What They Say:
All train fanatic Naoto Takayama has ever dreamed of is becoming an engineer, but when he finally makes the grade and scores a trainee position with the JNR, his ambitions are totally derailed. Now, instead of the big front cab of his dreams, Naoto’s stuck in the security division working with a squad of gorgeous girls and escorting pretty idol singers. Oh, what a nightmare!
Okay, so there are the occasional bomb threats, thieves, and members of the rogue railway privatization group RJ to deal with, but that’s what trigger-happy harpy Aoi and Sho, the squad’s only other male member, are for. And if Naoto’s one-track mind could just see the light at the end of the tunnel, he might realize that he’s already on an express train to paradise with multiple lovely cabooses. Will getting railroaded take on a whole new meaning? Find out as everyone gets off on the wrong side of the tracks in Rail Wars!
The only language track available was Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0. English subtitles are provided for non-Japanese speakers. As far as the quality of the audio goes, I think it was fine, but whenever I watch a sub-only title, I tend to focus more on what I’m seeing than what I’m hearing. Those with better ears or the ability to split their concentration may find fault, but I think it’s fine.
Rail Wars! is presented in 480i in 16×9 anamorphic aspect ratio and it looks quite nice. The animation is crisp and clear with no discernable issues.
The front cover features the main cast in their uniforms, standing on train tracks. The spine features Aoi, and the back follows standard Sentai format with the story synopsis taking up the majority of real estate. It’s flanked by various characters from the show and screenshots. Beneath it lies the cast and crew credits and DVD specifications.
The menu pretty much tells you exactly what you’re going to get in this show: trains and boobs. The episode list and special features menu takes up the left side of the screen, while the right side features female members of the cast wearing nothing but lingerie. The show’s main title plays in full on a loop in the background.
Clean Op/Ed and Sentai trailers. Nothing to write home about, although I do like the opening and closing themes.
All his life, Naoto Takayama dreamed of working as a driver for one of Japan’s major railway companies. However, his life takes an unexpected turn when instead of driver school, the railroad academy for Japan National Railways places him in the security force trainee program. There he must work with kindhearted Haruka Kōmi, violent Aio Sakurai, and the physically fit Shō Iwaizumi. The team gets into more trouble than one might expect working for the railroad, made all the worse by the tension between Aio and Takayama.
Make no mistake, kids, this is a harem, fanservice title. I’m at the age now where the promise of fanservice is no long enough to entice me, but I have to say that I enjoyed this show. Part of it may be that if I were born in Japan, I might very well have become a train otaku, like Takayama, and if there’s such a thing as train fanservice, then Rail Wars! has it in spades. The majority of my enjoyment, though, derived from the melodrama of the plots and the character interactions.
I knew a little about Rail Wars! before I saw it, but apparently not enough. I came in with the impression that it would be like Your Under Arrest!—where the drama came from mundane sources almost in spite of (or to spite) the police genre—only with women we often saw in their unmentionables. That turned out to be not the case. Takayama and his crew must save the railways from terrorists, protect pop stars from stalkers, defuse bombs, and save a visiting noble from kidnapping. The situations seem fairly preposterous, but that’s also why I enjoyed them so much. It’s the juxtaposition of an everyday, mundane situation with absurd external conflicts, making the work big, and silly, and fun.
The character interactions also work well, too. Each character possesses a distinct personality that both clashes and meshes well with the others, especially Aoi and Takayama. Although Aio declares that she hates men, Takayama gets under her defenses and she fights against her burgeoning feelings for him. In typical harem comedy fashion, Takayama has no clue that she feels that way about him. He finds himself torn between his conflicted feelings for Aoi and his not-conflicted-at-all feelings for Haruka. He even has an oblivious attraction with his CO, Nana. Poor Shō gets left out of all the fun.
Anymore, anime has become more and more formulaic (perhaps it always was, but I never had access to the true depth and breadth of the genre until now. But I digress), but every now and then, a title finds a way to either transcend the genre, or make it work in a way we haven’t seen before. Rail Wars! fits that bill for me. It’s a fun, silly show set in an interesting world with maybe more fanservice than it needs. Like Takayama did with Aoi, Rail Wars! slipped under my armor.
Rail Wars! is a fun, silly show with a great setting, solid characters, and ridiculous plots. This is one of those shows that I’ve earmarked to buy if a dubbed copy is ever released—I enjoyed it that much. In the meantime, I’m more than happy with this subbed version. If you like trains and busty women in their underthings, then this is the show for you! Dr. Josh gives this a…
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Opening, Clean Closing
Content Grade: B+
Audio Grade: A
Video Grade: A
Packaging Grade: B
Menu Grade: C
Extras Grade: D
Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: December 8th, 2015
Running Time: 300 Minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Panasonic Viera TH42PX50U 42” Plasma HDTV, Sony BPD-S3050 BluRay Player w/HDMI Connection