Tear-jerking commercial features a famous actor and actress in the lead roles of star-crossed lovers.

Japanese trains have been quietly shuttling passengers around the country for decades, and in the case of Sotetsu, a private railway company operating three lines in Tokyo’s neighbouring Kanagawa Prefecture, it’s been 100 years since passengers first started riding their trains.

Now, Sotetsu is looking to the future by teaming up with Japan Rail to create a new through-line that will give Kanagawa’s Nishiya Station direct access to Tokyo, cutting commute times for passengers and easing the overcrowding of trains in the area.

To celebrate the first section of the new line opening on 30 November, Sotetsu are now looking back over their history with a heartwarming commercial starring 25-year-old actress Fumi Nikaido and 27-year-old actor Shota Sometani. Called “100 Years Train”, the new ad shows a couple riding the Sotetsu line through the Taisho, Showa, Heisei, and Reiwa eras, always just missing out on connecting with each other…until the very end.

Take a look at the heartwarming ad below:

The trains on the Sotetsu lines really have changed just as much as their passengers over the years, and the creators of the ad aimed for a realistic portrayal of the rail operator’s 100-year history by studying actual trains from each of the four eras.

▼ Clockwise from top left: Taisho (1912-1926), Showa (1926-1989), Heisei (1989-2019), and Reiwa, the current era which started in May this year.

In the clip, Nikaido and Sometani portray two star-crossed lovers, who first meet while both dressed in traditional garments from the Taisho era.

After sharing a moment when their eyes meet, the handsome man on the train is off, starting a chain of similar events throughout the next century, where they almost strike up a conversation in different eras and outfits, until they meet again in the Reiwa period.

The Reiwa era appears to be their destined time to eventually meet, when the young woman on the train sees an image of Shinjuku Station on her phone, reminding us of the new through-line. She finally calls out to the man after he leaves the train, and he re-boards it, telling her he’ll return to his station at the next stop.

That’s when he looks at the information board and says “Oh, it goes into Tokyo city, doesn’t it?” And she says, “Yes, it looks like it’s changed.” He then says, “Well, I’m glad I didn’t get off“, and we can safely assume they went into Tokyo, visited the new Pokémon Centre megastore and walked around TeamLab Borderless, finally fulfilling their destiny after all these years, much like the Sotetsu train.

▼ Some behind-the-scenes images showing how the clip was made.

100 Years Train is a clever way to announce new developments for the future while looking back at the history that got Sotetsu to the point where it is today. It’s a nice nod to the passengers that use their services too, who may just find love, and heartwarming acts of kindness, while riding on Japanese trains.

Source: Net Lab
Images: PRTimesYouTube/相鉄グループ公式
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