Galaxy Railways, The DVD Box Set (Hyb) - Viridian Collection - S.A.V.E. Edition
Ron Frechette - Aug 14 2009 email@example.com
Trains! Space! Explosions! It can't be bad!
I've just spent an hour trying not to sound pretentious about this show. Specifically, because it is the kind of show that pretentious critics rip for being too stereotypical.
Have you seen shows like this before? Sure. Have they been this good? Probably not.
Has Matsumoto himself done shows like this before? Certainly. Has he made any this good? Not in decades. (Besides, what did Nabeshin say about Matumoto's typical heroine? "Sure you've seen her before, but how could you hate her?")
This show is not stereotypical, it is archetypical, and archetypes are archetypes because they work, and because they speak to us.
There is a twist at the end of the first episode that nearly floored me, and by the end of the series characters are engaging in the types of magnificently futile heroics you only find in Homer.
Is comparing anime to the Illiad over the top? Maybe, but I can't think of anything else that compares to Vega Platoon's last stand. This is not the cheap Star Wars clone people seem to want all decent space opera to be, this is much more.
Is there some cheese here? Yes, but oh what delicious cheese it is, right down to the overly dramatic opening theme (is that Isao Sasaki?), and overly whistful closing, this is five year old, cave aged, extra stinky French cheese - yes that's a good thing.
One final note: John Gremillion is amazing as the conflicted Captain Bulge, but in the final episode when he says "I'm very proud to be your captain." as our heroes rush toward almost certain doom - I've only been so moved once before by a film: Kenneth Brannaugh's performance of Henry V's Agincourt speech. It is a good deal shorter, but just as powerful. I wanted to join the Space Defense Force right then and there.