And so we dive into a series that has become more about a young man with aspirations of a stable job, to him having to start choosing between three to four lovely ladies to go out with. No more show about trains, and even the main antagonists have taken a rear seat to romance and boobs.
Somewhere, heavy rainfall causes a mudslide. Meanwhile back in the chapel, Noa says she doesn’t mind riding a train driven by Naoto, and notices she’s just an outsider in the true triangular that is Naoto – Aoi – Haruka. This embarrasses Aoi and her tsundere shows, while Haruka seems to be crossing the line into yandere.
Just in time, Mari and Shou show up with warm drinks, while Nao accuses him of being a womanizer. Just as everything seems to be alright, their instructor calls and explains the situation to Naoto, who deploys K4 to help the customers on the stranded train.
Helping the people off the train, they come back to the station, warming themselves up with some strong coffee before a commotion is heard. Outside, an organ transport employee is pleading for the train to continue moving. A higher up JNR employee arrives, and she explains the situation. With the roads and rail lines blocked off, there is no way it can be delivered in time.
Haruka then blurts out that she’ll deliver it, even against the odds. Naoto points out an old rail line is still free, even if it hasn’t been actively maintained. Supported by his crew, the higher up approves, and they are given their ride. A small train engine that is powered by an electric motor powered by four stationary bikes. Pushing it out while Haruka speed reads the manual, they’re informed to ignore all traffic signals.
The train’s battery dead, Shou initially has trouble with it, but with Aoi and the others pushing, they manage to set it off. While on the tracks, Naoto does feel uneasy by ignoring the traffic signals. Continuing on their slow yet steady pace, they instantly speed up. Even with the breaks on, they are going quickly. The little engine, even with the regenerative breaking, won’t stop and is in danger of tipping many times. Shou at first body slams it to put one side of the train back on the tracks, but as the train threatens to tilt again, Aoi goes out on one side to add her weight to one side. Shou joins her and they manage to keep all four wheels on that way.
As the train speeds down the line, Naoto wonders if the brake will last until they get to the oil line, and Haruka explains that there will be an S-turn to Aoi and Shou. Passing the halfway station to the salutes of the station crew and their cheers, they enter the old track. Even with the track in disrepair, they can’t stop. Hitting some overgrown roots that had pierced the tunnel, leading to a rather interesting end.
The show is the best when it shows character interactions. I believed that the show was fully going somewhere when they were only showing the growing love triangle between Naoto, Aoi, and Haruka, but much like the first episode where there was the combined takedown of the thugs in the station, this episode was much less groan and hard to watch, and more enjoyable. It’s a reason why I have such a short summary, I was a bit more engaged with the story to be honest.
K4’s dedication to their job and customer service is a little heartwarming. Willing to put their lives on the line to make sure a deceased transplant donor would live on in the person receiving the organ, and to me it’s the silly situations they always found themselves in to be the best part about the story of Rail Wars! Naoto’s growing harem is nice and all, and while I do lament the loss of any true character history or anything from the one referred to as the ‘forgotten man’ by a friend, JNR Defense Crew 4 is ultimately a story of the crew itself.
Naoto’s love for trains, coupled with Haruka’s memory, Aoi’s dedication, and Shou’s muscle is a nice well rounded team. I’m sure Naoto still wants to be a driver, but Mari and Noa would rather prefer him to be in the Public Safety uniform, and I think being a leader best suits him.
There isn’t much in the way of romance here but rather just an out realization by the girls of their healthy competition. Thankfully there was less fanservice this time. Just the crew of K4 working to save a life, so I can’t really say much besides the sad fact Shou is more or less the meathead of the group, Haruka and Aoi have gone into open conflict as the yandere (lite) and tsundere (slowly cooled), respectively, and Naoto is in full awareness of his harem.
Well, he’s better than Ichika at least. Ichika can’t even understand the situation he’s in and he’s very oblivious to the girls around him. Naoto seems to be trying to decide if his love for rails will be overtaken by the love of the various girls around him.