Recommendation: Shinkansen Henkei Robo Shinkalion

Shinkalion is a toy-line by Takara Tomy featuring transforming Shinkansens (bullet trains). The toys debuted back in 2015 but only until 2018 did it get an anime-adaptation. The series borrows heavily from Japan’s current Shinkansen culture (which is also the main idea behind the toys). Thanks to that, we got a crossover with Evangelion.
The series focus on Hayato Hayasugi – son of Hokuto Hayasugi – a young boy who is the Ryuusei Date of shinkansens (meaning he’s the biggest fanboy there is). His dad is secretly a staff for the Ultra Evolution Institute, a secret organization that fights against the Kitoralzers and their Kaijuus, and their weapons: Transforming TRAINS! Hayato now departs from the station to fight against monsters, meet new friends across Japan and spread his love for Shinkansens to everyone (sometimes to radical level).

Plot: Made as an extravagant toy commercial, Shinkalion is your typical Monster-of-the-week show for kids, but then evolve into something more. The format usually is the characters have an issue and figure how to solve it, then the monster appears, and the fight happens. It is almost a Super Sentai format since it features more members of the Institute later on. However, both the characters and the plot are kept moving in a decent pace without boring the audience. Some episodes deliver really meaningful messages and there are a lot of “serious” episode too. One of the great things about the series is that every Shinkalions – although the base looks are the same – all possess different strengths and gimmicks, with Hayato being the one with the most abilities. You can even see a hint of Kamen Rider-style power-ups from him.

Animation: by OLM studio and CG by Shogakukan Entertainment. Takara really paid big bucks for the animation since the CG are beautifully done. The Shinkalions’ movement are mechanically fluid. Effects are crisp and colorful. Shinkalion definitely has one of the best animations during 2018-2019.Gutentor Advanced Text

Mecha Design: by Keita Hattori-sensei. The designs for the toys are already there, and he translated them into a more sleek and dynamic form perfectly. The Shinkalions look straight out of a Brave show (which is also Takara’s so that makes sense). The Giant Monsters are also pretty interesting.Gutentor Advanced Text

Music: For a kids’ show, Shinkalion got pretty good OST. The OP is very energetic, and the battle music is badass. Courtesy to Toshiyuki Watanabe for music composition and Masafumi Mima for sound director. They both produced great works before.
Overall, Shinkalion the Animation is a kids’ show by name but can be enjoyed by even the most veteran of mecha anime. It features carious call-backs from Gundam and Brave and other mecha series as well. It is a great anime to enjoy with your kids or younger siblings/friends.Gutentor Advanced Text


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