“Rail Wars” is a terrible title for this show. The problem is that anytime you have the tag “…Wars” in your title, everything gets back to “Star Wars” and this show is nothing like that at all. Perhaps if they called it “Tales from the Rails” or “Getting on Track”, it would be closer aligned with what this series is about. Hey, why don’t we use the subtitle of the manga? “Japanese National Railways Security Force.” Too dull, I guess, for someone. Let’s look at part of the capsule description for this show: “This is in a Japan where the nationalized railway system was never privatized…..” Was that really that BIG of a deal? “What if Rome never fell?” is something of much greater of an import, not this. OK, let it go and discuss the show.
Naoto Takayama (Mr Salute) is an ordinary high school student who aspires to a comfortable life working at the JNR, being an engineer. He ends up working as a security force trainee, where he unwillingly has to deal with his strange colleagues as well as RJ, a group of extremists who are fighting to privatize the railway. And the strange colleagues are (Clockwise, this time):
Haruka Kōmi (very good memory)
Shō Iwaizumi (eats all the time)
Aoi Sakurai (hates all men)
They enroll in the school and prove themselves to be a very worthwhile team, actually working quite well together, despite their differences. When they manage to catch a pair of thieves, they are given On the Job Training with the Public Safety Force. The series details all their varied and numerous adventures as they keep the railways safe for all passengers.
Now, can you see two of the problems with this show? Well, there are more, but it is the same two problems: EVERY woman in this show has a nice set of bumpers. There are a few more women higher up the corporate ladder who are at least as well constructed as our two femme fatales up there. Oh, the skirts they wear are also a tad too tight, so you see some very nice padding as well.
Another issue with this show is that it seems to be geared to those train spotters, folks who really know about trains, so a lot of the hot drooling gets shifted to these famous locomotives and whatnot. It kind of washed over me.
Everyone has their flaws and it falls into a rut fast. Takayama is a real train nut and now he can work close to these famous engines, potentially stroking their drive shafts. Japan is noted for the lack of guns in its culture, but here is Sakurai, with a gun, wanting to do a ‘shoot first and walk away’ approach to things. There is nothing more she would enjoy than ventilating someone who might be a criminal. She came off a bit too gun happy and use of excessive force for me. Komi is the ditz and, in a stressful situation, cannot act fast enough. Her only redeeming feature is her gigantic…..brain (remember, good memory). She is better as logistics than tactics. Iwaizumi is an E & E (exercise and eat). He only will go on an assignment if there is a good place to eat.
Although the stories are cute, they aren’t all that interesting, especially since you know that there will be success at the end. I felt one story would have been more interesting if there was a bit of deception by one of the characters. I can’t go into too many details, as it would ruin that arc. And the terrorists are seen more along the line of some graffiti artist than people bent on some kind of destruction.
I will conditionally suggest this show. It is a nice diversion from the regular things you see out there (giant fighting robots, romantic comedies, vampires and their pals, etc., etc., etc.) and fills the bill when you are between shows or awaiting new episodes of other series to show up. This show is kind of like the train: it will get you from one point to another, but there is just not enough to do while getting there.
On a scale of 1 to 10:
Artwork 8 (More nice ladies)
Plot 6 (Thin in spots)
Pacing 8 (Good action sequences)
Effectiveness 6 (Easily guessed)
Conclusion 7 (It reaches a ‘coupler’, but doesn’t really end)
Fan Service 5 (A similar show would be “Maburaho”)
Overall 6 (Fades away at the end)
And remember, it’s first run until you’ve seen it. All aboard!