And thus ends our twelve week run of rails and bewbs. I know a lot of people were expecting this to be some technical anime on the specific trains and whatnot, and to be fair, so was I, but I was mildly surprised at the change. This is going to be short, since the episode itself was rather uneventful compared to the previous arcs.
Iida and Naoto arrive at the end of a line in a sleeper train. After the recent events having taxed them, Iida treats Naoto to a treat. Starting from the end of the line in Aomori, they will be riding in a train pulled by the “KiHa 381”, a train powered by the gas-turbine power plant from a helicopter. Since this was set in a fictional universe, it could mean that the experimental KiHa 391 had solved its teething problems and became a standard freight car, but ‘m not much of a train otaku to really know.
Riding in it, Naoto’s curious nature leads him to find multiple faults with the train, much to the annoyance of the driver and the relief of the chief conductor. Iida does not that it seems that trouble likes Naoto. With some long distance help from Haruka and Aoi and a little from Mari, the various issues (like a worn fan belt and broken AC) are fixed through the journey.
Having given the day off by Iida, Naoto heads home noting it would be awhile until he sees the rest of his coworkers. Deep in thought, Naoto arrives home only to find Mari and Noa shooing him in. Inside would be Haruka and Aoi, and the four girls (well Nao, Haruka, and Aoi) are now establishing a pecking order between themselves (with Mari more or less being the support I would think). Shou starts off a toast to Naoto the womanizer and train otaku, and the series ends.
Episode and Series Thoughts:
Episode wise, this is pretty relaxed, and straightforward. A calm after the whirlwind of crazy and nearly implausible arcs. And yet it seems like Naoto can’t help but stick his nose into trouble, thankfully the only injuries is from momentarily touching a hot engine, and the only antagonist is a very irate driver who is being told off by some young OJT from the wrong department.
It’s like a pilot being told by a passenger something is wrong because they work for the airline as a gate agent and played flight sims.
Overall? The series wasn’t bad, nor was it very impressive. Many other series this season was better at the romance department, and I am sure a lot of people expected something more…technical. Something I think like Initial D and Girls und Panzer and less Upotte!! Something focusing on the trains themselves rather than the cast in a day-to-day kind of deal.
I am disappointed at the lack of a verifiable pop-up of the supposed antagonists. The closest was probably the mountain pass arc with the bomb suspect, and the first episode with the bombing at the train station.
What I did like was the various character interactions, especially the fact we actually have a protagonist who isn’t so thick in the head that it shatters diamond. He acknowledges the girls fighting for his love, even If his love is for the trains on the rails.
The setting is meh, no doubt it would happen but JNR was such a shoddily run company that this took some suspension of disbelief (more like I ignored it and admitted my unfamiliarity of the exact causes of JNR’s failure). Several other things made me go ‘what’, namely the bomb disposal scene, and the fact Aoi is allowed at first, a .38 Special Revolver, and then a 9mm Automatic. I understand Crew Defense K4 is equivalent to say, the Special Assault Team (of which JNR has their own, sorta like some airports having their own police departments), but giving a OJT a handgun seems far-fetched. I can only imagine Japanese firearms laws are so horribly relaxed they resemble California’s rather than current, modern-day Japan.
In all, would I rewatch it? Yes, here and there. It’s in the same status as Mouretsu Pirates in which I give some arcs and episodes a couple watches when a season seems slow. It was enjoyable, even though it wasn’t as good as expected.