Rail Wars! was never going to win any awards, but it was, for me at least, a consistent source of entertainment, but also offered something unique and quirky in its extensive train-lore. With the royal assassination attempt arc resolved, the show is free to sit back and relax a little with an episode that nicely encapsulates many aspects of its run.
For one thing, Takayama Naoto has always been passionate about trains to the point of good-natured meddlesomeness. Even aboard a train where he has no jurisdiction, he can’t help but want to help when he spots a little hiccup of trouble. Nothing severe like no brakes, mind you, just things that would mar an ideal train ride. But also, he just can’t seem to sit still on a train, and Iida is swept along with him.
Having Iida as his companion for most of the episode was an interesting move that I agree with for the last episode. The flirty Iida has never shown to have a serious romantic interest in Naoto whether due to age or her status as his superior, or because she’s just not interested in him in that way. That doesn’t change here, but Iida still admires Naoto as he jumps from one problem to the next.
We still get a fair share of all the girls who are into Naoto, but because they’re back at D4 headquarters, the episode can focus more on the minutiae of simply enjoying a long train ride, but also have Naoto solve a few more problems without it involving intimate contact with Aoi or Koumi. He does borrow Iida’s still-warm panyhose, and she presses against him once or twice, but these incidents are pretty inconsequential. Most of the time, the trip was less rom-com, more slice-of-(train)life.
But Naoto doesn’t fix everything by himself. He’s become much stronger thanks to the combined talents of the rest of his D4 team, including Iida, and he’s cognizant of that while acknowledging he’s very much the center of attention at the surprise get-together in his room. The harem situation isn’t resolved (nor should it have) and everyone raises their drinks to Naoto, “The Womanizer.”
We really only hate it when a guy is liked by many gals without a good explanation, but it was always clear here (he’s bright, kind, and brave when he needs to be), so it wasn’t that bad, though we remain Naoto/Aoi shippers to the last. The show also made every one of the trains it featured characters in and of themselves, and the impressive gas turbine-powered KiHa 381 “Bulldog” was a fitting final “guest star.”
Final Average Rating: 7.25
MAL Score: 6.58