Version 5.4 ~ Haruhi gave rock and roll to you.

28 May 2024: Shuumatsu Train Doko e Iku is amazing

Steady as she goes.

I didn't know what to expect from Shuumatsu Train Doko e Iku (Where Does the Doomsday Train Go? or Train to the End of the World) before I started watching. It turned out to be unlike anything I've seen before. I shouldn't have been too surprised. It's an original anime with Mizushima Tsutomu (GIRLS und PANZER, Witch Craft Works) at the helm. The result is a bizarre medley of strange settings and weird encounters that are creative and amusing without crossing into the "LOL RANDOM" territory that I (distastefully) associate with, say, Shinbō Akiyuki (or Simbo, as he prefers). Notably, it also appears Mizushima has finally figured out how do horror. (I hated Another.) Specifically, the horror elements here are amusing instead of irritating and stressful instead of exasperating.

Don't get the gyaru angry. She's stupid, but strong.

Shuumatsu Train Doko e Iku is also a journey. I lament on occasion that there aren't enough anime featuring extended road trips. This is largely because travel in modern japan is too quick to support this sort of construct, so a series using travel as a framework typically needs to be set in the past, in a larger country, or around some excuse that keeps the characters' ultimate destination out of reach. Here, the contrivance preventing the Doomsday Train from reaching its destination quickly is also responsible for shaping everything else that happens, and it's fucking great.

Reimi, Akira, and Nadeshiko
Isn't it a serious social faux pas to eat on a train in Japan?

Not everyone seems to be on board with Shuumatsu Train, but I don't think it's divisive or controversial. I have seen some complaints that the lead characters are not distinctive enough for some viewers, and others have mentioned the dialogue is too rapid. Personally, I think the characters are interesting and memorable as individuals. I agree the dialogue is very rapid, though. There's a lot of snappy patter, which is usually not something I like, but I don't find it off-putting here. In fact, I sort of enjoy it. That's unexpected but fitting since basically everything else in every episode is also unexpected.

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