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:
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!!!