I love a good train sequence and I know I’m not alone. There’s a reason why it is a staple of action movies and dramas alike. Trains can let the cast sit back and have those poignant conversations to catch the audience up on details and ensure that the characters can’t escape midway through, they allow for some thrilling cat and mouse, and mostly they allow for an escalated sense of drama because until they get to the next station you aren’t getting off. At least not without a few bumps and scrapes. There’s just something really fun about trains and they serve so many purposes in stories outside of just getting the characters from point A to point B.
Below are some of my favourite train sequences. When I thought of this list my main consideration was how memorable the train or train sequence was within the anime. I’d love to know your favourites so leave a comment below.
Please note, there will be spoilers below.
Honourable Mention: Full Metal Alchemist – It is amazing how much exposition takes place while the characters are on the various trains travelling around the country.
Number 5: Fairy Tail
Okay, the train in Fairy Tail has a number of purposes. Firstly it does just get the cast from point A to B. It also allows for some bonding between team members. It’s also one of the many sources of the ongoing joke that Natsu gets motion sick. And, because it is Fairy Tail, the train and the train tracks are also the sight of a fairly intense battle sequence. Or it would have been fairly intense if the battles that came after it hadn’t completely eclipsed it. At the time when you watch it, the battle seems like a big deal. Whichever way, the train and the fight were well remembered even though its been quite awhile since I put Fairy Tail on hold and I need to get back and finish watching it at some point.
Number 4: Chuunibyou
Love and Other Delusions indeed, but the scene that stands out to me more so than any other save the climax of season one is the scene where Yuuta watches Rikku do her thing and stares in amazement as the train door opens and she struts on, before realising he neglected to get on and he is now late for school. It’s a classic moment and one that really defines the relationship the two characters will carry on with for the better half of season one. So while technically not on a train, when thinking of train scenes, this one immediately came to mind.
Number 3: Spirited Away
A rare entry from an anime movie on one of my lists. I’m not the biggest fan of Spirited Away, it’s pleasant enough but it doesn’t really stick. And yet, for some reason the train scene does. It isn’t even a major point in the story as it really is just a visually pretty interlude as we move from one setting to another and stretch out the run time of a story with some striking scenery. However, it did serve its purpose and it is quite an iconic sequence.
Number 2: Izetta: The Last Witch
As much as I ended up not enjoying Izetta very much as a whole, the train sequence from episode 1 was pretty brilliant. It was exciting, it got me hyped for the setting and time period of this anime, and it was actually the highlight of the entire series. Too bad it peaked in episode 1. But, it does make this train sequence one that it worth remembering because it did exactly what it needed to in grabbing the audiences’ attention.
Number 1: Baccano
Could there ever have been a different choice for this list? The Flying Pussyfoot is legendary and this train dominates as the setting of the most memorable of the interwoven stories in the series. So many characters have converged in a confined space with their own backstories and motives. There will be laughs, mis-understandings, and blood. So much blood before this train ride is completed. Definitely a train ride to remember even if it does take the better part of a season to see the entirety of it.
Again, this was my list, but I’d love to know your picks below.
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23 thoughts on “Tuesday’s Top 5: Trains and Train Sequences in Anime”
Your post was the first thing that this (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dX_fxkS0Vhw) reminded me of. May it add to your watch list…er help you relive train moments that didn’t make your list.
Gotta love poor Natsu and his sickness and how he can use Happy to fly since he is his friend lol.
Yes, I remember how horrified Natsu was when Lucy suggested that Happy was a form of transport.
I watched Galaxy Railways because I liked trains, even though they were really space ships, sorta kinda.
I forgot about that. I never finished watching it but I was kind of curious about it because of the ‘train’ concept.
Me, too. The series seemed sort of aimless, though, as though it couldn’t decide whether it was action/adventure or slice of life.
The second I saw the title, I simply knew Baccano had to be the number one choice. Although I want to rewatch it before I review it (I liked it my first time around, but since there would be large gaps in between episodes for me because of life I got even more confused) the train scenes were easily my favorite.
I was also pleasantly surprised to see Spirited Away here; I like that movie, but that scene didn’t even come to mind when I saw the title, so I was glad to see it.
I remember the train scene in spirited away was the scene that made me really think ‘this is beautiful’. The rest of the movie is lovely, don’t get me wrong, but there is something truly beautiful about that sequence and I really enjoy it.
I think it’s the fact that the movie is so crazy and almost in your face with how beautiful it is. But the train scene is calm and soothing, and just lets the beauty happen…I dunno, that may be why I find some of the “quieter” Ghibli movies to be even more beautiful than Spirited Away; they’re a more subtle form of beauty.
Definitely FMA, Spirited Away and Baccano. I think I’d also add Eva. Also, probably everything by Makoto “I must add more trains” Shinkai would work as well.
I’ve got to watch Baccano soon. It sounds great. But I didn’t read the train thing for spoilers.
I made a huge mistake in watching anything more than an episode of fairy tail, but I did enjoy it for a long time, the train thing was a cool funny moment.
I really thought spirited away was just boring and don’t even remember the train there. I’ve already lost half the battle when watching Ghibli films because my laptop screen has a terrible display which makes all Ghibli films look trash, I would probably enjoy the films way more if the visuals actually looked good to me since they put so much effort into them.
Baccano is really fun provided you are good with just going with it. Things come together though like most stories that try to layer things on, there’s a few inconsistencies if you start thinking too much about it. I really enjoy it.
I’m also not the biggest Ghibli fan finding the stories fairly meh. Spirited Away is an exception and I really enjoy that movie for some reason.
Way more people like spirited away, I just can’t get into it.
Hmm…this is tough for me, but maybe the sequence in Wolf’s Rain. In a way it introduced us to a main character in a grim light, but I think that serves it’s purpose of showing just how desperate people are in getting what they want in that world. It’s desolate, cold, and (in my opinion) the small fight sequence on the approach to and on the train worked well with setting the world up, even if it seemed like a minor point.
Sometimes minor points really do have greater significance. Thanks for sharing your choice.
Baccano is fantastic, so I agree with your number one there. I’d also include A Place Further than the Universe. I liked how the show used the trains to symbolize growth for one character.
I didn’t get that far into it, but thanks for adding your pick.
The Flying Pussyfoot is one train I sure want to ride. It definitely did have the most memorable action and a lot did converge on this one train. Nothing beats the Flying Pussyfoot really :’)
Gotta love the naming sense there as well.
I think it would have been a cool train ride even without all the gangsters and murder because it just looks like such a cool train.
Haha yeah the name is something!
That’s true. It looks like quite the fancy old timey train. Definitely something I’d want to ride.
Let’s see… My pick…
Nah, you got the ones I was gonna mention. FMA and Baccano, so yeah, right on. The only other good ones I can think of are from video games, namely Final Fantasy.
That would actually be fun doing a list of train sequences from video games. My pick would be the one from GoldenEye.