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Kenji Miyazawa's Night on the Galactic Railroad (1985)

Ginga-tetsudô no yoru (original title)
Two kittens go on a metaphysical journey on a magical railroad train.


Kenji Miyazawa (novel), Hiroshi Masumura (idea) | 1 more credit »
1 win. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Mayumi Tanaka ... Giovanni (voice)
Chika Sakamoto Chika Sakamoto ... Campanella (voice)
Junko Hori Junko Hori ... Zanelli (voice)
Ayumi Ishijo Ayumi Ishijo ... (voice)
Kaori Nakahara Kaori Nakahara ... Kaoru (voice)
Yoshie Shimamura Yoshie Shimamura ... Givoanni no haha (voice)
Shun Yashiro Shun Yashiro ... (voice)
Reiko Niimura Reiko Niimura ... Old Woman (voice)
Chikao Ohtsuka ... Birdcatcher (voice)
Hidehiro Kikuchi Hidehiro Kikuchi ... Young Man (voice)
Yuriko Fuchizaki Yuriko Fuchizaki ... (voice)
Tetsuya Kaji Tetsuya Kaji ... Train Conductor Shashou (voice)
Takeshi Aono ... Wireless operator (voice)
Seiji Kurasaki Seiji Kurasaki ... Milkman (voice)
Gorô Naya ... Dr. Bulganillo, Campanella's Father (voice)


On the night of a cat village's Festival of the Stars, a kitten and his friend go on an celestial journey on a magical space locomotive. On that trip, they have various stops where they meet strange sights, even more unusual fellow passengers and learn some lessons of life on their trip to the terminus of the Galactic Railroad. Written by Kenneth Chisholm <kchishol@execulink.com>

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Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


The film is based on an unfinished children's novel by Kenji Miyazawa. He started work on the novel in 1924, and kept polishing the work until his untimely death in 1933. In adapting the film, the novel's unfinished portions (mostly the middle sections) were handled by writer Minoru Betsuyaku. See more »


Campanella: I don't know how to explain it; but I think that people are happiest when they do something truly good. That's why I believe my mother will forgive me for what I've done.
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Referenced in Mawaru-Penguindrum (2011) See more »


Hallelujah Chorus
from "Messiah"
by George Frideric Handel (as Georg Friedrich Händel)
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User Reviews

Metaphysical Feline Travelogue Aboard Space Locomotive
6 October 2010 | by SeragovitzSee all my reviews

Superior to almost every toe-curling art-house flick that touches on similar territory Night on the Galactic Railroad says more and presents itself better than one would expect coming from a mere animated movie. Indeed if this was re-shot in live action, maybe in black and white and dubbed into French it would become a canonical post new-wave classic: to be fawned over by leagues of pea-brained cineastes. However it remains a little known and rarely talked about anime that has been seen by more fans of Galaxy Express 999 than by fans of Alan Resnais. Based upon the short children's work of the same name by Kenji Miyazawa the tale is ostensibly of a young cats (Giovanni) coming to terms with death by means of a surrealist adventure along the titular Galactic Railroad. The film contains a sequence of superbly realised vignettes that gradually paint the picture of Giovanni's life at home; his ill mother and itinerant father, bullying classmates and later the fantastical sights and stations he encounters on his one way ticket to the edge of the universe. The train he boards carries with it passengers of many creeds and persuasions: some disembark at the Pliocene Coast to further the cause of science others exit only to blithely tramp towards an afterlife of either Pagan, Christian or Buddhist contrivance . . . but young Giovanni stays on until the end. The less alert may mistake this film for some sort of religious allegory but it is nothing of the sort: Giovanni's revelation at the end seems more a triumph of moral philosophy. All text in the movie is written in Esperanto and the locations on Earth are reminiscent of small town medieval Europe. Beautifully scripted, animated and immaculately directed by Sugii Gisaburo, Night on the Galactic Railroad is one of the unsung masterpieces of cinema.

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Japanese | Esperanto | English

Release Date:

7 February 1986 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Night on the Galactic Railroad See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


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Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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