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First Impressions: Summer 2014 – Rail Wars!, Sailor Moon Crystal and Shounen Hollywood

July 5, 2014


Loads of stuff out today, already falling behind!  Up next are boobs on a train, maxed out nostalgia and more male idols – Rail Wars!, Sailor Moon Crystal and Shounen Hollywood.

Rail Wars!

Well this was much worse than I was expecting.  I have absolutely no idea what kind of tone the show is going for – is it educational?  Is it tits & ass fanservice? Is it action?  God knows because it has all those things rammed in there and the end result is a rather underwhelming mess of weirdness.  Why do these high-schoolers need to learn how to shoot in order to work in railway security?  Why the hell did we need that extended scene of them shovelling coal into a steam locomotive!?  Couldn’t they have called ahead to the next station to have the purse-snatchers arrested rather than racing to next stations themselves?  And just what the feck is going on with the scary pendulous, jelly-like boobs on that pink-haired girl???

Budget is pretty rubbish on the show with the hilarious CG trains, truly mystifying boob physics, and bland character designs.  Script is also exceptionally dry with stereotypical characters and inter-spaced with random info dumps about trains that had me completely zoned out (even if they were given by Fukuyama Jun).

Awful show – dropped.

Sailor Moon Crystal

NOSTALGIA!!  This was pretty much a straight remake of the original first episode and the revamped animation is clearly designed to appeal to the current little girl fans of Precure.  If you’re new to Sailor Moon this episode probably won’t completely hook you into the series, because Usagi is at her most irritating right at the start – whiny, loud and dim, she thankfully does improve a lot as time goes on.

I will say that the new animation style is going to take a bit of getting used to, it is quite plastic, expressions aren’t quite as easy to exaggerate for comedy, and the full CG transformation sequence was a bit strange looking – but in general the show looks shiny and pretty – the title-cards and eye-catches in particular are beautiful.  Can’t say I’m a massive fan of the new music though – very generic J-pop and utterly forgettable.

All these cosmetic niggles aren’t really that important, because all that really matters is that we’re seeing Sailor Moon on the TV again, repackaged for an entirely new generation to enjoy – I’m delighted!

Shounen Hollywood

I’m surprised by how watchable this was.  I went in fully expecting something completely underwhelming like Wake Up Girls with bland male idols, but instead got something a bit more interesting.  I quite like these characters and it feels like there is actual effort being put into the shows writing and animation……kind of shocked to be honest.  I’m not entirely sold on the character designs, but there is some nice attention to detail to make them different from each other.  There is also an owl.  Show gets a few more points automatically just for that.

It is still yet another idol show and the music is suitably crap, but it was kinda hilarious to see the boys cringing while practising those horribly embarrassing self intro lines and poses idols in other shows seem to pull off without batting an eyelid.

Basically Shounen Hollywood is pretty grounded, well written and has some nice animation and background detailing.  Definitely not what I was expecting, but a pleasant surprise.  Will be checking out more.

12 Comments leave one →
  1. July 6, 2014 2:47 am

    Likewise, Shounen Hollywood really surprised me by how down-to-earth it seemed. Random owls aside, I just wasn’t expecting the series to feel this… genuine, I guess. Idol shows aren’t and have never been my thing, so I don’t know that I’ll be watching the entire way through, but I’m vaguely impressed despite myself.

    • July 6, 2014 11:09 pm

      Random owl made it even better! But yeah Shounen Hollywood surprised me, I wasn’t expecting it to contain anything resembling effort. I don’t really enjoy idol shows either (unless they are utterly ridiculous like UtaPri) but more than willing to give Shounen Hollywood a fair go.

  2. July 6, 2014 2:43 pm

    RailWars: I think the reason they couldn’t call ahead was these 4 are the only security guards in the entire Japanese National Railway system. Well those 4 plus their boss.

  3. July 6, 2014 3:34 pm

    Rail Wars — I’m big railfan and I will be watching this no matter how much absurd and perhaps unnecessary fan service is tucked into it. Anything that involves trains, I will be watching for the trains!! After all, if I see a train, I stop and watch it. And if I don’t see a train, I stop and wait for it, and then I watch it. ALL ABOARD!!!

    Sailor Moon — I wish they had done the original opening for at least this first episode. My wife liked the new OP, but I’m not no sure. The ending was good though. I like that one.

    I love how the animation and storyline and a lot of the character designs reflect the manga. It gives a great 90’s feel to it.

    Watching this on Hulu is a bit disconcerting due to the 2 minute commercial breaks. But it amuses me that the commercials seem to be directed to the 30-45 age demographic, figuring I suppose that teens who watched the original series will be watching the reboot.

    But if they start showing VIagra commercials, then you know it’s time to run and hide!! =P

    • July 6, 2014 11:13 pm

      Will you be fast-forwarding through all the crap fanservice to get to the educational train info-dumps? That may be the only way to survive that show.

      I really wish they had of kept the original Sailor Moon OP song too – could have done a cover of it easily enough.

      The series does have the feeling of being for both the original fanbase who are now adults and the current generation of little girls – can only be a fantastic thing.

      • July 7, 2014 3:06 am

        As for the crap fanservice…I wont be fast-forwarding. I’ll deal with it with the bemusement it deserves, and hope for the best. One little touch in Rail Wars that I hope they get to is one where the gang of four is at Shinjuku Station and they suddenly hear the following announcement:

        “Your attention please. Your attention please. The Nozomi train #248 from Osaka now arriving on tracks 5,6 &7 is coming in sideways.”

        I’ll ignore any fanservice involved in THAT scenario. =P

  4. July 11, 2014 2:53 pm

    I agree with you on that Rail Wars. I mean, sure i like their voice BUT as much as i try to like the characters, the story itself is ummm i don’t know..pretty stupid? Okay, please help me on this one Caraniel~Chan^^ plus that butthurt-girl who keep bothering the main guy is a plain annoying. I mean as soon as it starts? In first episode? Seriously? Lastly but not least, the so-called-bounciness of boobies-service is just umm..yeah, i think you get what i meant. Haha! I delete it as soon as i finished.
    As for SailorMoon Crystal, i practically grew up with it since middle school. But i rather watch the dubbing ones, and ONLY one from many dubbed out there that i can seriously tolerate with. Which is why i was hoping the voices for all the characters, especially Usagi’s, would use nowadays type of voices. Well, they do EXCEPT Usagi’s. And that same seiyuu still use the same annoying-whiny voice. Urgh~ thought it is a bit improve than the original ones but that classic-whinny is still way over the top. I just hope i can endure that little torture until the end. For the sake of my childhood memories, i must endure *pray!*
    Shonen Hollywood is a SURPRISE! I thought i’m gonna dislike this anime and will surely fall in love with Bakumatsu Rock but turns out it is a complete opposite. LOL!
    Oh have you watch Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun? That one is a WOW! I mean i didn’t expected to be hook on first episode. Same goes to Locodol, and that is a first i like that kinda story. And of course, my long awaited Love Stage. This one put my Fujoshi mood on fairly extreme level. (^^,)

    • July 11, 2014 11:46 pm

      Rail Wars is exceptionally dry in its story-telling – it wants to be educational about trains, but it also wants to add in some action and fanservice, but has no real idea how to blend all these random ideas into an interesting show. Result is a messy, disjointed show with terrible boob-physics.

      My first encounter with Sailor Moon was also with the English dub, but I personally prefer the Japanese dub. Keeping the original actress for Usagi is a positive thing for me as it ties into my sense of nostalgia even more – but yes, Usagi is an annoying, whiny brat in these early episodes – can’t wait for her to get better!

      Very surprised at Shounen Hollywood too – hope it maintains this high standard, but won’t hold my breath – really hope the first episode wasn’t a fluke!

      I’ve covered nearly all the shows that have aired so far this season as is my usual habit – check under the First Impressions category 🙂

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