Rail Wars! 02-03

Rail Wars-They Done Blowed Up Our Show

They done blowed up our show!

spring14-highwUp this week is Rail Wars! About halfway through the second episode, I wasn’t too sure that I’d keep blogging it, but there was something at the end of that first episode that made me start to think that maybe there’s something to this show that would command some more attention, or at least support it. What was that?

Wild Bomb Chase!

Rail Wars-Just gotta get Koumi's butt in there

This show gets Koumi’s butt on screen more than all the parts of Iwaizumi combined…

Episode 2 started off with what seemed to be a pretty standard terrorist plot, with a report of explosives planted in a far-off station. So the fancy response team, headed by Gonou, heads out in their goon squad outfits far away from Tokyo Station. I have no idea why the 5 members of D4 (the crew that our heroes are assigned to) are standing by watching the special black train roll off. Seemed unnecessarily staged. But after that, they ramped up the dichotomy between Sakurai and Takayama, one who wants to be in on the action, and the other who only wanted to be a train driver. And even if Sakurai thinks that Takayama is a bit of a wuss, she starts to realize that he’s actually good at a lot of his job. Sakurai can’t even keep her gun, which is taken from her by Iida in another random moment of fanservice.

Rail Wars-Touching moment

Sakurai breaks down in relief and gratitude, maybe the beginning of a deeper relationship?

But the peaceful / stultifying life of D4 ends when the real bombs start going off in Tokyo Station. And it’s interesting that they’re willing to hand over the ransom, because it’s something of a rather trivial amount for the station. But there’s still a will to find the bomb, especially on Takayama’s part, once again surprising Sakurai. And they get lucky with a timely deus ex machina of the dog they found before giving up the location of the bomb (in his case). The show did do a fairly good job having Sakurai and Takayama work together on the bomb, and use Chekhov’s liquid nitrogen, set up from before in the restaurant, to freeze the timer on the bomb. But the thing that made me be more interested in the show was after the bomb was defused, where Sakurai trusted Takayama enough in the relief of beating the timer to break down in his arms… just for a little while.

Kidnapping Time!

Rail Wars-Not Wearing Headphones

At least Sasshou wasn’t wearing her headphones while working

The Police Action Of The Week continued in episode 3, where an old classmate of Takayama’s, now joining the OJT as a server in the restaurant (that really needs a salaried OJT?), shows up at Tokyo Station. Of course, Sasshou brings Chekhov’s ears to this episode, able to identify the other trains by their sounds and even Takayama by his footsteps. So when her friend goes missing, it’s her identification of the sounds on her phone, plus knowledge of the rare locations in the rail system, that let them go find her.

Rail Wars-Of course it's this place

Convenient, deshou?

Apart from the predicability of the plot, there were a couple things about the episode that I liked. One was the rather slow pace, keeping the tension up while taking their time to find Kaori. It reminded me a lot of shows from the 1970’s, which have a much slower pace than we’re used to now, but were still interesting and exciting. The other is the hinting by Iida and Gunou that there are plans for D4 that they don’t know about, or at least that’s what it seemed to me. It would be a lot weirder if Iida is finding Takayama interesting just because he’s the least one-dimensional of the whole group.

Rail Wars-Fanservice Character Koumi

Koumi is “helping” the PLOT


Rail Wars! Is keeping it pretty interesting for a fairly standard police procedural. There are some things I really like about the show, and some things that really annoy me. I’m starting to wonder if Passione is putting in egregious continuity errors on purpose, kind of like an easter egg of incompetence in every episode, since the first episode had the missing ear protection at the shooting range, then the bomb episode had the missing suspension wires for the now mysteriously anti-gravity bomb, or Sasshou calling every minute but Takayama’s phone not ringing, even though he’s got a strong signal. Or maybe it’s just cheapy production, like not finding a native English speaker to be the foreign guy asking for directions. And of course you have to throw in silly random fanservice, like Koumi’s boobs interfering with Takayama’s clerical work. But even with that, I find the show interesting to watch, and the characters seem to be making progress. There seems to be an overarching theme, and some reason that they’ve put these four characters together in what is, essentially, a made-up unit for them. If it wasn’t, why would they put 4 noobs in OJT in the same squad with Iida-san, who is probably the most hands-off manager / trainer I’ve seen. Hopefully the show keeps up this level of intrigue, and maybe the plots could get a little better? Maybe?

Rail Wars-How many characters Rail Wars-There are FOUR characters

How many characters on the left… then how many on the right? And it went back and forth twice!


Proving that you don't have to be young to love anime, I enjoy all genres and styles of shows. If it's not hurting anyone else, you should never be ashamed of what you like!
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14 Responses to “Rail Wars! 02-03”

  1. zztop says:

    The LN author has twittered his concern at the poor quality control of the anime, given several glaring animation errors throughout the episodes so far.

    • Highway says:

      Yeah, most of them are pretty obvious, and pretty unbelievable that they’re missed. I’m finding it something to notice, but for me it’s not something that gets in the way of the story, such as that is.

  2. Joojoobees says:

    This show certainly has its weak points. On the other hand I feel (hope?) there is some interesting plot that demands this particular setup. I’m guessing we will eventually have some sort of main plot line regarding the terrorists that goes beyond single episode threats. Still difficult to tell if it will be worth the wait or not.

    • Highway says:

      That’s pretty much exactly how I feel about it. There are obvious weaknesses, especially in production. But there are also some hints, things that give a feeling that, for whatever reason, there’s more to this anime and it will pull something interesting out of this setup it’s doing. It feels like, so far, the anime is just a little bit out of Passione’s grasp, and that’s why the production errors, but hopefully the story isn’t beyond them.

  3. HannoX says:

    This seems pretty much like a run-of-the-mill anime to me–nothing to get excited about, but not so bad as to drop it just yet. Probably the thing I like best about it is that the big-boobed girl isn’t a clumsy airhead. God, I’m so sick of that stereotype in my anime!

    • BlackBriar says:

      True, it’s one the “on the fence” animes. Not bad but not great either. Who knows? Maybe it’ll keep this acceptable pace until the end.

  4. BlackBriar says:

    So far, the series has established itself in middle ground and hasn’t really moved from that point. It’s not rising into excellence but at the same time not falling into mediocrity. The characters continue to bring a fair amount of interest and they’re sure dedicated to their work. I want to like Sakurai. She’s feisty and strong willed so I hope she doesn’t go overboard with her snapping turtle tendencies. Particularly around Takayama. Their teamwork on the bomb incident was good.

    The “engrish” scene in episode 3 was really sketchy. Hard not to roll your eyes but they’re trying, gotta give them credit. However, it’s ruined when full Japanese words join the translation. Most of it was English until they got to “bullet train” Assuming this gets a dub, I wonder how they’re going to make and approach with the dialogue since it’s a reinforced fact Takayama isn’t skilled in the English language.

    • Highway says:

      See, I don’t know if it’s a problem that the non-Japanese used ‘Shinkansen’. To me that didn’t strike me as an issue. It’s the proper name for the train, so it’s not out of the question that the guy would use it. I still don’t know why they don’t go find one of the myriad English teaching gaijin all over the country to do the two lines for the english speakers, tho.

      I like that they haven’t turned Sakurai into a complete man-hating character, as she seemed to be going from the first encounter with her. The “friendly sniping” with Takayama works pretty well. And we’ll see if this turns into some sort of harem show, or if it will be more of an OTP show with Takayama and Sakurai, the two I think are more likely to end up interested in each other. Takayama and Koumi is just too easy.

      • Joojoobees says:

        My guess is harem, because I think Koumi has been dropping hints that the reason she joined the JNR is to be with Takayama.

        • Highway says:

          Really? That’s something I completely missed. As far as I could tell she’s not from the same high school (although Mari is) so I don’t know how she’d know about Takayama. And she hasn’t been giving indications that she’s trying to show off with the “here let me help you” stuff, although I worry that her role in D4 is too much like the Mikuru Asahina Mascot role.

  5. Nerazim says:

    about the only error i didn’t pick up on was the one where the manager pretty much disappeared (last screenshot)…
    but i was probably trying to figure out why Kuomi was so far forward of the others when a train’s about to leave…

    • Highway says:

      I’m really not trying to do a catalog of their production errors. There are more you see when you go through the show a few times (like the blank posters they’re putting up).

      I think it’s telling that even with these really QUALITY moments, there’s still seeming to be significant interest in the show.

  6. d-LaN says:

    While every1 is complaining abt the production errors, I’m just there looking out for Koumi boobs and Sakurai ass. And trying to wrap my head on the trains talk I swear!

    • Highway says:

      There is a LOT of ass in this show. Sakurai ass, Koumi ass, Iida ass, even Gunou ass. And always in skirts that are a little tight.

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