Galaxy Railways 24-26: The Bottom Line

There is plenty of excitement in these last three episodes, as one would expect.  Here’s a breakdown full of spoilers:

Leiji dials yay!

Episode 24:

a) Spica Platoon’s Flame Swallow is destroyed by the enemy.  Everyone is evacuated except Louis who drifts off into space and is assumed dead.

b) Vega Platoon rescues Spica but their own battle train (Iron Berger) is severely damaged.

c) Sirius Platoon reforms without authorization and launches its battle train Big One.

Episode 25:

d) Louis is captured by the enemy and released by an Istarionite sympathizer.

e) The half-repaired Iron Berger launches and defends Big One.  Iron Berger is destroyed and Vega Platoon annihilated.

Episode 26:

f) Louis figures out the enemy flagship’s weak point and relays the data to Big One.

g) Big One lands inside the enemy flagship and wreaks havoc.  The Alfort commander is killed and victory achieved.

Capt. Murase (Vega Platoon)

My final guess on the alien situation is as follows.  All the aliens we see in this series are from the planet Istarion, which has recently fallen to the Alfort Empire.  The Istarionites have been charged with destroying Galaxy Railways, though a number of them are still smarting from their own defeat and are unwilling to serve the Empire.  All of the Istarionites look pretty much the same: female plant-like humanoids.  What I initially thought were Metanoids turn out to be the very same aliens wearing masks and uniforms.  I’m kind of disappointed 😦

What happens in the battle here is what usually happens in the Leijiverse: 1) a tiny force (often a single ship) has to face a huge fleet; 2) the decision is made to strike the enemy flagship; 3) the attack succeeds; 4) victory is achieved.

This is a mixture of fantasy and nostalgia [fantastic nostalgia?] on Matsumoto’s part.  The Imperial Japanese Navy held strictly to Mahanian doctrine, which emphasized decisive battles with capital ships as targets.  The Japanese spent a lot of effort trying to bring the Americans to battle on these terms, and suffered incredibly for it.  In 1944 and 1945 things reached such an extreme point that accounts of the last few naval battles do read somewhat like a Matsumoto anime script, except that Japan always loses.  What was missing was friendly aliens to give the IJN a chance. So it’s interesting that Matsumoto’s sci fi battle strategy, rather than being an improvement upon wartime Japanese doctrine, is pretty much the same, except that the results are positive rather than negative.  Fantastic nostalgia…


Manabu’s last speech to Commander Foresis is very scary when you think about it.  Foresis tells him that the Galaxy Railways has expanded in our dimension to such an extent that it’s begun to have an effect on the Alfort dimension.  This is the reason the Empire wants to destroy it.  Manabu’s answer is to threaten to expand the company even more, potentially as far the Alfort dimension itself.

Why is this scary?  Well, Galaxy Railways is a corporation.  They charge money (lots of money) for their services.  They’ve become more powerful than most (all?) states in the galaxy and they even have an ominous intelligence gathering unit!  I don’t know about you, but I find this troubling…Be that as it may, overall I enjoyed this series.  The first 12 episodes were terribly slow, but the pace picked up dramatically in episode 13 and after that it was a very entertaining ride.  I’m glad I watched this!

I still like Spica.

NOTE: A translation comment.  There is a speech by Layla toward the end when she says “brave ones” will be needed in order to triumph over the situation.  The subs I was reading had “brave men“.  I thought it was an unfortunate translation because one of the things this show tried to do (and did quite well IMO) was to have both men and women contribute in an fundamental way to the SDF’s success.  The original term 者 is gender indefinite and it would have been far more appropriate to keep that inclusiveness in the English.

P.S. Did I miss something regarding Bruce’s death?  Was it really just a random act of violence?  It can’t have been!  I must have missed something!!  Someone tell me what happened to Bruce!!!

~ by Haloed Bane on December 19, 2010.

10 Responses to “Galaxy Railways 24-26: The Bottom Line”

  1. Yeah i didn’t care for Manabu’s speech too much when watching the dub. wounder if it got lost in translation because i though he was giving the generic let’s talk and we can work it out speech. Maybe something about not stopping progress tossed in. I’m going to look and see if this is episode is up on demand still from my cable provider.

    I have to say i felt out of place and Manabu was totally missing the bigger picture. That and it feels odd for such a big battle to be happening and not a sign of the Arcadia.

    oh and after watching this is just me or do the SPD trains seem undermaned?

    • SPD? You mean SDF? Hmmm.. the 999 runs with just the conductor, so I guess all is needed is soldiers, and yeah, 4 or 5 to a train seems a tiny number.

      A glimpse of the Arcadia would certainly have been nice 🙂

  2. That’s a great snapshot of Capt. Murase!

    Yes, that bastard Ivanov is a very disquieting sign. And again I wonder about Layla’s role in the GR.

    Why don’t you believe Bruce’s death was accidental? I liked it, for some reason. A death like that is part of the job, really, much more likely than dying a hero in a superbattle. And I liked Bruce’s whole last episode too – especially where he remarks that defending the universe means defending punks like those guys too. Something for Manabu to chew on…

    • No, you’re right, there is no reason to believe that Bruce’s death was anything but random. I was just paranoid that I had missed something…I guess I didn’t. It’s quite sad.

      • not so much random as unrelated to the larger invasion story. it looks like Bruce got shot by the punk’s he and manabu confronted earlier on the road. just a bit petty revenge.

        • Yeah, it’s remarkable isn’t? I’m not used to this kind of writing in anime, but it really gives it a lot of realism. Well done, though utterly tragic..

  3. Finally finished this thing, first complete series watched dubbed in quite some time. I agree that the action picked up toward the end, but it wasn’t really until these last three episodes that I felt a real sense of excitement watching the battle direction. I suppose it’s the certain victory that Matsumoto heroes are generally afforded.

    Manabu’s last speech to Commander Foresis is very scary when you think about it.

    Agreed. And while I’m not sure if it’s a common Leijiverse theme, the whole “humanity as disease” thing is rote for anime — Gainax has built almost all of its sci-fi series with it in mind. It did sound to me like gigantic hubris mixed with blatant disregard, to just say “our science can fix this.” As an American, I feel like we’ve created our own Galaxy Railways-esque system that brings the world to us in a different way, but still does so at the expense of everyone else. While Leiji might not be American, it is a creepy combo to watch the almost nationalistic spirit of his stories and think of our lifestyle over here.

    • Congrats on finishing it!!

      Humanity is a disease..yes, something like this comes up a lot in the Leijiverse. But Leiji’s point is that most people are silly and only a few people are cool, and the cool people usually end up saving the silly majority even though deep down they realize that these people are in some sense not deserving of being saved.

      Gunbuster is another series where humanity is very clearly a disease…that keeps on spreading.

  4. […] The tendency to send a small group against a massive fleet […]

  5. Okay, let’s not slam Matsumoto over the use of a single ship/train against an entire freaking fleet, since American media also depicts a “one ship vs an entire fleet” scenario too, but with planes and tanks most of the time. And of course, you really should look up the issues with the Ace Combat game series. Unlike Earth’s naval battles, we are looking at a single fast and agile space train taking on a bunch of relatively slow (by comparison) giant star ships by flying smack through their formation. The armada ships can’t discharge their main armaments once the train gets too close because they will risk inflicting friendly fire! And one can also assume that Big One isn’t the only combat train around (yes, I know many were destroyed, but couldn’t we assume that some emergency reserve units could be improvised back at HQ to compensate for the lack of proper units?). The other surviving combat trains might have acted as a diversion to get the majority of Alfort ships away from Big One while Big One made its attack run. There wasn’t enough time for the developers think about it, and it appears that the Alfort units didn’t consider Big One as a valid threat (I mean, they were barely using full fire power to engage Big One, so I assumed they believed that Big One was at most a nuisance based on the demises of other trains).

    And another thing: Matsumoto also seems to criticize stuff that military-run governments did (intelligence officers and generals in general [ha ha] generally missing the whole point of things despite their role, which reminds me that CIA tried over 600 ways to kill Fidel Castro without any success, not even shaving his beard shorter by one hair), such as blatant militant expansionism and propaganda that painted pictures of one’s foes as completely inexcusable evil and treachery (this applies to Ivanov and Foresis). Let’s see here: the Galaxy Railways are accidentally causing problems for the Alfort dimension. The response of the Empire to the accidental byproduct of a railway company? “KILL ALL HUMANS!!” That’s basically the same as Ivanov’s “everything is for my ambition” motive, where he dismisses a defector as a spy without even talking to her (even going so far as to demand she be tortured to death just for his own sick pleasure, in my opinion)!

    So if humanity is a “disease,” does the Empire count as cancer for its blatant expansion into the universe of the railways and blatant attacks on unarmed civilians? You cannot kill off the flu with cancer, so how does conquest stop environmental damage? It doesn’t. For all I care, the invasion caused the railway’s effect upon the other dimension to become worse (meddling with chaotic systems is generally a bad idea in the first place).

    Did I mess up? SAY SOMETHING!!

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