High Strangeness With Train to the End of the World

Welcome one! Welcome all. To this mysterious, confounding, and bizarre adventure! Let’s dive into a world that seemingly cares little for the human-imposed laws of the universe. A world where wonder and the unknown lurk around every corner! So, put your tinfoil hats on, watch out for the reptiles that rule us, and let us dive into high strangeness with Train to the End of the World.

What is high strangeness? Umu. You see, it’s a fact that UAPs cruise our skies, but no one knows what they are. In ages far gone, back when we were as scared of little green men as we were of those damn commies. Astronomer and university professor Josef Allen Hynek was an advisor to several projects involving the validity and existence of UFOs. During these projects, he coined the term “high strangeness” which refers to outlandishly bizarre things.

Aliens traversing galaxies to poke you in the butt? That’s high strangeness. Crytpids running around in your attic? That’s high strangeness. 7G causing the apocalypse and forcing a bunch of lolis to mount a rescue mission? Definitely high strangeness.

Train to the End of the World, Episodes 1 and 2

Right off the bat, Train to the End of the World throws up some major red flags. Any corporation that abducts a teenage girl via a robotic owl that leaves her covered in a mysterious, opaque substance either really knows how to have fun, or it is several miles from legality. Here, it’s the latter. Yoka Nakatomi learns this lesson the hard way as she’s carted off to be the person who launches the world’s first 7G network. As she stands there, confused and irritated. An exec named Poison Pontaro informs her of what’s going on. Word to the wise. If one day an owl covers you with sticky fluids and a dude named Poison Pontaro gets close to you, throw hands. Channel your inner Mike Tyson and bite off an ear! But guess she’s from a small town because she can’t try that there.

7G, as it’s hyped, will bring humanity closer to heaven. It will cure all ailments past and present. It’s going to give us No Game No Life season 2. But as Yoka is forced to push the button, instead of all the magical promises. The end of times kicks off. Guess the Mayans were 12 years too early. And across Japan (and probably the world,) everything goes off the rails. People mutate into animals (insert FMA flashbacks). The geography and topography of the landscape are changed beyond recognition, and the night sky reveals just how screwed people are.

In the town of Anago, humanity isn’t faring too well. Even so, Shizuru Chikura has only one thing on her mind, Yoka, who’s been missing since 7G kicked off. But try as she may to find her, since the world went belly up, she’s been MIA. Even more pressing of an issue is that she has a limited time to find her. For reasons unknown, once villagers reach the age of 21 (plus 3 months), they transform into animals. While they’re still able to retain their sapience, they’re trapped in the village. Venturing out as animals into a world where people have little food, supplies, and god knows what other abominations lurk around is just an easy way to get eaten.

However, on a whim of fate, one day, Shizuru gets the clue she’s been waiting for. As a heavily armored supply convoy conducted a drop-off, Shizuru and her friends noticed a crumpled piece of newspaper in one of the boxes with a photo taken in Ikebukuro. And in that photo is the missing Yoka. Realizing that life’s pretty much over, things are falling apart, and there’s not much time left. Shizuru sets out to find the missing Yoka via a derelict train she learned to drive with the help of the curious figure that is the transforming Zenjiro.

But since her departure is fast and furious, her friends are thrown off by it and, in the confusion, join her journey. As the girls head towards Ikebukuro, they realize they may be unprepared for the journey ahead. They lack supplies and food and are unaware of how long the journey will take. What was once an hour’s train ride from Agano to Ikebukuro is now a months-long journey because of the increased distance between the two. Because of that, the choice to head back to Agano and resupply is made. But a tsunami forces the girls to press on towards Ikebukuro.

7G: It’s Like 5G But Two Increments Deadlier

While 7G being the end of the world seems incredulous. Please remember, we live in a world where people believe that 5G is everything from a form of mind control to the reason COVID-19 exists. And if you’re not aware of that, I envy your life. But if you haven’t been able to avoid the stupid when you’re online, have you asked yourself why people believe this? Lack of education, really. I’m not saying all conspiracies are untrue. There are some really wild ones out there that are 100% factual.

But not this one. This one stems from a misunderstanding of how harmful radiation differs from the non-iodizing radiation of RF electromagnetic fields. But for a moment, let’s say 7G (which scientists warned against) does emit harmful radiation. How could that have caused what we saw?

High Strangeness With Train to the End of the World; Space/Time Distortions

Right off the bat, the most noticeable issue that 7G causes is a complete change in the Earth’s environment. Based on things we see during its initial launch as well as things we see later on in episodes 1 and 2, like different planets being present in the night sky. We have to assume that 7G created disruptions powerful enough that it not only jumbled the planet but may have even moved it to another point in the universe or another dimension entirely.

High Strangeness with Train to the End of the World, another episode one screenshot showing 9 planets in the night sky. We're not in the Milky Way any more.

Why can we speculate that? If somehow you were in Pluto, and you’d look up at the night sky, it would still be somewhat familiar. The position of the constellations you see here would change. But, the constellations themselves would be the same. Those are so far away from us that no matter where you are in the Milky Way, you’ll find them somewhere in the night sky. So, for them to be absent and have planets in their place. We’re FAR from home.

But how? Well, gravity holds things together. That’s what makes planets cohesive, it’s also what determines their orbits. When 7G was powered on, everything shook. Those vibrations may have been so intense that they literally warped space. How humans or even the planet survived is a mystery. The stretching of people when 7G was turned on is a pretty good giveaway that this may be the case. If a black hole appeared close to Earth, we wouldn’t just crumble into it. We’d get stretched and distorted as we approach the event horizon.

7G and Sporadic Body Mutations

Once 7G activated and told the Anthropocene to sod off, things changed. But that change wasn’t consistent. While in Ikebukuro it was mostly infrastructure that changed. In Agano (our MC’s hometown,) people changed. To be precise, they changed into animals. And again, one must wonder how.

Radiation would be a plausible answer. If enough radiation was released, either directly by the 7G or indirectly due to foreign substances being introduced into the Earth’s atmosphere. That radiation/substance could trigger mutations and cause human cells to assimilate cells from other animals.

Though, an important note is that, as presented, humans don’t fully change into animals. Instead, they take on their form. Animals can’t talk or reason due to vastly different brain and vocal chord makeup. Yet, in their animal forms, the residents of Agano can kept their mental faculties and their ability to speak.

That would indicate that either mutations or horizontal gene transfer and assimilation are happening. But there’s an issue with this explanation, extinct species. If one pays keen attention to background scenes in episode one, we see dinosaurs and woolly mammoths roaming the town. Since no viable genetic material from either of these animals would still be present, we have to assume that it wasn’t only space that was affected but time as well. Or it’s something else entirely.

High Strangeness With Train to the End of the World – Post Notes

A few things worth noting are the supercharged growth displayed in the show and the way electricity still works. As shown in the train during episode 2, plant growth is supercharged. Likewise, crop yields are more abundant compared to what was possible before.

While the town’s electricity is still running, it’s at a significantly reduced rate. Only single appliances can be used, anything more than that results in breakers getting tripped. The trains still function but run on a pseudo-electrical current that now passes through the rails. This may seem irrelevant and part of the course at first, but the researcher in episode 2 states that everything other than the things along the Seibu-Ikebukuro lone has possibly, maybe, presumably disappeared. It would seem that the rails hold a key to what may be happening. It’s never a good idea to trust a crazy person on a swan boat. But, when that person hands you a true-to-form map of what you’ll see, it’s best to listen and go along.

Screenshots via Crunchyroll
© apogeego / Shumatsu Train Doko he Iku? Production Committee