->''I'm not sure what happiness really is.''

'''''Night on The Galactic Railroad''''' (銀河鉄道の夜, romanised ''Ginga Tetsudou no Yoru'') is a 1927 novel by Japanese children's book author Kenji Miyazawa. Considered a classic in Japan, it has since been adapted into an [[FilmOfTheBook animated film]] and numerous stage plays. ''Night on the Galactic Railroad'' is a MindScrew tale peppered with a good bit of religious symbolism, but its that special kind Mind Screw the kind where you can [[FridgeBrilliance actually understand things if you give them a good bit of thought]].

A boy named Giovanni, while going to get milk for his mother, decides to take a rest under the starry sky... and [[DeusExMachina suddenly]] finds himself aboard a magical train. His best friend Campanella happens to be riding with him in the same car. The train in question is traveling along The Milky Way, heading for an unknown destination.

The film changes all but a few characters from humans to [[FunnyAnimal anthropomorphic cats]], apparently, to honor the author's belief in reincarnation. Also, to honor Miyazawa's love for {{UsefulNotes/Esperanto| The Universal Language}} the film was alternatively named ''Nokto de la Galaksia Fervojo''. All signs and "chapter titles" in the film are also in Esperanto. There was a decent English dub released in 2001 starring Creator/VeronicaTaylor and Creator/CrispinFreeman, but it's [[KeepCirculatingTheTapes out-of-print]], and the DVD is nigh-impossible to find for less than 70 USD. Not any more! DiscotekMedia has announced a DVD and Blu-ray release for 2015.

Consists of:
* The original novel by Miyazawa Kenji, published posthumously in 1934. Four drafts are known to exist, of which the last one is the best-known.
* A 1985 animated film directed by Gisaburoo Sugii.
* A 1986 theatrical drama by Sou Kitamura, titled ''Sou Kou: Ginga Tetsudou no Yoru'' (想稿・銀河鉄道の夜).
* A theatrical sketch in a 2002 play consisting of Kenji's works, written by Yutaka Narui.
* A 2004 musical by the Warabiza performing arts company.
* A 2011 play in English by the University of Massachusetts.

Not to be confused with ''Manga/GalaxyExpress999''.

Compare ''[[Literature/ArashiNoYoruNi Arashi no Yoru ni]]'', an animated film adaptation of a children's book also directed by Gisaburoo. Contrast with ''[[Anime/TheLifeOfGuskouBudori The Life of Guskou Budori]]'', another adaptation of Miyazawa's book, ''also'' by Gisaburoo.


!! The animated film provides examples of:
* AdaptationDistillation: Some things in the book Miyazawa didn't specify, so Gisaburo had to use his imagination. The director also added the blind conductor to the story.
* AdultFear: Dying and leaving your children alone.
** [[spoiler:Your children drowning.]]
* [[spoiler:AfterlifeExpress]]
* AllJustADream: Somewhat subverted.
* AnAesop: Use your life to the fullest while you still have it, and live for others.
* BittersweetEnding: [[spoiler: Campanella is dead and Giovanni is devastated about it. However, it's implied that Giovanni's father might come back home after all, so it's not all so bad.]]
* UsefulNotes/EsperantoTheUniversalLanguage: All text in the film is written in it. The movie's alternative name is mentioned above. This was done because the original book's author loved that language.
* FunnyAnimal: Almost all the characters are cats occupying human roles.
* HeroicSacrifice: [[spoiler: Campanella saved one of the kids who had been cruel to Giovanni, but at the expense of his own.]]
* KidsAreCruel: Played straight with Giovanni and Campanella's classmates (especially Zanelli), who tease Giovanni about his missing father (who has failed to return from a fishing trip) and frequently ostracize him. Averted with Campanella and Giovanni, who are very thoughtful and courteous kids; even the way [[spoiler: Campanella died]] makes it obvious that he's the exact opposite of this trope.
* MindScrew: That special, rare case, when all becomes clear near the end.
* UsefulNotes/RMSTitanic: Referenced.
* SceneryPorn: The visuals and locations play an important role in telling the story, so much attention has been paid to their design and they are frequently focused upon.
* TheStoic: Campanella.