This year marks the 40th year that the Sanyo Shinkansen (bullet train) line has been in operation in Japan, as well as the 20th anniversary of the anime, Evangelion. And what happens when you put the two together? You get the 500 Type Eva!
The creator of Evangelion and a mechanical designer got together and created this amazing design for one of the 500 series shinkansens. The train only runs once a day between Osaka and Hakata (and return), and yesterday, 7th November, was the opening day. Coincidently, I just happened to be heading into Hiroshima City and needed to catch a certain train. 😉
According to the official website, the first and second carriage have been completely decked out in the Evangelion theme. The first carriage has been turned into an exhibition room where you can see art panels from the anime, photos and even a life-sized cockpit that you can sit in. However, you have to enter an online lottery in order to stand a chance of gaining access to the first carriage. The second carriage is non-reserved seating, so its free for all. Though I could see that the second carriage was full (considering it was the first day). Though hopefully sometime in the future (before the run ends in March 2017) I will grab a seat in the second carriage. In the meantime, I sat in one of the other carriages for my trip to the city.
Something that made me smile was that they had even changed the little tune that plays to announce an upcoming station to the Evangelion theme tune. I was quite impressed at the level of detail they had gone to.
I think one of the things I enjoyed most about going on this special train was watching the reactions of people on the platform as the train pulled into a new station. You either had those who knew about it, and had their cameras ready and waiting. And then you had those who had no clue and their mouths just dropped when seeing the train. I watched salarymen turn into little kids as they laughed and grinned from ear to ear as they boarded. I suppose for some adults it is like a childhood fantasy come true considering Evangelion first aired in 1995 – they most likely grew up watching the anime.
If you are currently in Japan, or are planning on visiting (or make it onto the JET Programme!) before March 2017, then I highly recommend making plans to catch this train (and aim for the second carriage). Check out the website for more details about the time schedule and the days on which it doesn’t run.
And to round up this post I will randomly share with you what I had for lunch at one of the many restaurants at Hiroshima station. 😉