Koutetsujou no Kabaneri – 05


Mumei has no brain from what I can tell, so maybe she’s safe from the zombies

I feel like all the shows I’m blogging right now are just getting more and more silly as time goes on. I never thought Koutetsujou no Kabaneri would be a show I’d end up feeling wary about, and yet it’s definitely is falling short of the high expectations the all-star production team incited in me.

Attack on Titan was at its finest during those fast-paced action moment, but it still did a good job at giving the characters enough emotional depth so that I felt distraught if one of them died. And any of them died. Koutetsujou no Kabaneri has characters that act more like set pieces than living, breathing humans (or kabaneri). I find it very hard to care about a huge chunk of this cast, and that’s a bad thing when we’re supposed to be nervous about unexpected deaths. The poor writing really makes it hard for anyone to grow on us in these circumstances.


I don’t even remember who 3 of these people are

I’ll try to start with the good things though. One thing is that I very much appreciate that everyone has stopped being completely paranoid of the kabaneri now. For example, I thought it was rather sweet to see them shower Mumei with praise for breaking up a fight. She hardly even deserved that praise considering she brutally attacked two rowdy men and freaked out some kids. But still, it was way better than having them doubt her. That moment of positive interaction just shows how much they’ve accepted the kabaneri as part of the crew. I like the concept of all of them working together as a team much more than having them only there to jump in during a crisis. Ikoma is a smart guy when he has time to think properly, and his strategies make a whole lot of sense. It’s only when he’s in the thick of a battle that he starts to fall apart and do risky things. Thankfully, now he has some semi-loyal teammates to bail him out in times of need. It’s a nice system, and I think I’ll enjoy the kabaneri fights much more from now.


Speaking of which, Mumei had a wonderfully animated fight sequence. My praise for that scene runs dry with that previous statement, unfortunately. Her reasoning for engaging all those kabaneri was incredibly flawed and aggravating to behold. It all boils down to deep-seated issues Mumei has that haven’t been entirely explained, but have been hinted at enough for us to know something is off about her. She clearly has abandonment issues, as she is supposed to be a tool and tools are discarded as soon as they have no use. We catch a glimpse of this as Mumei meets an old acquaintance. While he was the “ear” (probably an informant), Mumei is the “claw” (the brute force). Seeing him again gets her all antsy to prove her worth, and she ends up being a total asshole to everyone…once again!

I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that going up to a kid who is bawling his eyes out over his dead dog and basically going “lol nice” is not a smart move. Having a traumatic past explains why she did it, but doesn’t excuse her of her harsh actions. Let’s not forget that she also constantly physically abuses Ikoma for no reason. Getting back to the beautifully animated fight, there’s also the fact she ditched everyone and went on a killing rampage, resulting in a huge swarm of kabane getting agitated. Basically, Mumei did nothing right this episode. I know I ragged on her last time I blogged this but oh boy, she deserves it again!


The problem is, Mumei has a very poor theory of mind. She doesn’t realize that not everyone shares her ideals and feelings, so she doesn’t bother trying to communicate them properly. It’s like not bothering to vocalize that the sky is blue because you assume everyone knows it, except she’s doing it with things like “kabaneri need blood.” This results in her making everyone afraid of her since she never bothers to try and defend herself or explain her actions.

Thankfully, Ikoma is there to clean up her mess as best as possible (and then everyone else will clean up Ikoma’s mess). I’m not entirely sure how they’re all going to fight a kabane the size of a titan (they’re just begging to be compared to Attack on Titan again with this one!), but I imagine they’ll just find a way to escape instead of tackling it head on. It’s a bit of an odd development that borders on just making me burst out laughing at the concept, but I’ll wait and see how they utilize this new monster. I feel like every week we learn something completely new, and I’m worried things are getting a little cramped. There’s no room to tell a good story with all these plot twists about suddenly needing blood and giant kabane. It hasn’t become bad, but it seems far too comfortable just being a pretty face and nothing more.


It’s not even one giant zombie, it’s just a big katamari of smaller zombies.


A neuroscience graduate, black belt, and all-around nerd. You'll either find me in my lab or curled up in my rilakkuma kigurumi watching anime.
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18 Responses to “Koutetsujou no Kabaneri – 05”

  1. skylion says:

    Without a doubt the show suffers from some very sloppy writing and execution. This one pulled it out a bit better than the last one, with Mummy’s motivations getting a touch more understandable (well, actually they’re exploring some pretty hoary old, well worn tropes that don’t really need to be explored any longer IMO) but none of it manages to come together well enough.

    But, as we’ve said again and again, it’s pretty to look at…

    • ProtoSovereign says:

      Mumei is all the well worn tropes done wrong once again… so its irritating to watch her fumble esp when the audience can read the script from their hand and anticipates her doing everything wrong.

      • BlackBriar says:

        I wonder if that opinion will change once you’ve seen the 6th episode.

  2. BlackBriar says:

    My theory on Mumei was more or less confirmed here. Whoever this “Brother” of hers she keeps mentioning is, he’s broken down and indoctrinated her. Her talk with Enoku gives just enough of an image of how she lived. She’s basically programmed and it explains her detached attitude.

    Defending herself and explaining actions hardly seem relevant for one who has likened their very own existence to that of a weapon whose sole purpose is to destroy the enemy, who doesn’t see themselves as a person. Her choice of action in the boiler room would only seem rash to those who don’t have the same mindset drilled into them.

    Regardless, I still find Mumei an interesting character. Even more so after Enoku pointed out she won’t remain herself for long. Her increasingly frequent spasms are not showing a good sign. Which in turn is bad news for Ikoma when he reaches the same point.

    Amusing was the contrast of reactions between Takumi and Sukari when Ikoma chose them to help clear the wreckage with the crane. Sukari aims to repay a debt, Takumi wants to show off despite being scared to death.

    After the Wazatori from the fourth episode, I knew there’d be diversity between the Kabane but I didn’t see this coming. Definitely looking forward to the proceedings.

    • Overcooled says:

      The brother seems pretty important, and Mumei is basically sacrificing herself to protect him. It’s a depressing past, but I still just can’t come around to liking her.

      I liked the wazatori a lot. Still on the fence about the smoke monster but I’ll watch the next episode soon and see!

  3. BlackBriar says:

    For those who want to listen, here’s the song from the fight scene last episode titled “Through My Blood <AM>” by Aimer. She’s surprisingly good at singing in English.


    Show ▼

  4. BlackBriar says:

    I don’t even remember who 3 of these people are

    The only started getting their screen time in the latter half of last episode and have yet to give out their names for us to know. Given that there was a sudden ensuing battle for survival going on, I can fairly see why such a thing is delayed.

  5. IreneSharda says:

    I had many of the issues that you did with this episode, though I did think that it was actually a bit of an improvement from last episode.

    It might not be much, but at least we got some character development on Mumei. I’m actually more interested in this plot involving her brother and who and what he is and is trying to accomplish, moreso than anything else in the series right now.

    She has mentioned him since the first episode, and at first, he’s someone you just hear in passing, but he’s becoming a major player the more and more the series continues. I was extremely thankful for the old spy’s return and him shaking up Mumei’s world since it give us a lot more insight on her, her brother, and the overall plot.

    We see that Mumei has been raised to be a tool, but she is still very loyal to her brother. In fact, we see that the brother indeed inspires great loyalty in his followers despite the fact that from what we as outsiders can gather, he’s not the best human being. He seems like a cold, harsh person that uses people like rags, disposing of them when they have fulfilled their purpose, or are no longer useful. He gave his own sister a name meaning “nameless” which is not very enduring, and from the very short flashback, we can also see that he is rather ruthless. And yet, despite one person being thrown away by him, and one that has high potential to be next as well, he seems to still inspire absolute loyalty.

    As for Mumei herself, I still don’t care for her at all, but I’m glad that I’m beginning to see what makes her tick. Some have made the comparison, but she does remind me a little of Mika from Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans. She not very adapt to society, is quite blunt, and she also feels that her only worth is being a living weapon. However, Mika is actually more stoic, has a lot more depth, and has someone that acts as sort of his guide and keeper when he could possible go off the rails.

    I’ll be interested in seeing how Mumei is able to grow from this experience. And please, for goodness sake, stop beating on Ikoma for no reason! It’s not a charming quirk, it’s insufferable.

    • BlackBriar says:

      Take another look at the OP. Before it closes out, you can see the shadowy figure of someone who seems to be clad in armor. That’s more than likely the brother Mumei keeps bringing up. As the episodes keep coming, the more the show feels like a two cour/split cour and we probably won’t meet this guy until near the end when the train reaches its destination in Kongokaku.

      A funny thing when you mentioned Iron Blooded Orphans. I recently saw the MAL profile for Mumei’s voice actress, Sayaka Senbongi, and she played a character named Cracker Griffon.

    • Overcooled says:

      Yeah, the brother seems like he’s kind of a dick. Amazing how he has such loyal followers. There must be some reason why he’s so important. Maybe he has the key to defeating the kabane?

      Not a big fan of Mumei but at least she has a lot of room to grow as a person. I really hope she learns from this experience and smartens up a bit. Maybe she’ll stop beating Ikoma up now that he’s saved her!

  6. zztop says:

    I think one reason Kabaneri’s so popular is because its pacing fits the attention span of the modern viewer. Unlike the older shows, which required patience to follow, Kabaneri gives you its entire premise in the one go. Plus you just need to turn your brain off to watch it!

    Some of you may remember a gaijin train mechanic character called Suzuki(wears goggles, has Georgian-era blonde hair). He’s voiced by biracial seiyu Maxwell Powers.

    • BlackBriar says:

      That explains the good pronunciations when Suzuki stitches English words in his Japanese sentences. Some voice actors learn English as a second language later on in their life but it’s an even bigger boon to know a few since childhood.

      I don’t mean to be insensitive but I can’t overlook the humorous opportunities in the voice actor’s name. Shorten the first name and you can say “Max Powers”.

    • ProtoSovereign says:

      Yeah, its just as you say zztop. Kabenari’s plot isn’t deep stuff, it might be a good winding down show when the watcher doesn’t want to abuse their brain thinking about a complex plot when they’ve just abused their brain all day doing work with it. btw my comment from yesterday is still removed by spammy.

      • Highway says:

        Sorry, I didn’t see any comments of yours yesterday that I didn’t approve (if I had I would have approved them), so I think you’ll have to resubmit it. One thing that might help with getting them (in case I accidentally missed it) is to use a gravatar icon. Most of the spam bots don’t use them, so it makes the commenters stick out in the spam filter.


        • ProtoSovereign says:

          So I just used a cropped version of my twitter image 😛 Looking for a new one would have depleted my energy reserves too much. I’ll change it if any ideas come to mind 🙂

      • BlackBriar says:

        Some advice on that. After typing out comments and before submitting them, you should copy/paste them to Microsoft Word or anything similar as a safeguard. Sometimes when comments get caught in spam filter and don’t get recovered, they’re likely to get deleted. Leaving you forced to rethink everything from scratch. This talk is from experience. Recently, it’s happened to me for a third time.

        • ProtoSovereign says:

          Yeah, I usually do that for my longer comment BB but this comment wasn’t too long or important so I’ll just sum it up here. I really hope Kabenari takes a different route with the colossal combined kabane than the combined zombies from Apocalyse no Toride, becuz at the moment I feel like its been copied from that. Oh and Highway I’ll get on the gravatar thing now. Its going to take a while to think of an image to use though :/ that always takes a lot of time for me.

    • Overcooled says:

      I’m so happy to learn about the crazy foreigner’s seiyuu being biracial =w=

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