Galaxy Railways 19, 21: Universal Dandy
I didn’t realize this was going to be a harem show!!
Hmm, so, not content with having his team co-members Louis Fort Drake (daughter of a President) and Yuki (a Sexaroid) hankering after him, Manabu keeps spreading his charm across the galaxy. 21 episodes in and he’s inducted half of the the Spica Platoon and an alien vegetable woman called Leafle into his fanclub. Seriously, the man has pretty ladies, robots and aliens (super aliens, from another dimension) all wrapped around his little finger. And in true harem anime fashion, he does nothing with it 😦
After watching episode 19 I immediately shipped Manabu with Ai. I know Ai is going to fail miserably here, I know. Louis has gotten too much attention to fade away, but I can’t help myself. Louis is silly and Ai is cool. Plus it’s never a good idea to date someone in your own work section. That’s just plain common sense.
Episode 19 was well done because it poked fun at what I consider the main flaw in the show: its corniness. The very first scene has the SDF receiving a report of an emergency childbirth situation. The situation is tense, Chief Todo dispatches a platoon. Then there’s a distress signal about some drunkards. Another platoon is dispatched. Next a creature is spotted building a nest in the way of a GR train. Apparently the critter’s hair has gotten all over the train passengers and they’re in trouble. It was at this point, only at this point, that I realized the whole thing was a joke! When the hair situation came up I went: ah, they’re doing a parody of themselves!!
It took me a while to realize it because the show does tend to go overboard on its Tension to Actual Danger Ratio. Especially when you consider that a lot of the episodes have been concerned with ghost stories and ghosts don’t even exist IMHO…
Incidentally, the situation here is that Vega, Spica and Sirius go on an onsen (hot springs) trip together. I would like someone to explain to me why these three platoons have to hang out together all the time (I’m talking within the logic of the show)!
Anyway, it was an enjoyable episode, especially how they set themselves up to look for Tora the cat. The parody doesn’t make the show’s flaws go away, but it might make them a bit more lovable as we move along. Oh, and the Yuki fan-service in this show is downright odd!
The one thing that makes this series stand out in the Leijiverse is the dynamic of teams. Seldom do we see a Matsumoto show where issues of friendly rivalry and competition (so fundamental in anime, and archetypically based on high school experiences) can be treated. The Arcadia and the Yamato travel alone. Maetel and Tetsuro travel alone. In Galaxy Railways the chemistry between the SDF platoons (and also the SPG) allows for interesting situations, and in these last few episodes the writers have done a good job of exploiting the possibilities in the setup.
Episode 21 is much more serious, and it goes some way to explain to us what’s with those mysterious aliens we first saw in episode 13. It turns out they’re neither Mazone nor Metanoid, but extradimensional beings from a galaxy called Alfort. There is an empire in Alfort that has systematically conquered that galaxy and now is intent on crossing over to our dimension and taking over our own galaxy. One of the planets conquered by the Alfort Empire is Istarion, and its technologically savvy citizens have been coerced into serving their new overlords. One of them escapes and tries to warn the SDF. She is called Leafle and she is very interested in Manabu.
The parallels with the Mazone are still striking, even more so. Both the Alfort troops and the Istarionites burst into blue flames when killed. Back in episode 18 one of the Istarionites was able to produce a hallucination of the Grim Reaper in order to confuse Bruce. This reminds one of the various hallucinations Daiba endured against Lola the Mazone in SPCH. The Istarionites are visibly plant-like, but the head of Special Intelligence in this episode refers to the Imperial troops as vegetable lifeforms as well. So there seem to be a set of qualities that aliens from the Alfort Galaxy share (or maybe these qualities are shared by all lifeforms in their dimension as such). And these qualities are practically the same as the Mazone have…
What’s important in the end, though, is the fact that Leafle likes Manabu. I’m sure there’s probably some major interdimensional secret that she wanted to impart to him as well but, there’s no mistake in that look she gave him. That’s Love 😀
NOTE: Chief Todo is no. 2 under Commander Layla in the Galaxy Railways administration . The Todo name (藤堂) is famous in Japan as it belongs to the samurai clan that ruled the Tsu domain throughout the Tokugawa period. I don’t know if the writers had this association in mind, but it’s a nice name for a leader (and very aesthetically pleasing too, as it literally means “Wisteria Hall”).