Shinkalion might not be a huge household name overseas, but the kid’s anime about Japanese shinkansen trains that transform into giant robots has been developing some mind-blowing crossovers over the last couple of years. These media mashup pursuits have come full swing in the new full-length film spinoff for the anime series, which opens up with Hatsune Miku jumping into a giant robot and battling Godzilla in a snowy tundra. Yes, you read that sentence correctly.
Shared on Yahoo! Movies Japan, the new clip from Gekijō-ban Shinkansen Henkei Robo Shinkalion: Mirai Kara Shinsoku no ALFA-X (translated in English as the equally long mouthful Shinkansen-Transforming Robot Shinkalion the Movie: The Mythically Fast ALFA-X That Came From Future) shows off the first 3 minutes of the giant robot anime film, where we’re immediately introduced to the cross-over multi-media death match of the century. This is the first time Godzilla has been involved in the Shinkalion franchise, but the passion for Japan’s most iconic giant monster is obvious: the iconic Godzilla roar is there, and when the massive reptilian beast shows up, we even get to hear that iconic Godzilla theme music.
There’s a bit of connective tissue that explains how a wild crossover like this could have happened. The Shinkalion series, which consists not just of an anime but also of a toy line made up of gorgeous transforming trains, has collaborated with Neon Genesis Evangelion on numerous occasions. The toy line produced a transforming train version of the iconic purple and green Eva Unit 01 in October of 2017. On May 5th the following year, during the run of the Shinkalion television series, a tribute scene showing off the real-life Evangelion train aired to celebrate the ending of the iconic anime trains service.
That small scene snowballed into something quite larger, though. on August 11th, the anime series premiered an episode where a brand new transforming train Eva, the 500 TYPE EVA, showed up. Even better, the new robot was piloted by a familiar face: Shinji Ikari, the protagonist of the Neon Genesis Evangelion series. Shinji was even voiced by his original voice actor, Megumi Ogata, who funnily enough didn’t think she would get the role because it took so long for an offer to come along. All of these collaborations were helmed by Neon Genesis Evangelion director Hideaki Anno, a huge train fan who also directed the jaw-dropping Godzilla film Shin Godzilla. Considering his involvement with both iconic series, it’s likely he had some sway in helping the iconic kaiju make its way into the Shinkalion universe.
As for Hatsune Miku, though, this isn’t her first rodeo in the giant-transforming-train-robot world of Shinkalion. She joined the cast of the anime as a regular character back in 2018 on the 15th episode of the show. Technically, the character isn’t the same digital idol Hatsune Miku, with her name even written in slightly different kanji despite being pronounced the same way. In Shinkalion, she’s an aspiring Shinkalion pilot from the Super Advanced Research Center who just so happens to have the same hair-style as Hatsune Miku, the same eye color as Hatsune Miku, and the same love for singing and dancing as Hatsune Miku. She’s even voiced by Hatsune Miku’s original voice provider, Saki Fujita.
This train-piloting version of Hatsune Miku will be living up to the legacy of the original, though, as she performs a special concert scene at the end of Gekijō-ban Shinkansen Henkei Robo Shinkalion: Mirai Kara Shinsoku no ALFA-X. In the scene, she sings the song “Change! Shinkalion”, which is the theme song of the original Shinkansen Henkei Robo Shinkalion Internet anime that premiered way back in 2015 to promote the Takara Tomy line of transforming train toys. Iconic Hatsune Miku designer Rella also got to contribute a new costume design for the singing idol to wear during her concert scene, with the vocals for the song being arranged by music producer Mitchie M.
As for the unlikely rivalry between Hatsune Miku and Godzilla, Gekijō-ban Shinkansen Henkei Robo Shinkalion: Mirai Kara Shinsoku no ALFA-X technically isn’t the first time the two have clashed. A bizarre music video from the 2017 game Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Future Tone depicts Hatsune Miku battling, defeating, and eventually befriending a very familiar-looking giant monster.
The Shinkalion series focuses on a plucky young pilot named Hayato, but the film introduces a new central pilot into the mix: Hokuto, a nine-year-old version of protagonist Hayato’s dad who is voiced by the iconic Rie Kugimiya. Young Hokuto time travels into the present day to help his son defeat a mysterious new force threatening Earth, while also investigating a way to return to his own time. Antagonists Nahane and Ohanef are voiced by Kentari Ito and Kotaro Yoshida, respectively. The film puts a big focus on the ALFA-X, a real-life experimental prototype for the next era of shinkansen bullet trains produced by JR East Japan.
The anime film was produced at OLM, where it was directed by series director Takahiro Ikezoe. The film was written by Kento Shimoyama, who previously worked on Bleach and Armed Girl’s Machiavellism. Character designs were handled by Yuka Aono, known for their work on Brave Beats, while mechanical designs were done by Keita Hattori. Music for the film was composed by Toshiyuki Watanabe, who previously worked on Space Brothers. The film opened in Japan on December 27th, where it ranked at #8 during its opening weekend. An overseas release of the film is, unfortunately, unlikely.