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[R2 DVD box art]
AKA: 銀河鉄道物語 ~永遠への分岐点~ (Ginga Tetsudou Monogatari: Eien e no Bunkiten)
Genre: Sci-fi drama.
Length: Television series, 24 episodes, 23 minutes each
Distributor: Currently unlicensed in North America.
Content Rating: PG (Light violence, death, adult themes.)
Related Series: all versions of Galaxy Express 999 and Captain Harlock, all variants of Galaxy Railways
Also Recommended: Star Blazers, Galaxy Express 999, watching the first season and forgetting this one ever existed.
Notes:
Rating:
 

The Galaxy Railways: Eternal Divergence

Synopsis

The Galaxy Railways has ever been the meeting point with fate for all her passengers. Many years ago, Yuuki Wataru gave his life for the sake of the Railways and even his children. Years later, the youngest son would eventually take up the mantle and join the SDF.

This is the continuation of the story about his journey.

Review

I must admit I was delighted when the first few episodes of the second season of Galaxy Railways rolled around. (No pun intended.) The original show had been a rather pleasant surprise in a long line of shows based on the concept of spacefaring trains and boys becoming men, which seems to be a common theme in anything that has the name Matsumoto Leiji in the credits.

And yet, it took only a few episodes for the disappointment to set in.

I couldn't understand why at first either. The introduction -- including the opening theme -- sounded like it took itself far less serious than the one from the first show. In fact, the song itself was rather pleasant, much as I normally dislike songs that mix English and Japanese, or rather, throw in a few token English lines for no particular reason.

As far as art and animation went, I couldn't really spot any major differences either. It's a serviceable show in both regards, a little bit worse for wear, maybe, and still with some blatantly obvious CG used for the trains. Although the only really bad thing about that is that sometime, various action scenes would look somewhat odd, with some stiff and unnatural train and joint movement when things heated up. Not that I'm professing any expertise on the dynamics of trains in space or anything, mind you. I could have lived with it, had it been the only problems Galaxy Railways 2 had.

On a hunch, I did a little research on the staff for the two shows. The director of the first season (Yukio Nishimoto) has also worked on stuff like Crest/Banner of the stars and Princess Tutu, two pretty large shows in their own right. Then, there's the director of the second season (Tsuneo Tominaga), who has shows like Genma Wars, Initial D season 2 and 4, Lime-iro Ryuukitan and Wind: A breath of heart (OAV) on his merit list. Decent shows in their own right, I guess, but they certainly lack the whole Galaxy Express feel. With the exception of one surprisingly serious and well made episode, Eternal Divergence feels more like light entertainment than space opera, which just doesn't work in the long run. Also, the comedy is just... well, take a look at the center image below. Now where have I seen that gag before? Hmmm....

Not that I'm saying Galaxy Railways is outright horrible, because it isn't, at least not until it nears its end and the main draw of the show is put into motion. Which is to say that until the turning point happens, Galaxy Railways 2 feels a little bit like a copy-and-paste kind of a deal, written by someone who doesn't really have the knack for this sort of thing, but nevertheless does a serviceable job out of it. Sure, it didn't really feel like average Matsumoto fare, but at least I was entertained.

But then, the main plot was put into motion and things just stopped making sense. I am very sorry about the spoilerish hints I'm about to lay on the table, but far better you hear this from me than having Galaxy Railways: Eternal Divergence steamroll you with what I consider to be a huge load of nonsense.

On a rescue mission near a dimensional fault line, the crew of SDF pick up a rescue pod. In it, they find a little girl, and seeing as she is a little girl with a gem on her forehead, I think it's safe to classify her "not evil". As it turns out, she's from another universe, which gains the attention of the upper management of Galaxy Railways. I was under the impression that Laila Destiny Shura was the one who basically lead the whole Galaxy Railways, but it seems as if I was wrong about that. Anyway, due to various circumstances, some of them rebellious, the Big 1 finds themselves lost in another universe, one that just happens to be where the girl's from.

Her name is Frell, by the way. Yeah, I don't know what to make of it either, but if anime shows can feature videogames named Hard On, I suppose you couldn't blame the creators of the show for making her name sound like something you wouldn't say in polite company, even if it's a rather tame something. But I digress.

Anyway, the show starts hinting that Manabu's father might still be alive, which was the point where this show REALLY careened off its uneven tracks. And... you know what? To hell with it! In this show, we learn that he DID actually survive a head-on collision (hard-on collision?) with a HUGE GODDAMN BATTLE CRUISER, riding Big 1 fast enough so that both of them ended up on the OTHER side of the dimensional border. Or fault line or whatever. And it just gets so much stupidly worse before the whole thing ends on a completely unrelated note. And by unrelated, I mean "having nothing to do with the first season". At all. Questions started mentally piling up, and they were still there as the end of the show rolled around.

Even now, as I write this, the bitter taste of disappointment still sours what would otherwise have been a decent show. While I realize this kind of contradicts our stance on not needing to write complete reviews on everything we watch, I would like to point out that the warning signs are still there. I guess I just wanted to believe this season could live up to the first.

It didn't.

If you're actually willing to stop watching this when the aforementioned plot element starts, feel free to add a star. Maybe one and a half star, since you can do that by virtue of not having to go by our rating system.Stig Høgset

Recommended Audience: Like the first season, this show seems to deal with various topics centered around violence and death, and should be treated as such. Nothing that teens can't handle, though, so don't worry about that.



Version(s) Viewed: Prerelase fansub
Review Status: Full (24/24)
The Galaxy Railways: Eternal Divergence © 2006 Planet / CBC