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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  • Bam
    (Monday, Jun 27. 2016 05:40 AM)
    There is a hipster movement of contrarianism, that they just like to hate on whatever’s popular and deemed kinda mainstream. I get defensive when they shit on classics like Akira, Berserk and Ghost in The Shell. I see that wasn’t the case here. Anybody can sincerely dislike Anything; that’s fine.
  • Bam
    (Monday, Jun 27. 2016 05:31 AM)
    I see your point too. We can certainly take the stance of judging a thing by its own merit, unobstructed by social influences and constrains of time. Yet even at that Evangelion is a fairly slick piece of science fiction, and an interesting watch. At worst it’s boring and contrived, but that’s harmless. Never really fair to call it shit.
  • Bam
    (Monday, Jun 27. 2016 05:20 AM)
    @Aidan: looking back soberly I did come back a little too heated. That’s uncalled for and I’m sorry for that. I usually don’t lash out of unrelated daily stress, but there are mistakes here and there.
  • mamamoo
    (Monday, Jun 27. 2016 03:22 AM)
    @Aidan hahaha can’t wait for the episode reviews for Orange. It’s gonna really test you.
  • AidanAK47
    (Monday, Jun 27. 2016 02:58 AM)
    Look I knew how this would end before it began. We have done this already and neither of us are changing our stance. K-Off laid out things perfectly with his response so I see no reason to elaborate. Only reason I jumped in was because you brought Fate into it and if that was the bait then congrats, you won. I see no reason to continue the farce with no compromise in sight.
    In other words, need sleep. Goodnight.
  • AidanAK47
    (Monday, Jun 27. 2016 02:53 AM)
    @Bam,”I never said the problems it has gets erased by its early release or cultural significance”
    Neither did I. I said you are hand waving it’s problems by stating so, which you are.
  • AidanAK47
    (Monday, Jun 27. 2016 02:32 AM)
    …And orange is still top of the poll…ugh. Seems like this is going to be torture for me. Kiznaiver was already trying my patience with those speeches but if Orange is even worse…oh boy…
  • mamamoo
    (Monday, Jun 27. 2016 01:35 AM)
    Anyways I’m sure an emotionally manipulating soundtrack will make the anime a bit better :)
  • mamamoo
    (Monday, Jun 27. 2016 01:34 AM)
    @Aidan, it got to the point where I had to take 15 minute breaks because it was so physically cringing lmao. I started sending screenshots of pages to my friend because we were cackling at how embarrassing it was. Like I shouldn’t be laughing at such serious topics but the execution is just terrible.
  • mamamoo
    (Monday, Jun 27. 2016 01:32 AM)
    eh I thing my post just died when I hit send. Must’ve hit the character limit

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