Rail Wars – 12 [END]

Rail Wars-Harem Wars

Harem Wars!

spring14-highwUp and down, up and down, that’s been the story of Rail Wars this whole season. So how did it end?


Uhhh, Yeah

Rail Wars-Typical

This may be what most people think about with this show

So you’re wrapping up the first full length series that your studio has done. It’s been a bit of a struggle, with some really obvious quality problems early on, some questionable story decisions, maybe even a fight (or two or three) with the property’s creator. But now you’re at the last episode. And things have been looking up recently with the previous story arc, which had a good mix of action, excitement, a solid plot, and some realistic reactions. So what are you going to do with this last episode? What are you going to leave people thinking about for your show?

Rail Wars-Meddling already

Naoto has to meddle

You’re going to go with that? Honestly? You think that’s best? Gotta say, not the best choice there. I don’t have a problem with the idea of a wind-down episode. Personally, I hate the series that have the big climax and then “Thanks for watching!”. Give me some epilogue, some wind-down, some little bit of “after the crisis” to see how all the stuff we’ve been doing has changed, or hasn’t changed, the characters. So having an episode like this wasn’t a terrible idea. Having THIS episode is what was a terrible idea. It was just a bad episode. Having Iida and Naoto return to Tokyo from somewhere way up North on a special train that’s going to be decommissioned isn’t the worst idea, but why were they there? Did they leave out a whole bunch, like they meant to skip the OP song after they got off the Hanamasu at Aomori and accidentally put it in? Or was this solely a reward trip for Naoto to ride the Hatsukari with the KiHa 381 with the turbine engines on it’s last trip? Not really any explanation at all. So just “hey, we’re on this special train”.

Rail Wars-Morons

“I wonder why the circuit breaker tripped? No matter…”

But worse than that, it’s “Let’s watch Naoto meddle on the special train”. Yeah, there are some problems, but is it really something that Junior Trainee Temporary Defense Platoon Four Captain Naoto Takayama should be sticking his nose in? No. And they definitely shouldn’t be doing crap like 1) replacing the fan belt with Iida’s stockings or 2) holding the circuit breaker on. There’s a REASON for circuit breakers, you morons! It’s to stop things from catching on FIRE. But somehow they manage to make it to Tokyo without pissing off the rest of the world, Naoto even gets a good lead on another harem member with Goldilocks who has 2 cubic feet of hair stuffed under her hat. But all too soon it’s back to the old harem.

Rail Wars-Noa has nothing better to do

Idols have nothing better to do than hang around with Assistant Captain Oblivious

Who are all at Naoto’s house. Even Noa, who has an awful lot of free time to chase Naoto for someone who has such a busy schedule as an idol. Even better, she was apparently following him about 10 steps behind all the way down the street without saying anything, while Mari was waiting to ambush him across the street. This show really does have some terrible setups. And everyone else is inside his house. At least they let Iwaizumi come this time, even if he gets completely ignored (and he in turn completely ignores that all the girls would probably jump Naoto in a freaky foursome if he wasn’t there). I really don’t think they’re going to make any progress on who is going to be with Naoto, because he just doesn’t realize that they’re all waiting for him to go out with them. Or maybe he’s craftier than we think, and is just leading them all on? Yeah, no.

Overall Thoughts

Rail Wars-Aoi would have more of a chance if she looked like this

Maybe Aoi would have a better chance with Naoto if she looked more like this?

Well, I’ve given my impression of the way the series ended, but how was it throughout? I think the best word to describe it is “uneven”. At its best, it could be exciting, a bit sexy, and have a completely adequate plot. At its worst, it’s just inane. And a lot of the story deficiencies that it had could have been overlooked if the technical presentation was carried off well, but it just wasn’t. Continuity errors in the animation, continuity errors in the story, outright incomplete drawing (big blank posters). I even think that the OP was never finished, with all those textureless trains and blue screen.

Rail Wars-Most Stockings Taken Off

This show has more instances of stockings taken off on screen than any other show I’ve seen. It’s like a pantyhose fetish hentai

I’m not really counting the male gaze-i-ness of the production against it, because that’s just what it is. If we’re going to see Naoto talk to a girl, the camera’s going to be looking past her ass. If a girl walks in the room, the first look is going to be at her boobs. Maybe a little less objectification would be better, but I’m not gonna complain too much, cause I like looking at that too. I think they actually did tone it down a little as they went along, or at least I didn’t notice it as much. The story, sourced from light novels, apparently got quite a bit of massaging, to the point you might say it got chopped up. Light on plot, heavy on harem, there was very little plot to be had in the show, with most of the story arcs serving more to introduce yet another harem member than develop any sort of characterization.

Rail Wars-More Locker Room

Lots of locker room scenes, too

One high point was the OP and ED songs. Minori Chihara’s “Mukai Kaze ni Utarenagara” is a good upbeat rock song that makes good use of her voice (she also appears in the show as the idol Noa Kashima), while ZAQ’s “Overdriver” is a return to her more quirky songs that were so interesting, rather than the more ordinary songs that she’s been producing lately. I really can’t say much about the rest of the soundtrack other than it’s pretty unremarkable.


As I said throughout my coverage of this show, it’s one that is oddly interesting, and you want it to be better than it generally ends up being. The character designs are good, and there’s enough in them that you want to know more about them. That the show doesn’t really deliver on that isn’t the character’s fault, but it does limit the impact the show is going to have. Honestly, they could have focused on any one aspect of the show a little bit more than they did, and it would have helped the show: Plot, relationships, characterization. If any of it was a little bit more of the show, I think it would have been better. It seemed like the show was trying to set up an Aoi – Naoto relationship, but never committed to it. Another thing I wish they’d committed a little bit on was Iida and Gonou’s relationship, which seemed to be a lot more than just friends or an admirer. Overall, it was a show that just didn’t live up to the potential that it showed, and it’s hard to point at a particular reason, but I think there were a lot of things like the studio’s inexperience, the series composition, and the lack of cooperation between the studio and the author that contributed to it just being a disappointment.


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!
Blinklist BlogMarks Delicious Digg Diigo FaceBook Google MySpace Netvibes Newsvine Reddit StumbleUpon Twitter

13 Responses to “Rail Wars – 12 [END]”

  1. Rathje says:

    I’ll admit I just watched the show because I found the idea of the tomboy character actually being the main romantic prospect in a semi-harem show to be kind of refreshing.

    The show would do well to marginalize the other girls except for quiet-boob-girl (forgot her name) and develop the main relationship. Lots more room for action in that relationship than the bog-standard harem formula.

    • Highway says:

      I think that Aoi’s character is actually rather good. And I agree that having the show focus more on romantic tension between Aoi – Naoto – Haruka would have been a lot better. It’s kind of funny how much the perception of Noa showing up is more than the reality. I think she only had 5 minutes of screen time after her episode, but even that short time made her seem like a harem equal because they had so little development of Haruka and Aoi. Maybe that was the intention, but she’d probably have been a lot better as more of the occasional force who really stirs things up but doesn’t have a chance. Same kind of thing for Mari, who never seemed to catch Naoto’s eye, but still didn’t feel like she was losing out, because he was always calling her for help.

      It sounds weird to say it, but the show had too much balance. But even then, it wasn’t a particularly bad show.

  2. skylion says:

    Is this show like a Harvey Wallbanger? You’re fine with a Screwdriver, but somehow you just need that float of Galliano?

    If it’s too your taste, the cocktail is just fine. But you find yourself wondering what star anise is. Just as I wondered what made this show so uneven. And it’s just like you point out, the harem aspect felt very tacked on and poorly developed characters made it that much worse.

    But, the Rail stuff was fun and interesting. It felt like complete derp at times, but with a single viewing they rather passed it off…

    All in all, I’ll miss these guys a bit. They felt like they almost got somewhere…

    • Highway says:

      I think the harem concept was fine, it was just the execution. If the show’s going to be all about the harem, like a show like To Love Ru, then you can have it be a bit more like this. But even in TLR, there was Lala and Haruna and then everyone else. This show didn’t give enough feel of “Aoi and Haruka and then everyone else”.

      And on top of that, they tried to have story. And that just left no time for anything. Like you say, it feels like they almost got somewhere, and I’m interested in reading the books, maybe they do get somewhere in the books because I still don’t know if I really trust Masashi Suzuki to put together a show that’s faithful to the story without emphasizing the romance stuff to the point it’s detrimental to the rest.

      • Cybersteel says:

        Halfway episodes worst offender. Noumi randomly, conveniently gets naked, MC jumps to conclusions that he is targeted without checking the whole letter (reminds me of Spongebob gettout of town) and Sakurai brandishing her handgun without caution, almost hitting MC.

  3. sonicsenryaku says:

    To be honest, i thought this series as hilariously stupid. The story arcs most of the time made no sense, characters would act insensibly, the animation was terrible (i couldnt count how many times characters were off-model or the times backgrounds and animation frames were reused), the voice acting was hammy and uninspired, AND YOU WANNA KNOW WHAT??? i had a blast.

    Seriously, I dont think any of these story arcs had any real merit in terms of narrative cohesion or capitalized on the basics of decent story-telling, but the harem hijinks were cute and as i mentioned, this show was hilarious. I love being entertained and that’s exactly what i got week after week. Aoi was a pain for me at first, and even though i still find her to be generic, I at least buy her affection for Naoto now. Mari was always the most down to earth character in my eyes and i appreciate her the most for it. Too bad she’s just harem fodder and not a main player (sigh, why is it always the good girls :P). I will remember this series that’s for sure

    • skylion says:

      We do kvetch, but we do have some fun while doing so…

    • Highway says:

      Don’t get me wrong, I had a lot of fun watching and even writing about the show. That’s why I continued to cover it. I think that’s it’s just so close to being not just more, but a lot more, is what I found disappointing about it.

  4. BlackBriar says:

    A passable ending for an alright series, I guess. Aside from the out of the box situations the story throws at the audience, the cast of characters kept everything fun to watch. They’ve grown quite a bit on me and I’ve come to like the red-headed tsundere Aoi a bit more. The harem aspect was fairly easy to accept.

    To give some praise, the series also has some educational value giving detailed insight on the workings of Japan’s trains and railways. Most info coming from our train nut expert Takayama.

    Overall, Rail Wars was a good series to watch over the Summer. Which kind of leaves me bummed to acknowledge its end. If it gets another season, it would definitely go on my watch list.

    • Highway says:

      I wouldn’t take anything they said on that show about the train and rail system as the truth. I think they made up everything about the rail system and the particular rolling stock. For instance, there was a Hatsukari / Super Hatsukari line, but even the ones that looked like the KiHa 381 in the show, the KiHa 81 and later, were Diesel and electric locomotives, not turbine powered.

Leave a Reply