The Galaxy Railways Episode 1: Sacrifice

***Special guest post by nichan***

Have you ever thought to yourself, “You know what this space battle anime needs more of? Trains.”…? If so, check this out:

What's the Japanese for "Choo-choo"?

Trains in space! …And not just any trains, but *steam engine trains*!

Yeah. You’re seeing that right. It’s a train and it’s in space.

I have a sort of love-hate relationship with space battle anime series. Like, they’ll grab my attention, and then I’ll lose track of the plot, and then I’ll completely derail (Ha ha: get it? Derail. Trains. Oh yeah. Quality stuff, that.) if there’s not a super awesome mecha thing going on. And even then, there’s no promise I’ll follow through unless, like, wicked great music suddenly happens, or, um… Duo Maxwell.

So maybe an anime about trains battling it out in space will keep me riveted to my seat. Although… I’ve got to wonder how well this is going to work since there’s a super-seventies blue-haired girl standing around in a bathing suit and a cape…

Somebody's overconfident about her thighs...

This sort of thing never signifies a good sign when it comes to my attention span.

Anyway, though!

“Galaxy Railways” starts out with a commuter train being hit by some floating rocks (the equivalent of putting a penny on the tracks, I guess). This is a big deal, even with all of the available space-train technology, so an elite group of troops is sent out to retrieve the stranded civilians, headed by this fellow:

"Excuse me for a moment; there's a hair in my eye."

Hey, captain! Have you considered using bobby pins to hold that hair out of your face?

On the way to the rescue of the commuters, our dear captain is momentarily distracted by the fact that his two sons have succeeded in completely defying all security (robots included), and have managed to sneak onto the train.

Bad touch! I need an adult! ...A different adult!

Two children: enough to outsmart Homeland Security.

I can’t tell you what any of these characters’ names are, unfortunately, because while I was watching this, I was dying from one of those headaches that was so insanely bad that I was wishing it’d just erupt into a migraine and get it over with. So, um, the best I can do here is to point out that the kid who is more mid-air is the younger brother, and the kid who looks like he’s suffering from a serious wedgie is the older brother.

Well, anyhoo, the kids are shoved off to the side, the captain gets everything arranged, and the rescue begins.

I heard a train whistle blow as I was selecting this photo to post... Seriously!

Somebody needs to get that one chick to the ER! She’s lost her eyes!!!

You see how happy these people are to be rescued? You’ll have that same experience when you switch over from the default English to the significantly better Japanese. It’s not the worst English voice acting I’ve ever heard, but the Japanese just makes it go down a little easier. Like that song about sugar and medicine. …Or melted cheese.

The captain and his crew get the stranded commuters safely on-board the rescue train and are about to leave the scene of the accident (no mention of cleaning up the mess, by the way)…

Steam technology to the rescue!

I still can’t get over the concept of trains in space.

…when a “white hole” opens up and a bloody spaceship comes out! Yeah! No kidding! This ain’t just a story about trains in space. It’s trains in space about to have epic space battles with spaceships and stuff. Oh yeah, baby. Let’s get this party started!

Are you in the right anime?

If they have spaceship technology, why are they still riding trains?!?

Planes and trains and...

Fer reals: there’s a big spaceship, little spaceships, lazer guns, and airplanes. It’s like “everything but the kitchen sink”, except TRAINS IN SPACE.

Just as things are getting epic, a flashback unsubtly breaks out. In it, the world is shown to be very, um… Well, it appears that the main driving force of the economy is mining, and the phones are still rotary. If you’ve ever seen “Last Exile”, it’s kind of like that, only not quite as gorgeous – but still freakishly familiar as far as the presentation and concepts go, really.

Rockin' the turtleneck.

The younger brother informs the older brother that he thinks their dad has returned from his latest train mission.

Breaking in those Sketchers.

So the younger brother sneaks in past security, gets to the space train station, falls onto the tracks, and somehow manages to outrun a space train. Let me repeat that for emphasis: HE OUTRUNS A SPACE TRAIN.

Just as the security robots are starting to catch on to the fact that the kid’s snuck into the station, his dad (who’s the captain of the crew on the train and thus ought to still be on the train, you’d think) comes to his rescue. …And seems suspiciously laid back about the whole breaking-onto-a-secure-base thing.

Thick, luxurious hair.

Look at this guy’s hair. You know he’s using the salon brand shampoo.

But, whatever, right? Daddy’s home on leave from his big, important job rescuing people stranded in space in their trains which can apparently be derailed by rocks and stuff. Dad’s happy, the kids are happy, mom’s happy. A game of catch breaks out. Good times ensue.

Happy little family.

Hipster / emo hair runs in the family, it seems.

Give up the trains and go scream into a mic, dude.

Look at that hair! Look at that shirt! This man obviously listens to Thirty Seconds to Mars. (Get it? Mars? Space? Oh yeah.)

But, dad’s job is big, important, and unpredictable, and before the end of the night, while he’s inexplicably wandering around in his uniform, he gets a call telling him to go back to the train station. …It seems a tad convenient: he already has his uniform on before the call comes in? I’m thinking daddy has a mistress.

So off he goes, back to the train station, and the kids decide to sneak out of the house and onto the base to wish him good luck with his mission. A funny thing happens on the way, though: they sort’ve get trapped on the train and wind up in space. …Somebody needs to really go over the security measures around that joint.

Motherf**king kids on a motherf**king train.

“Oh crap…”

It's like the gates in "Cowboy Bebop", I guess.

For some reason, the whole trains in space thing just fascinates the heck out of me.

And then the flashback abruptly ends and, oh!, guess what? Daddy had to leave home suddenly to go save the commuter train that had gotten stuck in space ’cause of floating rocks! And that’s why the kids are on the train at the beginning of the episode! How neatly this all ties together!

And don’t forget about that spaceship that had started to come out of the “white hole”. The battle rages on:

Zap, zap!

Dude. Seriously: lazers and planes are coming out of the train. IN SPACE.

My steam engine will kick the butt of your spaceship any day, baka!

Have you seen the most recent “Star Trek” movie? If so, things are about to get very, very familiar.

Things are starting to look bad for the rescue train. The spaceship has better weapons, the good guys are injured, and… Wait. What’s that chick wearing?!?

"I'm leaking! Leaking!"

The kids are fine, but dad seems to be sporting a head injury.

What? A skirt suit wasn't sexist enough for ya?

Why. Is. She. Wearing. That???

"Houston, we have a problem."

That’s not a particularly fantastic sign when the rescue train looks worse than the train that was being rescued.

Dad decides that the best thing to do is detach the engine of the train from the cars; everybody else will stay put in the cars while he drives the engine into the spaceship as a last ditch attempt to bring the battle to a favorable conclusion. You’ve seen this plot twist before, I’m sure.

You're gonna need some bleach, dude.

Ah, man! He’s getting blood all over his ascot!

Sort've like Amtrack, right?

Admittedly, though, there’s still something new and interesting about it since you get to hear train whistles and stuff.

This totally makes sense. (Sarcasm.)

Remember the chick in the swimsuit? Well, this *is* an anime, so of course she inexplicably shows up, and her hair waves around like she’s in a wind tunnel. So… So there’s *that*.

Just another Tuesday in space.

Watching your dad drive a train into a spaceship. Yeah… These kids aren’t going to need therapy whatsoever. No way. Totally gonna walk away from this with no problems whatsoever.

You know what, though? For all of this weirdness, and despite my blinding headache, I actually got into the story. It’s from 2003 (I think?), so despite the retro art style, it’s surprisingly clean. The music is a bit much, but it’s mostly hidden underneath dialogue, so it’s not like it’s overwhelmingly distracting. And… Really: trains in space, dude.

Also, they crammed a lot into just one episode. Not only did the story start from the very beginning and run through the opening credits, it kept going right on through the end sequence, too.

This all happens after the credits start to roll:

That guy must be related to the girl with no eyes from earlier?

The older brother grows up, decides to follow in his dad’s footsteps, and joins up with the rescue space train people…

Ticket, schmicket!

…The younger brother once again defies security in order to chase after his older brother as the train departs…

Choo, choo, and away!

…And the train takes off!

That’s more plot during the credits than most anime series usually manage to cram into entire episodes!

And that’s not all, either! There’s also this:

Remember when phones had cords?

I react the same way when I have to answer the phone, too.

This scene happens a year after the train takes off. Momma’s answered the phone, and what she’s been told has knocked her to the floor.

But what message did she hear which caused such a reaction?

Well! You’ll just have to watch “Sacrifice” all the way to the bitter, jagged end of the rolling credits to find out!

More about nichan:
i like cantonese music, japanese music, a dash of korean music, and our site owner has recently exposed me to mandarin music. — joey yung was my introduction to asian music.

i like manga and anime. — “sailor moon” was my introduction to anime, and my first manga obsession was “gravitation”.

i really like ancient chinese literature. — i believe “the tale of genji” was my introduction to asian literature, but i very quickly converted from japanese to chinese. i’m pretty sure my first chinese literature experience was “a dream of red mansions”.

i was a history major in college. i did my senior thesis on the comparison of yaoi and slash fan histories. when i got out of college, i still had a year left on my parents’ insurance, so i went back to the local college and did an independent study on learning world war i through “gundam wing”.

i like the occasional asian movie, but i don’t really have the attention span for movies…

i loves me some loligoth/gothloli.

the problem, you see, is that i’m way, way, way too cheap and lazy to bother getting new stuff, so i predict that all of my reviews will be on things i’ve already watched/read/heard, rather than new and up-to-date releases. don’t be expecting to see new titles and whatnot listed under my name… i buy from the bargain bin!

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