Spring 2021 heralds the Japanese theatrical release of a Thomas movie starring a Japanese bullet train!

Few figures are so universally loved as Thomas the Tank Engine, the little blue engine with a perpetual smile and a host of speedy adventures set on the Island of Sodor, his fictional home. You’d think that Thomas, being a train, might be confined to Sodor’s rails for the rest of his natural life…but that’s where you’d be wrong! Thomas has already ventured to many distant shores and as the series has progressed he’s gained a whole host of fun international friend engines (frien-gines?) to pal around with.

One of these pals is Hiro, one of the oldest engines on Sodor. He was imported to the island long ago and is one of the first-ever trains used there, which caused Thomas to worry that Hiro might be bound for the scrapyard if the Fat Controller were to find him in his current state of disrepair.

▼ Hiro, the black engine, first popped up in 2009’s Hero of the Rails.

Hiro cuts a fairly tragic figure for a train and thus has a good share of fans, especially in his native Japan. Spring 2021 will see a Japanese theatrical release of four episodes of Thomas and Friends that aired in 2020, starring Hiro…as well as an exciting new engine with a serious need for speed.

▼ Meet Kenji!

Yes, Kenji is a 0-series shinkansen bullet train, famously one of the fastest types of train in the world and much faster than Thomas and his steam-powered engine buddies. How will everything shake out at Sodor’s Technology Fair, and will Kenji’s electrical power steal the spotlight? The four episodes make up an arc that will translate easily to the big screen, and now train enthusiasts of all ages will be able to enjoy Kenji’s high-octane antics in his home country at last.

The movie’s official Twitter announced Kenji’s arrival alongside a brief synopsis of the theatrical release, titled Kikansha Thomas Oide Yo! Mirai no Hatsumei Show! (“Thomas the Tank Engine: Come one, come all! To the Future Inventions Show!“)

The tweet received plenty of attention, with 24.8 thousand retweets at the time of writing, and many people were delighted to see this bullet train buddy in action.

“I can’t help but notice he’s facing the camera…”

“He’s powered by Japanese spirit!”
“I can’t wait to use him as my icon.”
“Kenji’s a handsome fellow, but I don’t see too many Japanese men out there with a face as distinctive as his…”

Naturally, plenty of jokes were made too:

“Kenji is just one lead carriage of a shinkansen… Wait, don’t tell me he’s a Shinkansen from JR Shikoku?!”

Nozomi, Hikari… Shinkansen usually have girl names, so where’d Kenji come from?!”
“I’m already a captive to Kenji’s charms.”
“The style of this show mandates you have to stick a face on there at all cost, huh.”

Without spoiling the story too much, the way it ends leaves a perfect opening for Thomas to come to Japan on another visit. Who knows what hairy situations he’ll get himself into then?

Related: Movie Website
Source: Comics Natalie via My Game News Flash
Top image: YouTube/Thomas & Friends
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