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The Galaxy Railways is a science-fiction anime about railways extending beyond planets' surfaces and into space. With the advent of interplanetary travel through these trains, humanity formed the Space Defence Force (or SDF for short) as a way to protect passengers from terrorists, aliens and hazardous asteroids.
Manabu Yuuki is one of the youngest members of the SDF, enlisting after the deaths of his father and brother, both sacrificing themselves in the name of duty. Manabu is assigned to Sirius Platoon which include Louise Fort Drake, the only human female in Sirius Platoon; Schwanhelt Bulge, the captain of Big One, which happens to be Sirius Platoon's train; Bruce J Speed, a hot-headed serviceman who detests Manabu; David Young, the easy-going opposite, and friend, of Bruce; and Yuki Sexaroid, an android nurse.
What you get is an intense episodic anime from the mind of Leiji Matsumoto. The show contains plenty of sad, heroic moments, a heartwarming sense of companionship between it's cast, and complex themes dealing with life or death situations. Also included are deeper themes of destiny and accepting your own fate.
The 26 episode TV series is available in an English dub by FUNimation. There are 4 OVA episodes collectively known as "A Letter from an Abandoned Planet", and a second series entitled "Crossroads to Eternity", with 24 episodes in total. However, the OVAs and second TV series have not been licensed in English.
This series features examples of:
- Action Girl: Louise, and then the girls of Spica Platoon.
- Afterlife Express: It comes at midnight every few months to a specific platform; you ride it until you're ready to move on.
- Alternate Universe: Alien invaders seem to love leaping out of black holes to attack trains in Manabu's universe.
- Also, the series is part of the Leijiverse, see that entry below for more details.
- Amazon Brigade: Spica Platoon.
- Anyone Can Die: Mostly one-off or minor characters die, but this series practically does the worst thing imaginable and kills off Bruce.
- Badass Army: The SDF
- Bittersweet Ending
- Big Lipped Alligator Moment: The time tunnels, Afterlife Express, and that planet with the memory-stealing spirit are all radically at odds with the tone of the rest of the series, and none of them are ever mentioned again.
- Bloodless Carnage: Averted viciously. Characters bleed easily and gunfights can get incredibly violent.
- Boobs of Steel: Julia from Spica Platoon
- Cool Train: Big One, and all the other engines used by the SDF.
- Dying Alone: Bruce and at a gas station of all places.
- Filler: The second series is full of these. Then again, it's an episodic show where plot development is kept in the background until the final battle with aliens that are pissed off of humans spreading the railways into their territorial space.
- Five-Man Band:
- Heroic Sacrifice: Vega Platoon and pretty much some of the minor characters.
- Hot Springs Episode: Episode 19, which served as comedic relief, especially with the violence that constantly goes on.
- Ms. Fanservice: Yuki Sexaroid. And Louise to some extent.
- Monster of the Week
- Plant Aliens: The mysterious aliens that keep showing up look like human-shaped plants under their armor.
- Ridiculously Human Robot: Seriously, there is no way to tell Yuki's one until she says it outright.
- Sacrificial Lion: Goddamnit, Matsumoto, was killing Bruce really necessary?
- Shout-Out: The joker in a deck of cards at one point is Captain Harlock.
- Stock Footage: The animations of the trains moving through space and Big One's launch sequence. You'll also hear the same bits of dialogue being reused each time for the latter.
- Tear Jerker: Every episode to some extent has one, especially when minor characters die.
- Bruce's death if you want to go that far.
- Theme Tune Cameo: Manabu gets roped into singing the theme in the Hot Springs Episode.
- Time Travel: Manabu falls back in time to just before his brother's death... in the third episode.
- Troperiffic: We have the reluctant hero, the male partner that bullies him, the girl who has mixed feelings for him, a steel-hardened captain, a sexy nurse robot, and a chronic gambler among them. Now throw in a basic scenario with predictable one-off stories. Matsumoto does this all the time but this never stops his works from being fun.
- Wagon Train to the Stars: The Galaxy Railways themselves.
- War Is Hell: Even women and children are never safe