Koutetsujou no Kabaneri – 07

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All aboard the Badass train

I had a wild time at Anime North this weekend, so expect a post about that coming up soon! But for now, let’s focus on a different kind of party, so to speak. It’s tanabata!

I haven’t been a big fan of the more character-driven episodes of Koutetsujou no Kabaneri, as the characters really don’t have enough weight to them to be able to pull off anything even remotely heartfelt. However, this episode was just about chilling in a new city and making time for a frivolous holiday and it was actually quite good! I guess everyone has stumbled out of their asshole, one-note personality stage and become more personable. This is a very welcome change.

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Get yourself a woman who can do both

The way they celebrate tanabata here displays the stark difference to the ceremony of them mourning their lost loved ones a few episodes back. Instead of a grim fire being lit on the side of the train tracks with the threat of a kabane attack at any moment, they finally have time to properly indulge in celebration. They’re safe now, and that’s something to be treasured. Zombie apocalypses are hard, and even the smallest glimmer of happiness can restore your sense of humanity just when you thought you’d lost it. Ikoma spells it out at the end of episode, saying everyone shouldn’t be pleased just by scraping by, but that they should find ways to enjoy life like the days before the kabane. He also gives everyone hope by spouting some lofty goals about what he’ll do once the kabane are gone. It gets a little overly optimistic towards the end of his spiel, but I think they really needed to hear that sort of thing…especially after a giant, humanoid swarm of zombies almost killed them a few hours ago. I’d appreciate some cheering up too at that point, even if it was all pipe dreams.

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Seeing everyone not buzzing about in panic mode makes it a lot easier to learn about the crew, and I’m starting to actually sense some personalities shining through. I know, I can hardly believe it myself, but these characters might actually grow on me a little if this keeps up! For example, I thought it was an interesting change to see Kurusu show an expression other than stone-faced, silent judgement. The bodyguard falling in love with his lord is not exactly going to get gold stars for originality, but I appreciate that it adds something else to this otherwise boring character. We also see that the usually gentle and motherly Kajika is actually a haggling beast (as are some of the other women), and not to be taken lightly.

I appreciate all the side characters getting some attention, but of course the main focus is on Ikoma and Mumei. The two have been a bit edgy around each other for quite a while (or rather, Ikoma is cool and Mumei is unnecessarily curt and violent). It’s relieving to see them have a regular conversation and start to trust each other. Ikoma offering to turn her human is a little baffling since that doesn’t sound possible. At the same time, it’s adorable that part of his big promise was to make her some rice. I mean, it all seems so far off, but it was precisely the right thing to say to cheer her up at that moment, and it brought them closer together.

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Nothing like sipping blood sangrias on the patio…

Ahhh, everyone is a big happy family. The kabaneri are truly accepted by the crew, everyone is in a safe city, Mumei has reunited with her brother, and all is well. Sweet bliss. Do you know what that means? It means everyone is gonna get fucked up real soon. Peaceful episodes like this are always the calm before the storm. What better way to make you mourn for a character’s death than to get you to grow more attached to them first? I get the feeling we’re due for some tragedy soon. Let’s not forget this is the director of Attack on Titan, and he just loves killing people off.

The biggest danger right now seems to be Mumei’s brother. In Mumei’s flashbacks, he’s a cruel commander who teaches his puppets to be nothing more than tools. However, during their reunion he’s nothing but smiles. The contradiction baffles Ikoma as well, and he’s intent on finding out what his true intentions are. I get the feeling his nice act is completely fake, and the perfect mask for him to wear when in the public eye. Once you get him alone, I don’t think that smile will last for long.

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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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35 Responses to “Koutetsujou no Kabaneri – 07”

  1. skylion says:

    Ahhh, everyone is a big happy family. The kabaneri are truly accepted by the crew, everyone is in a safe city, Mumei has reunited with her brother, and all is well. Sweet bliss. Do you know what that means? It means everyone is gonna get fucked up real soon

    Oh, one can hope. These past two “character driven” episodes just feel so out of place. I kept on thinking, this should have been the front load for the whole series. Something familiar for us to latch onto that they cruelly take away. But better late than never I suppose…

    But oh ye gods and tiny kittens, that declaration! Embarrassing! I could literally see the script writer consulting a how to book…

    • Overcooled says:

      I actually don’t mind them shoved in the middle here, because it’s a good contrast to all the action. But yes, I agree that ideally they should have done more of this building at the beginning so the actual life-threatening parts would be more harrowing. It’s not a good idea to get me to like the characters only halfway through the series.

      The “cure + rice” thing? lol the more I think about it, the sillier it is…but this was a very silly episode so it managed to fit in ok

      • skylion says:

        I can see how the silly fit like a smaller nesting doll into bigger silly…but still, a bridge to far?

  2. BlackBriar says:

    A good way to take breather. Hey, people on the train needed a break from screaming their lungs out in fear, unwinding from all the trauma. 😉 The bigger benefit is more or less getting an idea how everyone operated before all the chaos ensued.

    Kibito: “When did you learn Kurusu’s move?”
    Mumei: “The Kabaneri are good at copying others”

    Well, there’s the answer for those who had gripes with how Ikoma easily used Mumei move on the Wazatori three episodes back.

    One of the cast who’s earned my respect is the blonde haired mechanic Sukari. Yes, it would seem heartless how he told the young boy his father wouldn’t be coming back since he became a Kabane, but his justified reasoning kept me from condemning him. For it’s indeed far more cruel leaving him with false hope waiting for a loved one that was never returning.

    I’ve been enjoying seeing how close Ikoma and Mumei continue to be to the point they actually begin to look like siblings. More so when neither withholds anything during their conversation. Particularly endearing was when she talked about her relationship with her mother which later led to the reveal of her true name “Hozumi”.

    A little curiosity on Ikoma’s state of mind where food is concerned. Mumei is clearly used to it but it’s surprising he isn’t having moral dilemmas about needing human blood to keep himself in check. Even if that blood is willingly offered. His humanity ended briefly but he’s quickly adapted.

    A matter of time before the two brotherly figures clash with opposing ideals. One of them surely with convenient justifications. Sparks will fly. Aside from that, it’s been at the back of my mind but as I guessed, we’re in for some internal human conflict based on the secret meeting a representative of the Shogunate had. No matter the situation, humans will indeed be humans.

    This reprieve themed episode works because we all know it’s merely a sign to being the calm before the storm which in turn, becomes a slap to the face of our cast and no doubt it gets ugly when it begins.

    P.S: For those who are curious, Mumei’s brother is played by Mamoru Miyano. “Braces for fangirl screams”

    • ProtoSovereign says:

      Yeah I’m glad they explained that, like I said last ep. I think its good for them to explain lore and have the plot be faithful to establish concepts. This explanation was late but better late then never. Show ▼

    • IreneSharda says:

      Interesting that you gained respect for Sukari, when instead he lost mine. There’s a thing called “tact” and “wisdom” that many a character in this series lacks. Sukari has never really come off as all that interesting to me. He has some good points, and you are right in that what he did is the right thing to do, but just like with Mumei and the dog, there is a right way to approach that situation, and Sukari’s actions weren’t it. I never really like his character since he seems to only have two personality quirks: rude and interested in Yukina, so he’s going to have to push to get back in my good graces.

      As for them saying that “kabaneri know how to copy moves well”, that again screams of bad writing. Instead of showing us this behavior trait, they just tell us after the fact, as if someone complained and so they wrote a sloppy line in in this episode to make up for it. I’m not going to give them any points for that.

      I did think that they are starting to do well with Mumei and Ikoma together,though his declaration and promises to her were reaching quite a bit and it really puts a large death flag on her. We’ll have to see how this goes.

      • BlackBriar says:

        Mumei’s way remains in debate but Sukari’s is more straightforward, regardless of whether it causes pain or not because it will surface eventually. What you’re implying from him is the approach of an idealist/optimist who hopes that no matter what, there won’t be a negative result. That is free to choose if it’s available on the table. Such comforting options are scarce. But in reality, it’s just wasting time, making it crueler for the one who needs to know by beating around the bush if you can’t find a way to sugarcoat the reality shattering bad news.

        Sukari, himself, wished the same was done for him concerning his father. So you can imagine how long he pointlessly waited for his return. If there nothing else available, you have to deal with what’s on hand, no matter how hard it is.

  3. BlackBriar says:


    “What should I do, now?” 😉

    Watching someone as straight-laced as Kurusu flail around because of a suppressed crush on Ayame is hilarious.

    • ProtoSovereign says:

      I think we always knew Kurusu was a bit over protective of Ayame, he wasn’t exactly hiding his interest in her. I’m surprised no one else on the train noticed :3

      • Overcooled says:

        I knew he cared for her, but I didn’t know he liked her in that way!

        • BlackBriar says:

          There was a hint of it when Kurusu stopped a blood lusting Ikoma from attacking Ayame. His reaction, to me, seemed more like someone defending a person he has his sights on instead of an authority figure. As though he was about to experience a personal loss.

        • IreneSharda says:

          Oh, come, come OC, it’s so obvious! It’s the classic, “warrior is secretly in love with the princess even though he knows he has no chance because of their difference in stations” cliche!

          • ProtoSovereign says:

            Now we just take away the ‘secret’ part of the cliché and replace it with ‘openly’

          • Overcooled says:

            …I don’t know! I guess I’m not usually looking for romance in anime!

            • BlackBriar says:

              No problem, there. You and I share the same sentiment.

  4. zztop says:

    The biggest danger right now seems to be Mumei’s brother.

    In addition, his status as the Shogun’s son makes him even more dangerous. His close ties could mean the Shogunate has a hand in this, which means eventually going against their government. Add the fact the shogunate controls its people by granting them protection in the fortresses, which may lead to a lack of allies for any particular uprising.

    Ps. Irene, the last fansub of Kuromukuro was late because the subber was on holiday. Hope to see your post soon! 🙂

    • Overcooled says:

      Yeah, he’s in a position with a lot of power right now. I get the feeling he’s going to try and take everything over when he gets the chance. Definitely a guy to keep our eyes on…

  5. IreneSharda says:

    I have to say that this is actually the best episode so far in the series so far. It’s the first time I felt that everything worked and everything flowed the way it was supposed to.

    Mumei was actually likable? It’s a miracle! It only took one episode of slight development and backstory for her entire character to do a 180, and I must say that I appreciate the change. I liked seeing her get her memories back and how they dropped on us out of nowhere that there is no more rice because they can’t work the fields anymore. However, I do have to wonder about other plant based food as well. If you can’t grow rice, I’m going to bet you can’t grow grains either or corn. Where are these people getting their starch from? HOW CAN JAPAN SURVIVE WITHOUT RICE?!!! It’s like the one constant in all their recipes.

    So we finally meet Onii-sama (and no, I’m not calling him by his real name, but I’ll get to why in a bit). And I have to agree with you, this guy is a walking contradiction. He’s all nice and smiles in front of everyone and seems a very caring person with Mumei when in public, however his actions say the opposite. His action speak of a cold ruthlessness and yet he seems to be beloved of the people. How much of that is an act? In fact, considering Mumei’s attitude was quite the opposite until this episode, I’m surprised he’s not interested in her change in persona.

    Him being the shogun’s son was a surprise, so it looks like we have a power struggle between father and son going on here. He’s called the Liberator and his loyal followers are called the Hunters. Are they actually for good, or are they basically ones who are only trying to free Japan so Onii-sama can become the new overlord?

    I don’t know why, perhaps it’s the color scheme of their uniforms, but the Hunters (haha-see what you did there Wit) seem to be this series version of the Recon Corps. Considering Ikoma’s desire for vengeance on the kabane, I’m surprised that he didn’t want to join the hunters outright. But I guess that would make him too much like Eren than he already is.

    We’ll see how similar they are as the series continues, or if they are actually something much darker. Their lord is the one that took a child, stripped them of their name, identity and memories, and then turned them into half-zombie creature to become his tool to fight until he has no more need of them. I’ll be interested in see where this goes.
    I hope Ikoma shows more brains and tact this time, then to simply just challenge Onii-sama. The boy can be so smart sometimes and just so stupid others.

    • Overcooled says:

      It was surprisingly good! Now I feel like the next few episodes will be better since I’m starting to actually like everyone.

      Guess this version of Japan had to say goodbye to rice and…a lot of plants. CRAZY, I KNOW! I guess they can manage grass to feed livestock, at the very least. I wonder what the extent of their agricultural life is like now?

      Mumei’s brother is definitely planning something…I’m just not sure what. I got the Recon Corps vibes from the Hunters immediately, and the similarities between the two shows just don’t end.

  6. IreneSharda says:

    Also…those names. I’ve heard that “Hodsumi is completely off and just bad Japanese. Having “d” and “s” next to each other is like having two ending/starting vowels next to each other in French. It’s just not done. Current talks have Mumei’s real name being either “Hozumi” or “Hodzumi”.

    And then there’s the actual name of Onii-sama…it’s just not jelling with me, especially consider his potential character. Someone made a joke with his name and from then on, it just stuck and I can’t call him that name anymore.

    To understand what I mean, just put the name “Justin” in front of his name and pronounce it out. 😛

    Yes, you are getting Biba Fever tonight!

    • ProtoSovereign says:

      I’m glad you pointed out Biba’s name. He must be really not loved by his parent to be given such a stupid sounding name XD it contrasts with his look so much. btw like I said last ep I think the “Hunters” are a fusion between the military brigade and the scouting legion, since they do the scouting legion’s work but have royal authority.

    • zztop says:

      Biba isn’t a silly name if you look at the kanji used to write it. The kanji used for Biba is 美馬, which translates as Beautiful Horse.

      I wonder if Biba’s hung like his namesake too…

      • IreneSharda says:

        It still sounds horrible and I just can’t get used to calling him that. Soo….from now on, he’s just Onii-sama in my book.

      • ProtoSovereign says:

        HAHAHA zztop you’ve misunderstood me, I wasn’t talking about the meaning behind his name. What I meant was that his name sounds bad when said. i.e. it ‘sounds’ bad not that its got a crap meaning behind it. Show ▼

      • ProtoSovereign says:

        So wordpress thinks I’ve made a duplicate comment… but my comment isn’t even here… :/ sad lyfe

        • ProtoSovereign says:

          Ah nevermind, just delete my comments about the duplicate if its taking up too much space.

    • BlackBriar says:

      Also…those names. I’ve heard that “Hodsumi is completely off and just bad Japanese. Having “d” and “s” next to each other is like having two ending/starting vowels next to each other in French. It’s just not done. Current talks have Mumei’s real name being either “Hozumi” or “Hodzumi”.

      That’s due to the choice of subtitles applied to the episodes creating alterations. The series’ full title is Koutetsujou no Kabaneri, but because of the subs, any time someone mentions the train, it goes with the lettering “Kotetsujyo”. Now the same’s done to Mumei’s real name. Instead of “Hozumi” as one would get used to seeing from other animes, it’s “Hodsumi”.

      • IreneSharda says:

        I’m not sure how correct Kotetsujyo is, but from what I’ve heard, if you go by the kanji it should be “Hozumi”, but then again, they’re subs, what can you do?

        They corrected Hermes name in Arslan eventually, but because of the original subs, and because I like it better, I’m still going to call him “Hermes”. I guess it’s just your own prerogative.

        • Highway says:

          You guys are arguing about romanization, which is fruitless. The ‘dz…’ sound is a common one in Japanese, as a voiced tsu (although it’s usually not marked), or even just a way to pronounce zu. It’s just a harder z sound.

          Don’t bother arguing about romanization, especially on translations. If the sound comes through as intended, then that’s the point. And don’t try to figure out what it’s ‘really’ supposed to be from kanji either, especially with names. People read kanji differently, like the name 大島, which could be Ooshima or Oojima. It’s a capricious language.

          • ProtoSovereign says:

            HAhahahhaha, yeah Highway did you get the Ooshima/Oojima example from Koi to Choco to senkyou?

            • Highway says:

              Yes, it’s instructive about how some people pronounce their names a little differently, with no ‘real’ reason why.

        • BlackBriar says:

          Yeah, you can’t do anything about subtitle choices. Misspelling in anything generally hurts my eyes. I can’t stand to see that.

  7. Namaewoinai says:

    “All aboard the Badass train”

    AW SHUT UP!! They are all (yes i mean ALL) nothing more but savages! whatever they are living or dead!

    Really!!…So…….No Hard Feelings People!!

    • Overcooled says:

      They’re pretty savage alright

    • ProtoSovereign says:

      Show ▼

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