Well the new season is upon us, and the pickings this week are a little thin since most of the meat starts next week and the week after for me, but tonight I have previews of three new shows, Rail Wars, Shirogane no Ishi Argevollen, and Glasslip. If you’re keeping track at home, that’s TRAINS, HOT BLOOD AND GUTS, and something about fireworks.. I dunno.
Get on with it!
“LOTS AND LOTS AND LOTS AND LOTS AND LOTS AND LOTS AND LOTS AND LOTS AND LOTS AND LOTS AND LOTS”
Unfortunately, most of my readership tends to reside in Europe, so my jokes about likening this more to my local power company are a bit lost. Which is why you don’t tell regional jokes in the first place. Incidentally, this is also the reason why some anime that rely heavily on referential humor based solely in Japanese culture or online culture, tend to be lost on westerners. Any time you have to whip out the TL notes or a long page of explanations, like with the US release of Pani Poni Dash, you’re gonna have a bad time.
Fortunately you really don’t need to understand the history of Japan’s railway system or the trains themselves. Rail Wars takes care of it all, from explanations on trains, to the rail system being in the hands of the government, running every aspect of its service and employees. We have scores of political jokes for state-owned entities where I live, because they’re bloated and mismanaged, but that’s not important right now. What is important, is this:
Trains and tits? All the important Ts after all. But what the first episode of Rail Wars does, is spare us one critical thing: that one-month classroom training session just to get to the point where they’re actually working on the train. Thank fucking god. I was worried this was going to be some school days thing in the first half or so, but they’re laying this out almost like Gin no Saji in the respect that they’re trainees (ha!), but they’re still employees.
Your characters are nothing particularly special though. Straight-edge, straight-shot, straight-dumb, and straight-tits. Straight as can be. You know, like tracks. But they seem to bounce, often literally, off each other fairly well. Considering that rush through the classroom training in the first episode though, it sort of robbed us of some of that early development we might’ve gotten, but much like Gin no Saji, it’s gonna take more than a month for these guys to strut their stuff together. I’m really rather looking forward to this one, because I do like trains, not as much as space shuttles or giant robots, but as someone who is a big proponent of light rail or subways in my state, it is very much underrepresented in America and needs to be highlighted.
First Rating: 7
Sub Group: FFF
“FULL POWER TO THE BULLSHIT DEFLECTOR”
My back-and-forth with Kherubim as I was watching probably writes itself here:
Sure enough, it does:
Credit where credit is due, XEBEC knows how to do mecha anime. They’ve been doing it for quite a long time. A lot of this show does remind me of FMP though, in similar ways, but it also makes me nostalgic for the Aestivalis of Nadesico in times past. Rose-colored goggles aside, it has more in common with FMP than Nadesico, despite a rather normal-mode beginning where you’re riding alongside a company of folks in their clunkers, hanging back while the enemy breaks the impenetrable wall. Which, seriously, is there not a trope of this? Is it called “The Titanic Law”? Because if not, I nominate that immediately for every show that boasts about its UNBREAKABLE THING that they live to regret ten minutes later.
Moving on, as predicted, the real mobile suit emerges, and it seems to run on IMAGINATION, of all things, and the moody angsty male lead we have, of course, pilots it. He’s gonna be the real winner here, because not even fifteen minutes into the show, he’s already disobeying orders. No one on his squad seems to like him, which probably means he is either a high-class snot, or he is just that cocky. Quite the departure from most whiny spineless mecha pilots we normally get, so a few points for that.
Suffice to say, I do like giant robots, and a good giant robot story, so I’m in it to win it. Let’s hope it reciprocates.
First Rating: 7
Sub Group: Horrible
“It’s like the flower we saw one summer, except no one gave a shit.”
Fitting for a show premiering on July 4th, a non-Japanese holiday, to start with fireworks. How kind of it.
As far as I can tell, Glasslip seems to be about a glass artisan’s daughter, and some friends of hers, but I haven’t the foggiest of anything else. The entire episode sort of swaps back and forth between the characters, and the setting they’re in, which is quite nice. It seems to be a quiet country-like setting, which would imply that this show aims to sort of blend a slice-of-life with a romcom in the back country. However the “transfer student” sort of throws the whole thing off, because it’s like he knows people there, but no real explanation is given, other than “we saw the same thing that day”.
The way I figure, this show can run one of two ways. It can run the line between SoL and romcom, and so long as the romcom part doesn’t end up pure shit, I can consider it a side-dish in this season and be fine with it. Or, it can try really hard to be an AnoHana but instead of chasing the dreams of a dead girl, they can be chasing the dreams of the fact that in ten years time, they won’t even know where each other are. Because you know, everyone keeps their high-school friends into their forties.
Which of course, I will drop like I did all of my high school friends. Because you just can’t spend the rest of your life in Denny’s after all. For one, it’s Denny’s.
First Rating: 7
Sub Group: Kaylith
More to come soon. But until then, have this week’s Rail Wars end card.