Episode 1 of Shinkansen Henkei Robo Shinkalion Z the Animation - Thoughts and Analysis
Oppdatert: 17. mai 2021
I loved the original series, and it is one of my favourite mecha anime. Therefore, I was really excited to eventually watch the sequel series, and now it has finally begun airing! Three episodes have aired as of now, however after I catch up I’ll begin making threads like this after each episode airs.
Now the original series had a main character who loved trains, most of the comedy was therefore derived from him geeking out about trains. In this series however, the main character is an outsider - he doesn’t have any particular passion towards trains, rather he loves the occult. Which is something quite different from something as mechanical and rigid as trains are. While this is a cool dichotomy, it mostly serves as a way to add jokes into the episode, similar to how Hayato’s obsession functioned. Hayato would go on about train commercials, and Shin talks at length about occult mysteries.
While I am mostly positive towards the episode, I have one grievance, and that is that it feels a bit out of character for Shin to be so infatuated with the Shinkansen when he sees it underground. Now while it did tie into the mystery which he brought up earlier, he dismissed it and was clearly disinterested in the mysterious aspects of the train, so i don’t like his reaction to first seeing the Shinkansen underground. He shouldn't be starry eyed and amazed, he should probably just be surprised.
Shinkalion Z seems to take place a good few years after the original series and the ALFA-X movie - a specific year is never said but given that they say that the satellite used to send out the capture field hasn’t been in use for many years, it gives us a good idea of how long the time skip has been. The people working at the Ultra Evolution institute are also completely unprepared for another alien invasion, as previously stated the capture field doesn’t work due to the fact that it hasn’t been used in very long, and neither do they have a pilot who is ready to fight the aliens. I think it’s a very good choice to go with a timeskip like this because the ALFA-X movie already felt like a pretty good send off to the original cast, we had a new villain related to the Kitoralsus and everyone showed up, combined and did their special attacks, Shinji even showed up again - it was very well done and I think they had their story told.
Despite having a new cast of characters, there are some definite parallels between the characters of each series, or at least the ones that have been introduced so far, which since this is the first episode, isn’t all that many. Shin and Abuto from Z are both clear parallels to two of the characters from the previous series, Hayato and Akita. Shin and Hayato are both the principal main character and are obsessed with one particular topic, while Abuto and Akita both have a similar hairstyle, which the principal main characters of both series also do.
A thing I’m really looking forward to seeing explored more in the series as it goes on is the dichotomy between Shin and Abuto, which is established within this first episode. Shin has no experience with the Shinkalion or trains however he is instantly good at fighting with it, showing an abnormally high compatibility rating, 92.5%. In the first episode of the original series, Hayato was only shown to have a compatibility rating of 80%, and that was with having trained from a simulator for a good while as well. Does this mean anything? No, it’s all arbitrary, but I think it’s cool regardless. That’s enough about percentages, getting back on track to the thing I am actually excited for, Abuto has presumably been training for this for a long time and is visibly disappointed when he is unable to pilot the Shinkalion, although it would seem he expected this to happen. He is distraught and feels what he is doing is futile, which isn’t helped by Shin being an instant genius able to do quickly what he has spent much time being unable to. The dichotomy between the two is very interesting and I am quite excited to see what comes of it!
Not really going to discuss any production related stuff, but the transformation scene was just as cool as I expected it to be, and while the fight at the end felt a little bit floaty with not enough weight to the train and monster, it didn’t bother me all that much.
“The chance is never zero!” Seems to be the main theme this series is going for. We see a flashback where Shin is talking to his dad and says that he wants to befriend an alien, to which his dad responds that the chance is never zero. I am looking forward to seeing Shin get his wish granted, although my main interest is definitely his relationship to Abuto, and what the motivation of this series’ enemy group will be. I really liked the Kitoralsus in the original series so I hope they manage to flesh out some bad guys in this one as well!