First Impressions – Rail Wars!


Is it Batteru on the Tracks?

skylionJust given the general description I was wondering what I was getting into. At the very least I was expecting something like Servant x Service. So with that in mind, what kind of ride are we on, HWY?



spring14-highw Battle on the rails! Strategic movements of troops and materiel, critical supply lines. Or maybe even tracklaying battles, like John Henry Versus the Steam Drill. That’s what the name Rail Wars evokes, isn’t it?

What Rail Wars Really Are

Rail Wars-Winning the teacher's approval

Aoi is totally the teacher’s pet

Highway: I’ll be honest. I thought this was gonna be something completely different from what it was. Honestly, something like above. But right from the start it was both something more ordinary and yet something that will, I think, ultimately be far more interesting and sustainable. Rather than battles, this is actually about the adventures of trainees in the On-the-job Training program with Japan National Railways (an alternate version of reality, although it probably doesn’t make much difference in Japan whether the railways are privately owned or nationalized) . And in order to get us to our main characters being in their job, this first episode took care of the whole month of pre-qualifying to become an employee trainee. Learning how to deal with unruly customers, threats, and even how to run a steam train. There’s definitely a little confusion on my part whether all the trainees for the security force are already employees, or if they’re trying to change to the security force, but that doesn’t really matter.

Rail Wars-Flying Sakura

Flying Aoi

Skylion: From the start I really dig that Naoto’s character likes both trains, and the idea of very stable employment. This sort of infrastructure is not going anywhere, anytime soon in Japanese society, so it makes it a great kick to have an advocation meeting a vocation. Also, dig that FukuJun voice. There is something in his range that suits this sort of character perfectly. Even though most of the background was straightforward, it was delivered with pep. He works well with the rest of the cast, too. We have Maaya Uchida’s Haruka Koumi, a young lady whose bust defies physics, but whose personality and intelligence defies expectations. I’m liking her. A bit better than Manami Numakura’s Aoi Sakurai man-hating, shoot the molesters schtick. It got old the first minute. But for all her talk, she meets Koumi-san’s expectation defying with some serious low gravity fighting moves. Rounding out the cast is the dependable brick, Satoshi Hino’s Shou Iwaizumi. Tell him to do it, and he will. Unless it’s a bit complex, that is.

The Operations of the Show

Rail Wars-It's not just shoveling, it's how you shovel

It’s not about how much coal you throw, it’s about how you throw the coal

skylion: So with our characters in place we have a good premiere episode that builds this team up from start to finish. In the montage they covered quite a bit of training from engine operations and naming structure, weapons and defensive awareness, and station operations. They aren’t afraid to take risks to protect the public, and boy can she shovel coal the right way. I rather liked that detail, that you have to shape the coal and that it takes teamwork to maximize efficiency. All of them together bring the necessary skills to the story and bring us a good amount of action and suspense along the way. They were probably out of their depth in apprehending the purse snatchers, but you have to salute the attempt, they were someones heroes.

Rail Wars-First day on the job is making beds

First day spent making beds on the train

Highway: Unfortunately, someone’s heroes isn’t their boss, who has to deal with the ruckus they made. Also, they were so far out of position, going all the way to the end of the line, that there had to be some toes stepped on. I couldn’t believe that they would have the discretion to travel that far from their base of operations. But throughout the show, I thought the animation from studio Passione, moving up to their first full-length TV show (their only other production is Haitai Nanafa, a short), was ok although there were a few continuity breaks (and were they on a steam train simulator? The holodeck? What was that?), and the story composition from Masashi Suzuki (not really a name that I follow but looking at their list of work it kind of lights a bulb above my head) falls right in line with other works he’s done, like Kanokon, Yuushibu, Sacred Blacksmith, and Shuffle. That explains the bit of ‘bounce’ and male gaze that we saw in the first episode here, and I’d expect that to definitely continue. The OP may be the best Minori Chihara song I’ve heard, and the ED, Overdriver by ZAQ, pulls out a electronica rap style that works pretty well, and gets back to ZAQ’s kinda unconventional sounds, a lot better than some of her recent efforts have been to my ears.

Rail Wars-Of course he gropes her

Boob gropes? Sure, why not


Though it looked to be rather basic in it’s plot and characters, I like where this is starting. It feels stable, like they got all the bases necessary to build up the rest of the story in the bag first thing, and can now concentrate on how these guys do their jobs. I’ll be taking this train to the next station….


I had a lot of fun watching this show, and I love that they worked a little bit of train information in, but without bogging it down too much. It will be enough to show some of the trains and mention some differences between them. I don’t know what they’ll do for some of the more modern trains, since they only showed what looked to be either a Type 0 or 200 series Shinkansen, and it was probably a Type 0 if they say the speed is 200 km/h (the 200 can reach 275 km/h). It’d be cool if they had some 700 series, but I won’t hold my breath. I will definitely keep watching, tho.


We live, laugh, enjoy and strictly believe on "more the merrier". When together, we usually come up with very chatty, conversation-based episodics and interesting posts.
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15 Responses to “First Impressions – Rail Wars!”

  1. Sumairii says:

    Yeah, ZAQ has been pretty uninspired as of late, so her little number in this ED was a great comeback.

    As far as the show goes, the premiere definitely did an excellent job of speeding through the gang getting used to each other, and no doubt the main focus will be on their antics fighting crime as it crops up in the train stations. I just worry that it might start getting a bit formulaic and tedious after a while, but so far so good.

    • Highway says:

      There is supposed to be a longer story arc or two, not just ‘Catch the bad guy of the week’ stories, so we’ll see how that will go.

  2. zztop says:

    Rail Wars is based on the light novel series of the same name by Toyoda Takumi, and 8 volumes have been released so far starting from 2012.

  3. Kyokai says:

    I fail to see how in the world that little tumble turned into the usual boob grope? Her back was against him so how did they fall to end up in that position? Anime magic? 😛 Weird ecchi sequence really doesn’t work in building interest for trains.

    • skylion says:

      The Anti-molester particle is present everywhere. We all know that the negatively charge male hand and the positively charged female boob are strong attractions. But the A-m particle keeps them both at distance. As we have seen in numerous case studies, accidents such as this have an opposing reaction to the A-m particle. As a result, the -hand and +boob are drawn together…

      • Joojoobees says:

        Excellent explanation, Sky. Now I can go back to watching anime, secure in my belief that I learned something today.

        • skylion says:

          Well, Kyo thought it was “magic”. I wanted to assert that there is actually a scientific reason for this…

    • BlackBriar says:

      I fail to see how in the world that little tumble turned into the usual boob grope? Her back was against him so how did they fall to end up in that position?

      That has happened so many times in such, impossible unbelievable ways that at some point, you’re going to get numb from it and little by little, you’re going to see it again and it probably won’t phase you.

      • Highway says:

        Given the ‘pedigree’ of the series writer, I’m totally not surprised at the bouncy boobs and groping fall. I mean, it’s totally unrealistic (If I fell and put my hand out to stop me and it landed on some girl’s boob, she’d be all “OWWWWW WTF THAT HURT!”

        • skylion says:

          It is entirely possible that the A-m particle are not completely gone, thus providing some sort of buffer, thus making it not hurt. More evidence is needed.

  4. BlackBriar says:

    Honestly, a real nice opening and surprise. Like last season’s Nanana’s Buried Treasure, Rail Wars is shaping up to be more than its premise would like to present. The fair amount of action convinces me of that. FukuJun using his Yuuta voice. Naoto is quickly established as the noncombatant type but he’s proven to be an aspiring strategist after coming up with the idea of cutting the criminals off at the next station. A long shot, however, the result was worth the risk. I’m looking forward to more and Aoi is an early favorite.

    • skylion says:

      I hope they drop that man-hating shtick for Aoi…

      • BlackBriar says:

        My prediction is that shtick is a prelude for her falling head over heels for one. Tsundere tendencies will be a strong possibility towards that end.

  5. Joojoobees says:

    A decent start, although I agree that there was a lot of formula and stuff that barely made any sense. I certainly don’t expect this will deliver a surprise hit, or be remembered fondly as one of my all-time faves, but it might be a fun past-time in what (to me) seems a pretty underwhelming Summer.

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