Cross-posted from: !animationafter30@lemmy.world

Original post: https://lemmy.world/post/17367342


Title: Train to the End of the World (English); 終末トレインどこへいく?(Japanese)

Type: Anime

Year: 2024

Country: Japan

Genre: Surreal

Status: Completed

Platform: Crunchyroll (watch here)

Appropriate for 30+?: No, but I (mostly) enjoyed it anyway

My rating: 3.5/5 stars

(Rating scale: 5/5 = masterpiece, 4/5 = quite good, 3/5 = mostly good, 2/5 = bleh, 1/5 = I regret ever being exposed to this series, 0/5 = affront to humanity)


Train to the End of the World (TEW) is perhaps one of the worst “cute girls doing cute things” series I’ve ever watched, and yet it’s probably the series I’ve enjoyed the most this year so far.

Much like Girls’ Last Tour, this is an entry into the “cute girls doing cute things, but in a dystopian setting” sub-sub genre that in theory hinges upon the bizarre juxtaposition of two seemingly incongruent elements. However unlike Girls’ Last Tour, (or the currently-airing Dead Dead Demon’s Dededede Destruction), TEW probably would have benefited greatly from having literally any other cast of main characters. I thought the girls were really cliche, annoying, and forgettable, with painfully uninspired dialogue, and were regrettably-yet-unsurprisingly subject to a level of sexualization that would probably make most older audiences uncomfortable (nothing extraordinary, just the anime standard treatment of high school girls). Honestly I zoned out during most of the scenes involving the girls chatting amongst themselves, and I doubt I missed much plot at a result.

Despite all this, the premise/setting/world building of TEW makes up for its flaws. Once the girls STFU, the show gets to show off its weird, fun, creepy side. This is a series that makes you go ah, this is what the animated medium is for: surreal nonsense that would require a buttload of fake-ass CGI to even attempt to portray in live action. I really like the tone of the series, which is generally upbeat but with an uneasy aftertaste that puts you on edge while never actually venturing into tragedy (as can happen with surreal/dystopian series, looking at you Kaiba). There’s a good balance of exploration and action, with some decent comedy tossed in on occasion.

Maybe I’m biased because my first trip to Japan, I spent a few weeks living at a guest house in Oizumi-Gakuen along the Seibu-Ikebukuro Line featured in this anime, and I’m a complete sucker for series that utilize real places (and TEW has a whole train line of them). Regardless I absolutely loved the premise of riding a train through a vast, unknown land of magic and horror, stopping at each station to learn what became of various previously-sleepy commuter towns in bizarro-Tokyo, intensity growing the closer you get to the city-within-a-city of Ikebukuro. TEW is a bit like Kino’s Journey, but with socio-political commentary replaced with the train scene in Spirited Away albeit with more menacing vibes.

In summary, TEW is weird and atmospheric and I am here for it, despite the obnoxious (and occasionally uncomfortably-portrayed) main cast of cliche anime high school girls. Perhaps the creators didn’t quite nail what they set out to do, but I couldn’t help but really appreciate the attempt.


As with all my reviews, the above is nothing more than my personal opinion. Have you read this series? What did you think? Post in the comments!

  • wjs018M
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    13 days ago

    I didn’t watch this show, but for reference of others: here is the list of all the episode discussion threads in this community for the series.

  • ludrol@bookwormstory.social
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    12 days ago

    and I doubt I missed much plot at a result.

    Plot - nah

    Jokes so fast that you bearly register them - yea

    I had VERY different vibe of this than Kino’s journey or girls last tour.

    More like Flip Flappers, Kyousou giga, Olympia kyklos( that’s a streach)

    • fireweed@lemmy.worldOP
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      12 days ago

      For sure, the tone of TEW is nothing like Kino (I only read the light novels, but I’m assuming the anime is similarly dark). However I thought the setting hit similar notes: visiting isolated city-state-like communities separated by vast, unpopulated expanses, each dramatically different from the others in some strange, unfortunate manner. I loved this world-building premise in Kino, and was happy to see it again but with a different twist in TEW.

  • zabadoh
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    12 days ago

    Hmm. I thought the girls were actually pretty good in this.

    Despite the quickfire comedy back and forth, I found their relationships to be sincere, with maybe the drawn out interactions with the main villain/classmate to be the exception.

    I particularly enjoyed the girls’ funny teamwork, especially the episode where they’re dealing with the manga-to-real-life city, and the chessmen henchmen.

    The story structure is similar to Galaxy Express 999 (another train-themed story) with stops, but it’s almost a dada-ist take on that with absurd versions of the human condition at each station. Or the classic children’s book/adaptations Le Petit Prince (no trains, just different planets as allegories)

    I don’t know what Kino’s Journey is. I should look that up.

    • fireweed@lemmy.worldOP
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      12 days ago

      Ten or fifteen years ago I almost certainly would not have found the girls as bland and annoying as I do watching this today. I think a combination of having read/watched dozens of series with similar characters, as well as aging out of the teenage/young adult demographic, made me completely uninterested in these characters… to the point that watching TEW felt like I was unironically “watching it for the plot”: I’m just here for the trains, bizarre setting, and surreal vibe!

      This is entirely a matter of opinion, of course. However of the people I know aged 30 and up who watch anime, I don’t think most of them would particularly enjoy the girls, and most likely would shy away from the series specifically because of their presence. That’s generally the type of audience I write reviews for; these reviews are posted to the “Animation and Comics after 30” community first and cross-posted here when relevant. Once upon a time I was into “cute girls find cute things series” (I re-watched Lucky Star at least once), but tastes change as you age, and while some older viewers may still enjoy these characters, I definitely did not.

      One series I am really interested in this season is Dead Dead Demon’s Dededededestruction, in part because the teenage girl cast don’t look or act like stereotypical anime girls. Compared to most anime girls, it’s almost as if the manga author pulled an Alien and wrote the characters to be gender neutral, since they often act more how I’d expect teenage boys in anime to act. Watching this series reminds me of watching the live action series Derry Girls: here’s a cast that compared to most media feels like a real-life group of teenagers, awkward and weird. I don’t think the manga quite translates to the animated format, but that’s a topic for a separate review.

    • wjs018M
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      12 days ago

      I don’t know what Kino’s Journey is

      Oh man, you are in for a treat. It ranks up there as one of my favorite series ever. It is an anthology series where the main character, Kino, travels from nation to nation with their companion, talking motorcyle, Hermes. So, each episode typically is a self-contained story that takes place in one nation with not that much that connects the different episodes other than an occasional returning character. I didn’t watch Train to the End of the World, but Kino’s Journey seems like it would be a different kind of tone. Kino’s Journey is very serious and sometimes extremely dark in tone.

      If you do decide to check it out, there are two different anime adaptations. The first adaptation is from 2003 and is very good, but the visuals do definitely feel dated by modern anime standards with heavy use of scan line filters and the like. The second adaptation is from 2017 and is also very good. I usually recommend people start with the 2017 show if they are coming in fresh because it looks gorgeous. Because of the anthology nature of the series, the two shows adapt some of the same stories and some different ones. So, if you really like one, then you will likely enjoy the other as well.

      • fireweed@lemmy.worldOP
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        12 days ago

        I’ll add in that Kino’s Journey was originally a light novel series, キノの旅 (Kino no Tabi). I never actually saw the anime, but really enjoyed the light novels (I read them in Japanese; hopefully the English translation is equally good).

        I think Kino is a great series for anyone who enjoys dystopias and social commentary. It’s a bit like The Twilight Zone or Black Mirror with its episodic premise of “imagine if there were a society that functioned like [concept of the week]; wouldn’t that be interesting/weird/fucked up?” Definitely not your standard anime/light novel! And yes, the tone of TEW and Kino is completely different; as mentioned in another comment, the similarity is in the setting/premise of exploring different isolated communities that each have some bizarre unique feature.