Train To The End of The World First Impressions

There’s definitely a first time for everything, and sometimes (or maybe even from time to time) with those first times you need to take the time to explain the first time, so that you don’t have to explain every time. So to get to the point and get past the waffling, this is a post where myself (Piro), and Bluedash chat about our thoughts after watching the first episode of Train To The End of The World.

Synopsis

The anime’s story is set in a town in a not-so-ordinary countryside, where a big and strange occurrence is happening to its residents. But a young girl named Shizuru Chikura has a strong desire to see her lost friend again. Shizuru and three other girls board an abandoned train, and they set out to the outside world, where survival is not certain. What awaits them at the last stop of the “Doomsday Train?”

Anilist

Staff

Storyboard

Tsutomu Mizushima

Episode Direction

Tsutomu Mizushima

Animation Direction

Masayuki Fujita, Junichi Hashimoto, Kazuyo Nakamura, Kei Takeuchi, Motoki Yagi, Yamauchi Daisuke, Studio Massket

Notable Animators

N/A

Conversation Corner

Well, I don’t quite think anyone was prepared for the direction of that Train To The End of The World showed off here. Gritty and sort of dark post-apocalyptic vibes aside, the opening concept and overall story were kept so under wraps so well that it was such a wild and confusing surprise to see how this episode started. It was also definitely Mizushima Tsutomu and EMT Squared flexing their ability with that 7G sequence to let viewers know that they’ve got something great here.

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Piro

What a crazy opener to the episode! I didn’t know what to expect from this show at all either as you’ve already mentioned due to how much the trailers beforehand had kept everything under wraps. The opener makes it really clear that this anime is going to go all out on the weird/experimental factor. The background art is really eye-catching right away too. The energy from the intro alone already made me excited to see the rest of the episode.

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BLUEDASH

Absolutely, yeah. The background art is definitely quite the looker as expected, so I’m more surprised about the intregration of CGI with it. There’s a few cuts in this opening episode where they make use of CGI environments with 2D characters walking, and with how resolute Mizushima is in refusing to pan the 2D camera, it really adds a great feel to the few moments you can find it in.

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Piro

Speaking of feel, the background art on its own provide a lot of the storytelling in the initial scenes of the episode. Without even gathering much context from the skip from the high-tech intro at the beginning to our present day, you will immediately recognize that this place is completely in ruins. The way of telling the story and establishing the tone, in general, without saying that much, I feel is a bit of a storytelling style that a lot of anime doesn’t employ due to pandering to audiences who need it spelled out for them. I love seeing this type of storytelling here.

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BLUEDASH

No doubt. Mizushima seems to really be going all in on that angle of show, not tell. A great example being the delivery companies that exist in the world at this junction, for example. Lots of not-so-little details, but Mizushima feels that none are required to explain right now, and that adds a really great air of mystery to Train To The End of The World. Alongside that, the lack of music in the earlier parts of the episode really help sell that more “mature” air of storytelling- that actually vaguely reminds me of Sonny Boy.

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Piro

That lack of music and more focus on ambient noises reminded me a lot of Mizushima’s other anime, “Another.” And while the two shows are not similar at all narratively, I feel like Mizushima is trying to accomplish the very same thing here. He’s trying to make us feel a bit uncomfortable if we weren’t already after seeing this weird post-apocalyptic animorph situation. It’s like he’s deliberately trying to create a contrast between the focus (our main girl leads) and what surrounds them. There’s nothing cheerful or cute about the current situation. This is a real post-apocalyptic type of situation. The soundtrack and background of the show won’t let you forget that.

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BLUEDASH

Yeah, that’s very true. Though try as Mizushima does with this episode, he also definitely loves playing up the absurd angle. Much like that psychedelic 7G sequence, the silliness of something incredibly dire or important ends up as quite the way to release tensions and even provide narrative progression. I mean, just look at poor little Zenjirou. He’s a comic relief character through and through, but through Shizuru he sets up a lot of groundwork for both the rules of this (unruly) world, and the direction of the story past the girls trying to find Yoka.

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Piro

The show is definitely super wacky and keeps its fun charm throughout. Your mention of Zenjirou does remind me, though… Can we talk about how good the animation overall in this episode is? Zenjirou’s silly walk cycle, for example, was oddly smooth, and there are so many great sequences that utilize the camera so well. EMT Squared has always been a decent studio when it comes to animation, but it really does feel like they knocked it out of the park here. In recent years, they’ve been stuck doing isekai anime, which I would still argue are animated better than the average isekai shows, but what do you think caused such a huge uptick in quality? Is it the director himself or more of its anime original nature?

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BLUEDASH

I was waiting for you to bring that up haha. It’s really quite the feat for EMT here. On a group of only 7 key animators, they’ve really accomplished some great work for an opening episode. Like you said, the animation is very solid. Maybe not on par with some of the most notable studios out there, but it’s definitely work that punches above its weight class. I mean, a majority of those 7 animators from the 90s era as layout artists, but they’ve applied themselves here really well, and I have to think that it’s thanks to Asako Nishida’s great character designs. Though, it’s certain that the jump in quality in the first place for Train To The End of The World comes from both Mizushima’s involvement and its status as anime orignial. Rather than talking about that though, I’m really excited to chat about EMT’s surprisingly good use of CGI in the episode.

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Piro

The CG integration on this episode was really insane. While I don’t think the models themselves were perfect throughout, there were definitely some uncanny-looking ones that should have maybe had better shaders. I haven’t seen a show utilize this many 3D Camera shots especially this well in a while. The smooth transitions into them are very much unmatched and it came from CG Director Yuuta Hatayama who’s not exactly that well known in the industry. I think you’re probably waiting and gnawing at the bits to talk about the scene when she first discovers the mysterious train and how they utilized the camera yeah?

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BLUEDASH

Oh I absolutely am haha. I can definitely agree that the shaders in some sequences like that are a little off or uncanny, but the fidelity and “art style” for the CGI textures is quite good, and is only helped by Mizushima’s choices to make the most of a 3D space. It’s really my biggest pet peeve with anime and 3D work. When you have that dimensionality, your only recourse is to maximize it. Dynamic and fluid shots like Shizuru on the train are a perfect example of that. I think the biggest surprise in regards to the CGI though is that a lot of it is in-house with EMT2 CG. Mizushima and EMT seem like they have a very solid head on their shoulders with this production, and you really feel that with every aspect of this debut episode. It has me really excited to see where Train To The End of The World finds itself going through this season.

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Piro

Next week cannot come soon enough. This is the first show I’ve seen this season, and man, if they can keep up with the plot intrigue and the overall oddness of the show, I think this has the potential to be one of my favorite shows this season. But, of course, I can’t say that as we’re only one episode in, and we know nothing about the series aside from what was shown since it’s an original anime. But isn’t that the fun part? Let’s see where the train tracks take us!

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BLUEDASH

Ratings

Category


Story

Visuals

Animation

Enjoyment

Overall

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Piro


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BlueDash



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