7.2/10
1,188
27 user 7 critic

Ginga-tetsudô no yoru (1985)

Two kittens go on a metaphysical journey on a magical railroad train.

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(novel), (idea) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

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

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>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

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Release Date:

7 February 1986 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Night on the Galactic Railroad  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Quotes

Giovanni: The scorpion said "If I had accepted my fate and let the weasel eat me, at least then my death would have some purpose. Now I am going to die alone in this hole, my death will help no-one". Then the scorpion burst into flames.
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Connections

Referenced in Revolutionary Girl Utena: The Movie (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

Nearer, My God, To Thee
Lyrics by Sarah F. Adams
Music by Lowell Mason
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User Reviews

Ranks among the most epic Anime titles
11 November 2002 | by See all my reviews

This film is up there with all of Miyazaki's works, including "Spirited Away," "Princess Mononoke," and "My Neighbour Totoro."

It has a very surreal quality and a deceptive cuteness to it, which may trick you into thinking it trite or superficial. However, like some of the best Anime out there, "cute" can leave you open to some horrifying consequences. Obviously it's not as heavy as "Grave of the Fireflies" or as light hearted and uplifting as "Totoro", but this film lies somewhere in between. I haven't read the book, but I'll bet it's similar in theme and scope to "Le Petit Prince" by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.

I'm certainly not a Christian, and often tire easily when confronted by blatant Christian imagery in film, literature, and music. However, this film requires a degree of spirituality to get its point across, and the Christian images present, while overpowering at times, represent a nebulous kind of spirituality -- as if it's saying "there is a force out there which helps determine our fates, but I can't define what it is."

For example, the film takes place in some alternate European world (most likely Italy) and the characters have Italian names. But they're anthropomorphic cats and don't appear to practice any kind of Christianity (they celebrate moon festivals, and sail lantern boats in the river). However, they later meet up with human children on the train, and listen to Christian hymns on the wireless ("Nearer my God to Thee"). They pass several different layers of Heaven, and Giovani, the main character, has a special ticket that allows him passage to "the one True Heaven".

The film, like the train, takes its time to get where it's going, and some powerful messages come across to the viewer. Unlike many Anime and Western films, this one does not end with a happy and neatly tied-up ending, nor does it take pains to explain the things that go on inside the train. It leaves that to the viewer. This is what makes good art films. This is what makes a film worthwhile.


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