guess that’s a title which catches your attention.
  • AidanAK47
    (Tuesday, Jul 7. 2015 02:19 PM)
    Damn its annoying. I find a pretty good manga by the terrible name “Girl may kill” and I am glued to the story only to find that it has an axed ending. Why is it that potentially great stories are cut down in there prime?
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Jul 7. 2015 10:19 AM)
    @Casey: like Aidan mentioned you need special content, design art, fandisks and exclusive interviews in order to get your publication prestige and value. Also skim the nearby stores to get a reasonable demand/cost estimation. Social networking and attending expos is also a great way to get exposure and momentum.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Jul 7. 2015 05:34 AM)
    I think going either by first episodes or source material. I know what I’m interested in this season: Ranpo kitan, gangsta, akagami.
    And as for what I don’t like/don’t want to watch: Gakkou gurashi, symphogear, prison school, charlotte, gate.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Jul 7. 2015 02:46 AM)
    I only ever had one issue of Neo (I think that was the magazines name) and one or two issues of the American version of newtype. And that was a long time ago.

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