This is an anime about trains.
— What’s the gimmick this episode? The entire team will undergo JNR PSF advanced training. I love acronyms, by the way. They make me feel SVFH. IYDLIYCSMD.
— Dear god, he actually has a line. He has a line in this week’s episode!
— What does our hero find so awesome? Literally just a train entering a tunnel. But look at him. He’s like a pathetic puppy around trains. But guys, it’s the steepest slope in the entire country! Naoto even goes, “Look, Sakurai! Your drink’s slanting! That’s how steep this thing is!” Mind. Blown. Somehow, all the girls want this guy’s dick.
— Wait, this again? Did Rail Wars! just decide to drag out the unused animation frames from the first episode? Well, let’s face it: since they’re reusing the training subplot, recycled fanservice is fair game.
— Haruka’s face in this shot.
— Aoi goes to comfort an exhausted Naoto just to find that Haruka has beaten her to the punch. Is it time for the girls to compete for the dork’s heart already? FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT!
— Hell, let’s make this a harem while we’re at it. We’ll just drag this familiar face back into the picture. Who knew an anime about train would end up being a harem? Maybe I should have included Rail Wars! in Harem Hill, but silly ol’ me actually thought the show would be about trains… and people trying to privatize the train industry. Speaking of which, is that particular plot ever going to rear its head? Or did some guy actually write light novels after light novels of nothing but filler episodes?
— Ooh, wrong move, dude. In anime world, however, both Haruka and Mari don’t seem to think much of Naoto randomly dissing Aoi out of nowhere.
— Everyone just orders the same damn thing: five plates of katsu curry (three of them are for the guy who never talks).
— Only Naoto gets pickled veggies on his plate because he has “this thing with leeks.” Mari just knows him that well, and all of the other girls are jealous of their closeness. In other words, the harem battle has begun. But seriously, pickles with curry? First, the instant brown curry paste that may as well be concrete mix, but hey, I didn’t complain. Then, the stupid apples to make my curry way too sweet, but still, I said nothing. And now pickles? Stop ruining curry!
— Afterwards, Naoto and Aoi are back at the shooting range. Naturally, the harem lead can’t hit the broad side of a barn, so the instructor instructs him–… no, he tells Aoi to do help Naoto instead. Dokidoki, she has her arms all over me even after I dissed her in front of all my friends. But still, it makes you wonder what the instructor is even for if he’s not there to teach.
— Didn’t we already have a hot springs episode? But y’see, this isn’t the hot springs! It’s just a bath! Plus, this episode is all about recycling! We’re undergoing training again! We’re meeting Mari again! We get to see Haruka and her comically-flopping breasts on the tracks again! Naoto and Aoi at the shooting range again! And sure, why not, let’s all take a bath again. Recycling is good for the environment, you guys. Ergo, recycling is good for anime. That’s why these anime shows are all the same. You have to conserve storylines. If you keep coming up with new stories, we’ll run out of story resources, and the world will end!
— Uh-oh… drama! Aoi selflessly volunteers to spend time with the harem lead and help him learn how to fight. Naoto reveals, however, that he has no intention of joining the PSF. He only wants to drive trains. So, uh, why the hell is he even here, then? He answers, “That’s because I heard we’d get to drive an EF63.” That just cracks me up. The guy is such a baby, but in anime world, he’s got multiple girls pursuing him.
— Personally, I wouldn’t care. Even if the guy was my best bro, I’d be like, “Well, you gotta do what you gotta do, man. And if it makes you happy to drive trains — as silly as that sounds to me — go for it.” But not here, nuh-uh. Haruka is speechless, but an infuriated Aoi storms off in a huff. Not before she blushes with embarrassment when he points out how happy she was to train him, of course:
Uguu, how dare you! I thought we were going to be co-workers together forever!!! I mean, it’s not like you can’t still have a relationship just because the guy intends to be a train driver. How many people actually work with their significant others? Oh, I’m sure many do, but my point is that many more don’t. And it doesn’t seem to impact any of us! But in anime world, you gotta have this contrived drama where it’s the end of the world just because the harem lead won’t join the PSF.
— We later see Naoto in the bath, confused over Aoi’s reaction: “What’s wrong with wanting to be a train driver?” Her feelings are not really that difficult to decipher, dude.
— For some reason, we see a flashback in which a younger Naoto had collapsed in the cold when he was trying to photograph a moving train. Back to the present, a grown-ass Naoto has collapsed in the bath, forcing Haruka to pull him out. Oh hey, what do you know? The bathing times for the two sexes have overlapped! You object, but how else would we get delicious fanservice?
— A delirious Naoto proceeds to lie there and tell the girls his life story. Someone inspired him to be a train driver, you guys. A brave and amazing train driver saved him when he had stomach troubles. And from then on, he just knew he had to become a train driver!
You’d think a show like this would go for an inspirational story that is a little more dramatic than a dude saving a kid with diarrhea. Like maybe a pregnant woman is going to die if they don’t get back to civilization in time, but oh no! A landslide is impeded our path! The brave, heroic train driver nevertheless figures out a way to rock on through the obstruction! Hurrah! But no, we get nothing crazy or silly like that. Just shota Naoto having some stomach pain.
— Y’know, other than the fanservice, the show has been so mundane ever since we had that silly “LEARN TO SHOVEL COAL INTO THE RIGHT AREAS!” training exercise. You’d think a show like this would go for broke to at least entertain the people who aren’t here for T&A, but sadly, this is not the case.
— “I want to be him,” Naoto confesses, “A driver who appreciates life most of all…” Uh, okay. If, like, the train driver had saved Naoto’s life at the cost of, say, meeting a crucial deadline, I would understand what the harem lead is getting at. But he’s being awfully dramatic about a dude who simply stopped to save a little boy from his stomach troubles.
— Haruka tries to assure the guy that Aoi understands his feelings, but Aoi has already left the room. Oh well, that didn’t work out too well. What else you got for me, Haruka?
This is an anime about trains. This is an anime about trains. This is an anime about trains.
— Naoto goes, “Sorry about last night. You must think I’m a kid.” This is how Haruka reacts.
— The harem lead notices that Aoi is still avoiding him, so he’s all bummed out about it.
— All of a sudden, someone starts lecturing us about the Usui Pass. Then, exciting train diagrams! See, this is what I thought the show would be like! Not a show that has — let’s be honest — managed to out-harem the two actual harem shows I’ve been following this season. I mean, bitch about Seirei Tsukai no Blade Dance’s shitty story all you want, but at least it hasn’t shoved a girl’s labia in our face. So far, only Rail Wars! and (not surprisingly) SAO have had that distinction. Still, I don’t give a fuck about trains, so let’s fast forward through this nonsense.
— But why did I start watching this series then if I don’t care about trains? When the first episode aired, I was curious to see what the show would be like, so I blogged it on a whim. Then, Day told me afterwards that people wanted me to follow this show, so it was like, “Fine, I guess!” And what do you know! Only SAO has managed to beat Rail Wars! in terms of views! Shh, shh, it’s okay Terror in Resonance. I still think you’re the best show of the season.
— We now see Naoto driving his precious old-ass train, but a bitter Aoi still won’t talk to him. So even though he wants to break, she keeps speeding them up. Yeah, that’s pretty much the extent of it… TRAIN DRAMA! WE SPEED UP WHERE YOU SLOW DOWN. CAN YOU HANDLE IT?
— Naoto has no choice but to hit the brakes at their speed, which then causes the whole train to derail… but it’s okay! None of it is even real! We have a train anime where the train action is all simulated. Fucking sweet!
— A now-morose Naoto confesses to Mari that he’s probably not cut out for the PSF, so she tells him to believe in himself. That’s enough for him to say, “You really understand people’s feelings.” Great writing.
— I’ve just noticed it now, but it’s weird how empty the entire academy is. You’d think we’d see other students walking around, but no, it’s just our four heroes, Mari, and a single instructor. The anime feels like a ghost town. I guess we only have a budget for fanservice, not animating extras.
— With a day off tomorrow, it’s up to Naoto to personally invite Aoi to join him and the rest of the team to enjoy a night out on the town. He elects to send her a text message. How impersonal.
— The next morning, the girls are all dressed up. Meanwhile, Naoto looks like he’s still sitting at home, playing with his train models. and Sho is wearing a wifebeater. And Asian guys wonder why they are not often seen as sexy…
— But our casanova over here is just so smooth!
— Nana suddenly calls the harem lead, and she needs him to pick someone up at a nearby church. When our hero gets there, he somehow finds Aoi there too:
And of course, the tsunderekko now looks all girly-girly and shit: “What’s it to you? I like this stuff too.” Of course you do. The two are about to share a moment when all of a sudden, a teary-eyed Haruka shows up, and accuses him of lying to her.
Holy shit, is she going to go yandere on us? It feels as though Rail Wars! is aware of this sudden serious turn in the story, however, so it pulls back and reveals that Naoto was supposed to pick up Noa, the idol from the beach episode, all along:
And now, all the girls are mad at him. The harem ending never works, you guys. Just pick one girl and settle down with her.