Koutetsujou no Kabaneri Review: All aboard the hype train

Koutetsujou no Kabaneri ReviewNot a true spiritual successor to Attack on Titan.

I wasn’t fully aware that this was a hype. I got snippets of the show being a hype, but I haven’t seen anime bloggers massively pick up the show as review material. Maybe for good reason, I suppose they don’t want to fuel the hype.

I’ve seen several artworks come by of mostly Mumei, and I therefore base my judgment upon that. A show that has a significant following, generates a noticeable amount of fan art. I’m not roaming Twitter in search of conversation surrounding a certain show.

Koutetsujou no Kabaneri ReviewIn an alternative feudal Japan, kabane roam the lands in search for non infected humans . Ikoma and Mumei are mutants who remained human, but have kabane abilities. Together with a colorful crew they travel aboard a fortified train that moves from station to station. Main goal unknown, but I suspect in search for provisions and survivors.

The story itself isn’t really mind boggling. It feels like a mixture between Snowpiercer, The Walking Dead and the steampunk genre. Koutetsu doesn’t do anything out of the ordinary or redefines how a genre should be, like Madoka Magica did with the magical girl genre, turning something sparkly into a gruesome dystopian reality.

Koutetsujou no Kabaneri ReviewIt won’t come as a surprise that Kabaneri borrows a lot from Attack on Titan. Just looking at the main characters: underappreciated shounen hero, bad-ass chick with tragic back story and Sam from Lord of the Rings. It’s as shallow as that. This feeling remains until the end, where you don’t really have a connection with the characters. They are reworks, polished versions of character sets we’ve seen many times before.

The Kabane are also just a bag of standard character traits and remind a lot of the not so friendly giants in Attack on Titan, only on a smaller scale. There are different classes and strengths among the ranks of Kabane, which gives them even more resemblance to the giants in Attack on Titan. This becomes a story dynamic throughout the show and the more you look, the more you’ll see the resemblance between its Attack on Titan.

Koutetsujou no Kabaneri ReviewIt’s a real shame that the show was so familiar to its spiritual predecessor, since as a standalone show it was quite entertaining. With of course, its ups and downs. Characters such as Biba felt like a forced villain to drive the story and didn’t do much to give the actual story any meaningful substance. Underlings of Biba also felt like they were added to enforce a certain feeling upon the viewer. With character traits that are mostly attributed to your stereotypical villain.

Koutetsujou no Kabaneri ReviewInterestingly enough Koutetjsu had a retro feel with its rough bold dark lines. There weren’t a lot of inconsistencies, nothing really noticeable at least. I indeed sometimes had the feeling I was watching a series from the early 2000’s.

Koutetsujou no Kabaneri ReviewKoutetsujou no Kabaneri really stood out with its soundtrack, which, apart from its quite out of place opening, was outright marvelous. It was fueled with adrenaline at the right moment, just to give that scene the extra boost it needed. The resemblances with Guitly Crown were undeniable, but it really struck a chord with me.

Koutetsujou no Kabaneri ReviewKoutetsujou no Kabaneri tried too hard to be like Attack on Titan. The skeleton of the show was nearly an exact copy. Characters had little substance and the story was vague. Perhaps they are planning a second season, but I wouldn’t hold on to that thought. I rate Koutetsujou no Kabaneri a 7 out of 10.

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