The Galaxy Railways

The Galaxy Railways
The Galaxy Railways
(Ginga Tetsudō Monogatari)
Genre Action, Science fiction
TV anime
Directed by Yukio Nishimoto
Licensed by United States FUNimation
English network United States FUNimation Channel
Select On Demand
CoLours TV
Original run October 4, 2003April 4, 2004
Episodes 26
TV anime
Crossroads to Eternity
Directed by Tsuneo Tominaga
Network CBC
Original run October 4, 2006March 28, 2007
Episodes 26
Original video animation
A Letter from the Abandoned Planet
Directed by Hideaki Oba
Released January 21, 2007March 24, 2007
Episodes 4
Anime and Manga Portal

The Galaxy Railways (銀河鉄道物語 Ginga Tetsudō Monogatari?) is a 26 episode science fiction anime series about flying trains set in the far reaches of space. It is licensed by Funimation Production Ltd. and produced by Leiji Matsumoto. It debuted on American TV in a syndicated FUNimation Channel programming block airing on CoLours TV on Monday, June 19, 2006, but was replaced by Dragon Ball until the programming block was dropped. The series has also aired on the linear FUNimation Channel. Two sequels have been produced, both currently unlicensed in English regions.

A 4-part OVA series The Galaxy Railways: A Letter from the Abandoned Planet (銀河鉄道物語 ~忘れられた時の惑星~ Ginga Tetsudō Monogatari ~Wasurerareta Toki no Wakusei~?, Planet of Forgotten Time) was produced that bridges both seasons of the show (production on the OVA actually began before the sequel TV series, even though it was released later).

In 2006 a sequel series, The Galaxy Railways: Crossroads to Eternity (銀河鉄道物語 ~永遠への分岐点~ Ginga Tetsudō Monogatari ~Eien e no Bunkiten~?) began broadcasting in Japan for a 26-episode run. Of those 26, only 24 episodes were broadcast on television, with the final two released only on DVD.

It has also been announced that on the 25-03-2009, an off take of the series called The Galaxy Railways: Faraway Angels (銀河鉄道物語 ~最果てのアンジェラ~?) will be released as a Drama CD. The story follows the Mizar platoon and their adventures.



The Galaxy Railways

The story takes place in the future, where trains are capable of interplanetary travel. The fleet of the Galaxy Railways is protected by the Space Defence Force, or SDF, against intergalactic terrorists, meteor storms and malicious alien life.

In the series it seems that the Galaxy Railways serve as both a establishment and government presiding over a large sector of the galaxy.[1] The railways are made up of a series of large rings that create energy shields to protect the trains that move between them, creating the tracks the trains follow. The railways are under the rule of the Supreme Commander, but seem to be more actively guided by a lower ranking official known as the Commander. The Galaxy Railways Headquarters preside over The SDF and the SPG (Space Panzer Grenadiers, an elite defense force) as well as all passenger operations.

In the beginning of the story, the main character, Manabu Yūki, has always had dreams of joining the SDF, following in the footsteps of his father and brother.[1][2] Because both his brother and father died while serving in the SDF, his mother tries to stop Manabu from joining the SDF. Despite this, Manabu is determined to join, and boards the train to Destiny Station to join the force. Manabu trains hard and despite conflicts from Captain Bulge, Bruce and other characters, joins the Sirius Platoon that his father used to command.

The Sirius Platoon's train is headed up by a Steam Locomotive.[2] The locomotive itself is based on the Union Pacific Big Boy (4-8-8-4 wheel arrangement) that was built by the American Locomotive Co. of Schenectady, New York, and is widely considered to be the most powerful Steam locomotive ever built. The Sirius Platoon is the primary focus of the Galaxy Railways, though the Spica and Vega platoons also make appearances and become more involved towards the end of the series.

A Letter from the Abandoned Planet

The Galaxy Express 999 crashes on the off-limits planet of Herise (ヒーライズ) and it's up to the SDF Sirius Platoon to assist.

Crossroads to Eternity

The series picks up after an unknown amount of time has passed after the 1st season. Manabu is on his home planet of Tobito, on vacation. Meanwhile, Sirius Platoon has an intern sitting in to observe and learn the ropes, Killian Black (the foster son of Mr. Conductor from Galaxy Express 999. As seen in "A Letter from the Abandoned Planet"). When Big One encounters trouble just outside of Tobito's orbit, Manabu "Borrows" a maintenance Locomotive and flies up to rescue his crewmates. That ends his Vacation and he returns to Planet Destiny. There is a new Platoon formed while Manabu was away, to replace Vega Platoon after they sacrificed themselves and their train, Iron Burger, during the Alfort invasion. They go by the name Cepheus Platoon, and it is led by Capitan Guy Lawrence, who served with Captain Buldge under Capitan Yūki, Manabu's Father and former captain of Big One. they seem uptight and somewhat snooty, and dislike teaming up with Sirius Platoon.

After several filler episodes, some interesting developments take place. some examples:

  1. Manabu takes Killian under his wing, much like Bruce did with him in Season One. He feels that he should carry on Bruce's harsh training methods and attitude towards newbies, and seems to be very good at it. (throughout the series)
  2. A prototype SPG Train, designed to be an almost exact copy of Big One is stolen by Pirates, who use it to ruin Sirius Platoon's name. after a heated showdown, they are obliterated by the Cosmo Matrix Cannon. (episodes 13-14)

Then the main part of the story starts out. during a rescue operation to pull a stranded train from a wormhole, a small ship emerges from it. a pod escapes it before it is shot down on accident, and the pod is recovered by Big One. Inside is Frell, a little girl who says she is from another universe in the wormhole, and needs to return to her home planet ASAP. She hears Manabu's last name, and says she knew his father or at least heard his name discussed before. finding this out, Big One Charges through the Wormhole, making it to the other universe. Once there, they start planet hopping using Big One's Off-Track Mode (not being anywhere near the Galaxy Railways, it would normally be impossible for a train to even move)

After making peace on several planets and helping out in different ways the various inhabitants of them, Big One is sucked in to "The Bottom of Gravity", a literal Gravity Pit. There they find SDF and Galaxy Railways Trains that have disappeared from their universe over the years. they also find various other craft that go missing. they also make the chilling discovery of bones and skeletons on some of the trains. during this time, frell starts spending periods of time in the engine room (inside the boiler, where all the glowing dials, switches, and glowing purple center are) she starts talking to Big One, and shockingly enough, Big One talks back! He explains that since there are no tracks to follow, then there is no destination for him, and he should sleep peacefully in the well with his brothers and sisters. After hearing her pleas to take her to her parents, and encouragement from Manabu, Louise, Captain Buldge, and everyone else, Big One realizes he is a member of Sirius Platoon as well, and that they never give up. So he couples all the engines of the missing trains together, and they all are powerful enough to make it out of the well. the couplers break on the engines however, and they float back to the well to sleep in peace.

Finally, they make it to Frell's planet. After speaking to the elders, they find out the horrible truth. after ramming Big One into an enemy ship when Manabu was a little boy, Wataru crash-landed in the wrecked Big One on Frell's planet. he makes peace and all is well. However, a few weeks after landing, the SDF's prototype top-secret Inter-universe Tunneler malfunctions and crashes also on the planet, wiping out a critical part of the land. Wataru arms himself and attacks the tunneler, which has an A.I. built into it. It absorbs Wataru's body, melding his spirit into the machine. It then uses his image as a puppet to speak to humans. It uses its weapon system to torment planets all over the alternate universe. On top of that, over the time that it crashed to the time Sirius Platoon arrives, it has absorbed enough machines to be as big as a moon. The Entire SDF Fleet uses the new Tunneler Machine to come to Big One's aid, and they begin their attack on the giant monster. Manabu heads inside the Tunneler Machine to confront his father to see if the story he heard was true. he finds his father's SDF Captain Hat laying in front of a hologram generator. his father's spirit appears before him in holographic form and catches up with him on what he has missed. He then tells Manabu to shoot him through the head and end all the madness. If he does, then the A.I. will be destroyed also. reluctantly, he does so, takes his hat, and makes it out to Big One and through the wormhole just in time.

The ending shows Manabu and Louise returning to Tobito together and presenting his father's cap to his mother.

Continuity with other works

It is not certain where this series fits in with the rest of the Leijiverse. Galaxy Express 999 was noted for guest appearances by Captain Harlock, Queen Emeraldas and other connections such as Queen Millennia. The first Galaxy Railways season had no such crossovers and appearances by other Leijiverse characters were limited to subtle visual homages, although Manabu's brother, when accepted by the SDF, boards the Galaxy Express 999 to start his new assignment. For example, Captain Harlock appears as the Joker in a deck of cards. And Queen Millenia appears on the head of coin used for currency. Their status as actual existing characters in this continuity is not known. However, Maetel, Tetsuro, and The Conductor from Galaxy Express 999 do appear in the later Galaxy Railways OAV.

Leiji Matsumoto states on an interview included in the first DVD of the American release, that Manabu Yuuki is actually the brother of female space pirate Kei Yūki, seen in the Captain Harlock TV series and Endless Odyssey OVA, though such a relationship has never been mentioned in the anime series and seems unlikely. In the latest volume of the Galaxy Express 999 manga, however, they are brother and sister.


The narrator guides the viewers through the episodes with epilogues and prologues to each episode, introducing a specific idea in each one. There are, however, two overarching themes the prevail throughout the series.

Destiny and Fate: The series asks the age-old question of whether our choices are pre-determined, or whether we forge our own destiny. This evolves through each episode, starting with episode two, where Manabu has the chance to save his older brother from dying in the past. Despite his brother's attempt to evade his destiny to die, he is shot in the back - suggesting that fate and destiny prevail.[1] In a later episode, "A train bound for fate", Manabu meets an old friend who has gotten on the train believing that there is no point in fighting fate. He states that no matter what you do, the outcome has already been determined. The train is attacked and Manabu has to force his friend to defend himself against what he believes is his death. By the end of the episode, his friend finally believes Manabu and takes action for his life. Later on the narrator suggests that he does not know whether or not there is such as a thing as fate, but whether or not it exists, we should still do our best. Near the end of the first Season, Manabu finally declares that his Destiny is his own to shape and is victorious.

Life and Death: From the very first episode, the series explores the ideas of life and death with the death of his father[2], and the death of his brother[1]. In the beginning of the series Manabu refuses to use a gun, and does whatever he can to avoid killing people. Death is a hard thing for Manabu to deal with, as seen in episodes 6 and 7 when a little girl dies in front of him[3][4]. In episode 4, Manabu has to stop a man from chasing after the ghost of his love and convince him that he still has reason to live[5]. Manabu's underlying belief seems to be that everyone is entitled to life, good or bad. It isn't until he is forced to choose between the life of a crew mate and the life of a criminal in episode 10 that realizes that sometimes, people give up the right to life.[6]


The Galaxy Railways: TV Series

Episode information source [7]

Episode Title Original air date
1 "Sacrifice"   2003-10-04
2 "Knot in Time"   2003-10-11
3 "The Driving Wheel of Fate"   2003-10-18
4 "Those Who Call Themselves Eternity"   2003-10-25
5 "Big One Hijacked"   2003-11-01
6 "Shrieking in Darkness - 1"   2003-11-08
7 "Shrieking in Darkness - 2"   2003-11-15
8 "Afterglow"   2003-11-22
9 "Corridors of Memories"   2003-11-29
10 "Crossroads"   2003-12-06
11 "Yearning"   2003-12-13
12 "Twilight"   2003-12-20
13 "Train of Fate"   2004-01-10
14 "Ties"   2004-01-17
15 "Common Front"   2004-01-24
16 "Sexaroid"   2004-01-31
17 "Armored Goddess"   2004-02-07
18 "Life or Death"   2004-02-14
19 "Time of Tranquility"   2004-02-21
20 "Choices"   2004-02-28
21 "Rebellion"   2004-03-06
22 "Ephemeral Wind"   2004-03-13
23 "Harsh Verdict"   2004-03-20
24 "The Galaxy Ablaze"   2004-03-27
25 "Echoes of Life"   2004-04-03
26 "Far-Reaching Hope"   2004-04-10

The Galaxy Railways: Crossroads to Eternity

Episode Title Original air date
1 "New Departure"   2006-10-04
2 "Gap Between Clamness and Insanity"   2006-10-11
3 "Flower Blooming in Space"   2006-10-18
4 "Stardust Blues"   2006-10-25
5 "Edge of the Abyss"   2006-11-01
6 "Graduation"   2006-11-08
7 "Blue Roses"   2006-11-15
8 "Mission for Two"   2006-11-22
9 "Road to Tomorrow"   2006-11-29
10 "Abandaned Future"   2006-12-06
11 "For Whose Pride"   2006-12-13
12 "Wings of Soul"   2006-12-20
13 "SDF, in a Dire Pinch - 1"   2007-01-10
14 "SDF, in a Dire Pinch - 2"   2007-01-17
15 "Momentary Happiness"   2007-01-24
16 "Uninvited Castaway"   2007-01-31
17 "Departure Towards the Unknown"   2007-02-07
18 "The Successor of the Spear"   2007-02-14
19 "Mist Calls"   2007-02-21
20 "At the End of the Journey"   2007-02-28
21 "Reunion"   2007-02-07
22 "Labyrinth Named Destiny"   2007-02-14
23 "Through the Strom"   2007-03-21
24 "The Eternal Vow"   2007-03-28

The Galaxy Railways: A Letter from the Abandoned Planet

Episode DVD Release Date
1 2007-01-24
2 2007-02-28
3 2007-03-28
4 2007-04-25


Changes in Season Two

One of the most obvious changes would be the uniform change from Blue to black. Almost all flashbacks show everyone in Sirius Platoon wearing the new uniforms. It is unknown why the switch was made. Flame Swallow, Spica Platoon's train, has been rebuilt and upgraded like Big One. It was destroyed through a self-destruct during Season One to slow down the Alfort Armada. There also seems to be almost no actual mentioning of Vega Platoon in the second season, with the exception of a short 5 second clip of it being destroyed.

U.S. Release

The English dub is a close translation of the original, uncensored from the original Japanese version with the DVDs being uncut and bilingual. All the onscreen Japanese hard subtitles (including the opening and ending credits) are translated to English in the Funimation Galaxy Railways Dub for its main purpose of cultural streamlining intended to make the anime understandable for an American audience even though most of the Japanese characters and Japanese culture are left out unedited. All the original Japanese music score and sound effects are kept and used. The plot, storyline and dialogue all completely match that of the original Japanese storyline, plot and dialogue. There is profanity left in. There is no extra dialogue, jokes, puns or humor added. All plot elements and dialog from the Japanese version remain intact.[citation needed]

As early as August 2008, it has been rumored that Funimation would bring the rights for the series to American shores, and the latest word is that they are in the process of obtaining the rights and recording an American release of Season Two.[citation needed]

As of July 5, 2009 it is unclear whether or not work is being done in getting the Second Season and OVA licensed and dubbed in English. Funimation has not made any official statement suggesting that it is currently working on this, or has any intentions to do so. However in April 2009 and May 2009, in two separate instances, Funimation surveyed its online fan-base with the intention of expanding their library of anime titles and many fans did express interest in the localization of Galaxy Railways season 2 and the OVA.[8][9]

Musical Themes

Season One: The Galaxy Railways


Title Artist Episodes
Ginga Tetsudo wa Harukanari Isao Sasaki 1-26


Ginga no Hikari Isao Sasaki 1-26

A Letter from the Abandoned Planet & Season Two: Crossroads to Eternity


Carry the Light JAJA 1-26


ALL OF US Maki Goto 1-26

See also

  • List of Galaxy Railways Characters
  • Fictional Universe of Galaxy Railways
  • Galaxy Express 999 – the original series by Leiji Matsumoto.


  1. ^ a b c d The Galaxy Railways Season 1: Episode 2
  2. ^ a b c The Galaxy Railways Season 1: Episode 1
  3. ^ The Galaxy Railways Season 1: Episode 6
  4. ^ The Galaxy Railways Season 1: Episode 7
  5. ^ The Galaxy Railways Season 1: Episode 4
  6. ^ The Galaxy Railways Season 1: Episode 10
  7. ^ Funimation show page
  8. ^
  9. ^

External links

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