The hype train is going full steam ahead.
Koutetsujou no Kabaneri has been on many anime enthusiasts radar. And for good reason. The series is being supervised by the director of Attack on Titan. This fact alone has peaked many people’s interest.
Six episodes in and it’s becoming clear that Koutetsujou no Kabaneri houses everything to become a blockbuster series. The action is gradually build up each episode and the necessary cliffhangers are in place just at the right moment. The soundtrack, still reminding a lot of Guilty Crown, keeps the flow of adrenaline steady when shit gets down.
The Kabane, who are the main plot driver, seem to be a worthy foe as well. It’s very zombie apocalypse like and especially the different hierarchies within the Kabane reminds me of Attack on Titan. There are the mindless, food craving zombies, the ones with higher intelligence who learn from humans how to combat and some grotesque hybrid giants. These layers aren’t present in your regular zombie apocalypse scenario, which give this setting an interesting dynamic to play with.
In all honesty, Koutetsujou no Kabaneri shines most during the scenes where Ikoma and Mumei work together to keep the train, which still hints at Snowpiercer, moving towards the next station. I’m not really sure what the main goal is of staying on the move, obviously in search for supplies, looking for survivors and fleeing for the growing army of Kabane the crew faces along the way. The real purpose still remains vague up to this point.
When highlighting the characters, Mumei is the regular bad ass chick, although I don’t mind. I like this edge to the story. She really is well fleshed out, but just like with the story itself, I miss key plot elements that give her a backstory. Where did she come from? Why did she come from there? And how did she become who she is today? Those are answers that should be answered soon, or else essential parts of the character development will not make it towards the end or worse, they’ll rushed altogether. Rushing the story can have an negative impact on the story, which we’ve seen at works of the well-known Maeda Jun.
Same goes for Ikoma, which I don’t like that much as a character. Despite him also being a bad ass, he still has that pathetic undertone. It reminds me a lot of the main character of Accel World and Attack on Titan. The crew around the main character was far more fleshed out and more capable than the main character would ever be.
The steam punk setting gives Koutetsujou no Kabaneri a more authentic feel, but is also a subtle reference to Attack on Titan where steam was a very important plot element. Interestingly enough the time frame is vastly different. Attack on Titan had a more medieval focus, whereas Koutetsujou no Kabaneri is placed in more recent times. It’s more industrialized.
Despite the leap forward in time the core principles of human nature are in place with distrust, panic, rushed decision making and phobia for the unknown. Of course, all for good reason. The characters are growing steadily towards each other, a story mechanic that was highly needed. Ikoma being treated as an outcast till the end of the run would be quite the bummer. I’ll hope to see more back stories in episodes to come.