-yawns very loudly-

Rail Wars is set in an alternate version of Japan that didn’t privatize its national railways, although it also seems to take place in a world where working with trains is the coolest thing you could possibly do as a young adult. Thus there are a whole load of people undergoing training for it, and one of these people is the protagonist Naoto, who is literally as generic as humanly possible. His ‘classmates’ include an angry young woman who doesn’t seem to like men very much, a shy young woman whose entire personality is ‘boobs’, and a happy-go-lucky guy who is still generic but less grating than any of the others.

After an incredibly uninteresting and lengthy training montage, the crew pass the test and will start their train jobs for real.

sameface, what sameface

Approximately 1 minute and 18 seconds into the episode, Big Boobs McFanservice’s skirt blew up in the wind, she got embarrassed, the main character got embarrassed, and the other girl yelled that he was a pervert. From that moment I knew I was in for a very, very long 24 minutes but I honestly didn’t expect it to feel quite as long as it did.

The most jarring thing about this show is how much it feels like two completely different anime violently smashed together like a kid playing with plastic dinosaurs. One of the anime is a nerdy train show filled to the brim with train trivia and the other is a completely juvenile fanservice-drenched bore. Now, I’m not that interested in trains, sure, but I do think a train-trivia anime could actually be decent. Perhaps some of the tidbits about trains could have been interesting if they were presented in a more engaging way, but instead it’s mostly through monologues and boring characters talking to each-other.

It feels like the creators have put a lot of investment into the train aspect in terms of the (CG) trains themselves but at the same time the way the information is conveyed just feels so incredibly dull and half-assed. The effect is like listening to someone reading from some kind of train textbook in a monotone except every now and then there’s some boobs in your face. And there’s a lot of that – the female characters all buy their clothes from whatever anime store it is that manufactures ladies tops to have boob-socks in them (because fabric wouldn’t surround each tit like that otherwise and this honestly always annoys me way more than it should), and the aforementined Big Boobs McFanservice’s particularly ridiculous assets bounce all over the place in every other scene. And just when I was wondering if the fanservice could get any more dumb, there was literally a scene where the protagonist fell over on top of her and his hand accidentally landed on said assets and there was a slow pan up their bodies with gentle music as they blushed at each other. I complained about this stupid, overused trope last season and we’re already back to it. I know it shouldn’t be a surprise that an anime with character designs and personalities as painfully generic as this would also be so creatively bankrupt in terms of how it shoehorns in its fanservice but man, I sure did groan.

What really gets me about this show is how bizarre the premise actually is. Of all the ‘alternate Japans’ you could think of, of all the ‘what if’ scenarios you could base an entire show around, ‘a world where Japan didnt privatize its national railways’ is hardly a riveting premise…but again, I’m not a train otaku. Doing extra research on the title reveals that the rest of the plot will concern fights against a radical group whose goal is….to privatize the national railways.  Ok. The thing is, I don’t doubt that something so bizarre as this could actually be entertaining in the right hands, but these sure aren’t those hands. Maybe, maybe it improves once this part of the plot kicks in, but the characters are just too boring for me to want to find out. If you really, really like trains to the extent that you can forgive how boring the presentation is, then maybe there’s something for you here…but only if you also really, really like badly animated cardboard characters and unimaginative fanservice.

The gap in quality between this shot and the rest of the entire episode is astounding really.

Out of 5,