PENDING TRAIN on Netflix is a new sci-fi series from Japan. Think LOST but with much more melodrama and a touch of SNOWPIERCER due to the train-setting. The series has 10 hour-long episodes and works as a mini-series. Read our Pending Train series review here!
PENDING TRAIN is a new Netflix series from Japan. There are ten episodes with episode 1 being an hour long and the rest around 45 minutes. The genre is sci-fi with a touch of drama (or melodrama, quite often) along with thriller. It’s a survival story that turns into actual battles at times.
For me, the series loses some intensity with the very melodramatic score that becomes too loud. Scenes with deep and emotional monologues take away from the fascinating sci-fi thriller plot at the heart of the series. Then again, these scenes do also bring something deeper to the series, so I don’t dislike them. Just the way they’re executed.
Continue reading our Pending Train series review below. Find all 10 episodes on Netflix from August 11, 2023.
Think Lost with a touch of Snowpiercer
For me, it’s almost impossible not to think of Snowpiercer when there’s a train as a core element of the plot and we’re in a sci-fi survival story. However, more than anything Pending Train reminded me of Lost.
In Lost, we begin with a plane crash and the surviving people being trapped on an island. Now, in Pending Train, everyone is going about their usual morning routine and ends up on the same train. The same cart even – number 5. After a mobile alert sounds from everyone’s phone to warn of an impending earthquake, things get weird.
Suddenly, things start to disappear in cart number 5 and they crash.
Well, sort of.
Once the dust has settled, they’re all in the middle of the woods with none of the previous high-rise buildings in sight. Also, smartphones can’t connect to anything and only this one cart is there. Finally, there is no food or water except for what these people were carrying with them on the morning of the accident.
So, what to do now?
The melodrama takes over
While I love character-driven plots, there is simply too much melodrama for my liking. It’s the delivery of key speeches that are underscored (or overscored, really, as the score is way too loud and overpowering) that makes it all too much.
Seeing people react to this new predicament – being trapped in an unknown place with lots of strangers – is a fascinating setting. Especially as we get to know the strengths and weaknesses of each character. And also, obviously, seeing them interact.
Soon the group from cart 5 will also be met with other external challenges. I don’t want to spoil anything here, but by the end of episode 1, there’s a twist that reveals what I’m referring to here.
If you’ve watched other Japanese productions that have been released internationally, you can expect to recognize a few of the cast members. Especially Eiji Akaso as Yuto Shirahama. He starred in Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead which was released on Netflix one week ago. As a police officer still in the world we know, there’s One Cut of the Dead‘s Takayuki Hamatsu.
Watch the Pending Train series on Netflix now!
Arisa Kaneko (Burn the House Down) is the writer behind Pending Train with Kenta Tanaka as the director of the Japanese Netflix series. While the Pending Train series works as a mini-series with an actual ending, that’s not to say you won’t be getting more from this universe.
Could we be getting Pending Train Season 2? Well, never say never. If something is a hit, then I’m sure a second season will come along. I mean, Squid Game was also a complete story told as a mini-series, and that one is getting a season 2. We’ll just have to wait and see how Pending Train is received by international audiences.
The series was released in Japan back in April of this year .
WANT MORE NETFLIX GENRE SERIES FROM JAPAN?
However, for those of you who don’t like starting a series in case it’s canceled in the middle of telling a story spanning several seasons, you can go ahead and watch Pending Train.
Pending Train is on Netflix from August 11, 2023.
Directors: Kenta Tanaka, Okamoto Shingo, Naoki Kato
Stars: Yuki Yamada, Eiji Akaso, Moka Kamishiraishi, Kai Inowaki, Kotone Furukawa, Joichiro Fujiwara, Wataru Hyuga, Rin Kataoka, Tetta Sugimoto, Yasuko Matsuyuki
One regular Tokyo morning, passengers suddenly find themselves fighting for their very survival when their train car jumps into an apocalyptic future.