So starts a new season, and thus a new set of Three Episode Rule posts. To keep it short and sweet (as well as to save my sanity), I’m looking at three series while at the same time, will only write a short episode thoughts. The three series covered in the next three weeks are: Aldnoah Zero, Rail Wars!, and Shirogane no Ishi: Argevollen.
So, let’s dive in shall we?
Episode Summary/Series Expectations: Aldnoah Zero
In an alternate timeline, a gateway to Mars was found on the moon during the Apollo Missions. Colonizers at Mars broke from Earth, having discovered the lost technology of a long dead civilization. In 1999, fighting between Aldnoah (Martians) and Terrans (Old Humanity) resulted in the destruction of the lunar gate resulting in the moon being destroyed and now orbiting Earth as a debris belt.
2014, military curriculum is an accepted part of high school life, and students learn to pilot humanoid mechanical weapons. A princess of the Vers Empire (Martians) arrive to try and settle a more permanent peace, but was killed by terrorists while touring Japan.
Greiving their loss (yet secretly jubilant), the Vers Empire’s 37 Orbital Knights (each a commander of their own forces), make landfall on Earth, the first to touch the ground destroys New Orleans (no doubt the new capital of the United States after most of the Eastern Seaboard is now a crater).
The series seems to me will focus on a high school student, and a Vers soldier from old Earth, no doubt as they fight in the ensuing war between Humanity and the Martians, and probably involve finding some long lost secret tech to help favor Humanity. To be honest I don’t think I’ll be this excted for the show, it was kinda meh in trying to hook me in, too much vagueness in the plot or something really. I’ll soldier on, I did put this in a TER category so maybe it’ll have a chance to redeem itself in episodes 2 and 3.
Episode/Series Expectations: Rail Wars!
If there is a show that reminds me somewhat of my own current situation, the alternate timeline of the series takes palce where Japan’s efficiently run rail system was never privatized, resulting in a massive enterprise that is totally owned by the Japanese government. As such, those who seek a secure future look into getting into the JNR (Japan National Railway). Some also do it for their love for trains (train otaku). The main character is Takayama Naoto, who along with classmates Koumi Haruka, Iwaizumi Shou, and Sakurai Aoi are pushed into the Railway Public Security Squad.
Overall, it starts off chaotic, trying to cram in the various personalities of the four main characters. We got the smart, graceful and un-athletic ojou-sama in Haruka, the rather dim but athletic Shou, the rather stern and unapologetically man-loathing Sakurai, and the naïve and wide-eyed main protagonist in Naoto. Out of the four, it seems the only one really suited for the role of a police officer/armed security (which is what the PSS is really) would be Sakurai. Though in the same way that Eugene Tackleberry was suited to be a police officer. In a good few seconds, the month of training passes by and the final test begins. They are to act as coal men to a tandem engine steam train pulling several cars, and to have it achieve 100kph (roughly 62mph) to pass. After realizing they needed to be efficient in their coaling rather than piling on the fuel, they manage to be the only ones in their class to achieve that desired goal.
In the last day (field evaluation), they come across a station chief who is one of those who just wants to move in the world, and also look for a lost dog (in which Haruka and Naoto search together yet get into compromising situation(s)). They also find a group of malcontents near the end of their shift, who escape on a train, but due to Naoto’s knowledge of trains, manage to get to the next station ahead of the train by help of a bullet train.
When caught, they do attempt to beat up the PSS squad, but Shou and Aoi manage to land good blows on the delinquents, though when one tries to get back up, Haruka does the finishing blow with a hard-cased AED (Automatic External Defibrilator). Even though the chief would report this incident to HQ, the next day they pass, and Naoto is greeted to K4, along with his class group.
In all, I might be following this. A welcome change from the romcom and mecha action. I know jack shit about trains apart from the fact that I barely ride on them. The concept of a state-owned enterprise like a railway for an American does bring up the reminder of AmTrak, America’s own publically funded for-profit incorporated rail system, or Washignton Metro, the Washington D.C.’s own rail system. Both have been sources of ‘meh’ feelings for this blog author. I’m more of a driver person. As some people have called it, this seems to be “Socialism: The Anime”. Although it’d be funny to call it that, it’s for a very American perspective.
So barring the odd change and seemingly absurd setting the show is in, I’m looking forward to it, definitely a watch even though I was apprehensive at first.
Episode/Series Expectations: Shirogane no Ishi: Argevollen
For long, the United Kingdom of Arrandas and National Federation of Ingelmia have been fighting for control of the continent. Ingelmia has been pushing progressively south and subjugating other nations and increasing their military power, while Arrandas has been defeated and pushed back to their border. They are safe by a fortification known as the Great Wall in which Ingelmia has failed to cross.
The series is focusing on a unit of the Arrandan army that is looked down on, and its rookie pilot, Private Susumu Tokimune. The Great Wall has fallen due to the ineptitude and backwards thinking Generals and the introduction of new Ingelmian mecha, forcing the fortification’s commander to order all surviving units to retreat.
While patrolling a prospective route, Tokimune and his fighting partner, Silfy Appleton, come across a civilian trailer and its security detachment under chase by enemy troops. Ordered to stay put, Tokimune disobeys orders and attempts to rescue them, only to fall. She meets the survivor of the trailer who punches him, caring more about her work than her safety, and shows off a new mecha, the Argevollen, which is faster and more nimble than the machine he was previously piloting, destroying the enemy suits easily.
Frankly I’ll have to watch a few more episodes, much like ALDNOAH: ZERO, before I can get a feel for the series.
Well, so far the only show that caught my attention is Rail Wars!, primarily from the absurdity and setting. It’s action with some really weird police procedural in it, and the creators of the series are massive train otaku. I can only imagine that this show has a massive following from those same train otaku in Japan, and most likely will be a popular show in what I often consider the doldrums of the viewing year.
For Aldnoah Zero and Shirogane no Ishi: Argevollen, it was hard to get into the series or rather, the first episodes weren’t so exciting. Coming into this Three Episode Rule mashup, I was actually looking forward to the two mecha shows and wasn’t entirely too enthusiastic about Rail Wars!, but it’s a view that’s changed now.
Anyways, thoughts I have about Rail Wars will most likely be put into the actual post about it next time, once episode 2 is successfully blogged. It has been awhile since a series that I applied the three episode rule on go from “wait and see” to “watch now”.