Koutetsujou no Kabaneri – 11

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Nice try, but I think this Trojan Horse is a little too obvious…

Last week, the main characters were either thrown off a cliff or brainwashed into a nearly-mindless killing machine. Things aren’t looking good here in the Koutetsujou no Kabaneri universe, at least for the good guys. I was wondering how they’d manage to resolve all this for the finale, and this episode didn’t do much to convince me of the possibility that a tidy wrap-up could be in store for us.

Overall, I’ve felt much like Irenesharda about this series – burnt out and unsatisfied. It’s a little sad that the best praise I can give this week’s offering is “well, this episode wasn’t total chicken shit” and “a zombie didn’t shoot a laser beam out of nowhere so that’s nice.” But I guess backhanded compliments will be the way I have to do this, because on the relative spectrum of KnK episodes, this one ain’t so terrible…Sort of.

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Biba’s plan to infect his own father, the shogun, before getting his own men to shoot him was smart. A clever little plan because you knew Biba was going to kill him, it just wasn’t clear how he’d do it. This cunning method is much more satisfying than him brute forcing it like last time and just stabbing everyone in the room. I especially liked his quiet moment of regret after killing his father as he sat down on a very cold, lonely throne. It was a very Game of Thrones type of moment where all the violence and vengeance a character thought they wanted at first ends up being slightly more traumatic than it’s worth. Victory is quickly followed up by emptiness at the lows one has sunk to achieve it. The silent couple of seconds he spends on the throne were my favourite part of the episode, as you could feel the heaviness of that moment. Tail-ended by a flashback of a scene where Biba’s father was spending some pleasant, quality-time with his son shows how not everything was as black-and-white as Biba initially made it out to be.

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After that, things become more like what I’ve come to expect of this show – total chaos. At this point, seeing an entire town get ravaged by kabane and soldiers is not even shocking anymore. It’s happened so much that I can’t appreciate the horror of it anymore. This is not a good thing for me to be bored at the events before the finale! Furthermore, I feel like they hammed up the paranoid reactions of the soldiers way too much. Soldiers not even in the palace at the moment the shogun was killed (and who therefore didn’t witness the first-hand fear of seeing their leader being turned) were still killing each other blindly. I can see Biba easily spreading panic, but I don’t know if it would be so bad that soldiers not even near the initial incident would start going crazy and shooting each other willy-nilly. They’re soldiers. And just hearing this news from word of mouth shouldn’t be enough to make them this trigger-happy. Even if you argue that this level of panic occurring this quickly is totally normal, I still don’t think it made for an interesting battle. It felt rushed. It simplified the matter. It made Biba feel too powerful since he just conquered an entire village before this as well. It just didn’t feel like the big, penultimate lead-up it should be.

The rise and fall of action has generally been pretty good up until this point, but all the battles have been so large scale that now I’m numb to these mass invasions. Been there, done that! I think they should have included more small-scale yet harrowing fights, such as when they were trying to escape the Black Smoke kabane the first time. I liked those situations of close-quarter combat quite a bit, and it would make all these Biba TOTAL DOMINATION battles seem like a change of pace instead of more of the same.

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At the very least, the finale looks to change things up slightly by having Mumei and Ikoma face each other in an odd kabane vs kabane (if you can even still call them kabane at this point) fight to the death. I don’t know if anyone will actually die though, as Japan likely will be hankering for a second season and they’ll want to keep their eye candy Mumei (and potentially Ikoma).

Speaking of Ikoma, I’m not a big fan of what he went through this episode. I feel like he flits between different personalities on a dime, without proper reasoning for why he keeps alternating. Sometimes he’s a tech fanboy who can’t stop talking, other times he’s a hot-blooded action star, and other times he’s a meek coward. It’s possible for a character to develop, and change, but Ikoma seems to randomly cycle between these different traits as the writers see fit. Mumei has a similar problem as well, but I’ve already complained about that enough. Anyways, this week Ikoma understandably became all introverted after getting sent flying over a cliff after his best friend died for him. However, all it took was a few sentences for him to go right into Rambo mode and start preparing for his final battle. He promptly cut his hair (an important usage of limited time) and then bolted his gun to replace his lost hand. HE BOLTED. A GUN. TO HIS ARM. I was almost willing to accept his ~character development haircut~ and a gun-arm because it was the only way for me to see this show to end but no. That wasn’t it. He wasn’t done yet!

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Before and after

Ikoma then takes the blue plasma which turns all the ladies into Nue (but turns the men into raging beasts for whatever reason…) and injects himself. They explain that this plasma simply accelerates the virus, which doesn’t explain how it gives them special powers and doesn’t turn them into a kabane outright. It makes very little sense. But anyways, Ikoma decides that the perfect time to activate his final resort power-up that will save Mumei is…at the beach…miles away. If he really has a limited amount of time, can he even make it to her before he turns into a kabane? Shouldn’t he have, maybe, waited until he was there to make the most out of this power? Unless he uses this to Naruto run his way there faster than it would have taken otherwise, this was a bad move on his part. The scene was dramatic and cool, yes, but also incredibly stupid. Don’t even get me started at how taking this weird blue plasma in the first place is foolish because it will likely kill him and now he won’t be able to cure Mumei unless he gets a hold of his thoughts somehow.

Speaking of which, I think it’s funny Biba (or his research team) even made a cure when he has no intention of curing anyone. I also like that the only cure is filling Mumei with his hot, white plasma. It’s the only way!!!


Well, at least the finale will promise some nice visual treats!

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She may be brainwashed, but at least she’s pausing to look at some pretty butterflies!


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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29 Responses to “Koutetsujou no Kabaneri – 11”

  1. skylion says:

    I think you’ve perfectly captured my feelings on this episode; including Biba’s melancholy post death-revenge-frenzy, a singular high point of writing this show rarely exhibits.

    But yeah, Kabane-Spam goes on Everything! You don’t like the taste, that’s too bad, it goes on EVERYTHING!

    But then there was this:

    Yeah, just dispense with the metaphor, shall we? LOL.
    Goodness, it’ll all be over soon.

    • ProtoSovereign says:

      the only cure is filling Mumei with his hot, white plasma.

      Wow, Overcooled… you went there…

  2. IreneSharda says:

    Ughhh…well then, that was a interesting episode. I have to say that I liked it better than the last one. I like how Biba was able to achieve his plan and use fear as the city’s undoing. I agree with you that his plan was smart and I actually enjoyed watching him get revenge on his father. And we at least see where his penchant towards insanity comes from…

    Though with the destruction of this major capital, how many stations are left that anyone can go to?

    Ikoma, who somehow did not die from blood loss with an amputated arm (or seem in any pain for that matter), and who somehow got from some rocky cliffs to a sandy beach without being aware of it, was somehow able to magically attach the gun to his arm and telepathically(?) tell it to shoot?
    Oh, and he had to cut his hair for some reason.

    I like how you put exactly what I was thinking into words, how Ikoma seems to cycle through different character trait on a whim. And how rather than being natural, it seems to just be forced for serving the plot.

    Also, exactly why does the “black blood” work differently on women than it does men? Do I even really care at this point?

    Well, there’s really nowhere for this show to go now that the shogun is dead. Well, just one more episode to go.

    • ProtoSovereign says:

      As brilliant as Biba’s plain was it was kind of pathetic seeing most of the bushi fall for it and as for the ones that didn’t fall for the ruse… its just as pathetic to see how incompetent everybody else is in comparison to Biba’s Order of Revolutionaries. Show ▼

  3. BlackBriar says:

    “I’ll show you. When the chips are down, these… uh.. these “civilized” people… They’ll eat each other.”
    – The Joker. (The Dark Knight)

    How much does it take to plunge an entire city into chaos? Just an act of clever deception followed by fear and suspicion finishing the job. Perfect catalyst for a place where people are packed in sardines.

    The spiraling descent into madness is suffices considering it’s taking place in a civilization so focused and dependent on hierarchy to push forward. A resulting consequence when the one on too high a pedestal finally falls. The Shogun was such a person. He was the one all Kongokaku put their faith in, their pillar and sense of security. After losing face being implicated as a Kabane, that faith was broken and everyone fell into despair like a domino effect. It adequately brings up this quote:

    “If you can make God bleed, then people will cease to believe in Him. And there will be blood in the water and the sharks will come”
    – Ivan Vanko/Whiplash (Iron Man 2)

    As for what Biba did to make everyone turn on each other, it’s frighteningly simple. People are panicky animals by nature. Once there’s one made example, it’s easy to spread a rumor. You don’t even need to be there if the incident’s bad enough that the leader has fallen from grace and reputable soldiers and nobles are spreading the word. “If the Shogun, our so-called sense of security is a Kabane, why can’t it be possible others hiding among us?”. Pretty much the question that got drilled into everyone’s head. Humans instinctively fear and become irrational over what they can’t see or prove. The most predictable response is attacking whoever looks suspicious to save their own skin. Biba used this truth against them. Not to mention those soldiers firing away seemed pretty weak-minded if nothing were there to keep them docile. So I really can’t say the paranoid reactions are hammed up.

    Victory is quickly followed up by emptiness at the lows one has sunk to achieve it.

    To be expected. Characters like that sacrifice everything for that one moment, they never consider what happens after it once the goal is achieved.

    I’m liking Ikoma’s new haircut but troubled it’s his right arm he’s attaching his weapon to. Most people are right handed. So for his sake, he better be good with his left arm.

    • ProtoSovereign says:

      Lol, so the Joker already knew about the kabane apocalypse?
      these… uh.. these “civilized” people… They’ll eat each other.

      • BlackBriar says:

        Well, that’s one way of looking at it. 😛

        But what it really implies is that people, by nature, are two-faced under duress. During peace time, they’d make all kinds of promises like long lasting unity and friendship no matter the circumstance but when a dire situation comes along; they’re more than ready to cut each other down (close friends to save their own skin.

        In the early episodes of High School of the Dead when everything started going to hell, two school girls were dodging the zombies, saying they’d make it out alive together no matter what. One fell from tripping on the stairs and got her legs caught by the zombies lower down. Clenching her hands to her, she asked the other girl for help. The girl ignored her plea, telling her to let go and then kicked her away, leaving her to be eaten alive. She paid for her betrayal shortly after since the commotion drew zombies from other directions on her.

        • ProtoSovereign says:

          HAAHHAHAHA, I know the true meaning BlackBrair I was trying to be funny, I’m sorry for failing so horribly, forgive me.

          • BlackBriar says:

            No problem. It’s not like anyone can expect intent to be conveyed over typing on a keyboard.

            Anyway, Kabaneri’s biggest grab comes from human observation while everything else takes second place. As I would with any series sharing Kabaneri’s similarities. Always interesting to see reactions of people when they’re forced into a corner. In those situations, whatever happens can either bring out the best or worst in a person. Will they stand together or will they betray? Some outcomes would be predictable but it’s fascinating nonetheless, if a bit sadistic.

            Tsk, I sound a bit like Izaya Orihara. Hmmm… Maybe that should be cause for concern. 😛

  4. ProtoSovereign says:

    Its really too bad Kabenari is so one dimensional though, ep 11 was kinda like episode 1 where they manage to make things really epic and leave a good impression. Unfortunately that’s also all they are good at doing, in-between the start of the season and the end they fail very hard. Its all sauce and no meat or sides. Its kind of like what me and my friends used to say about Assassin’s Creed and their trailer’s. Going into more detail, Biba’s plan to assassinate the shogun was actually pretty good and they set up the Shogun as enough of a retard beforehand for us to believe it’s a trap he would fall for. Seriously the Shogun makes Bieber look like the hero so many say he is and a leader with his a sane state of mind. Meanwhile Kurusu gets a cloak and starts his Celtic cosplay, Ikoma cuts his hair to imitate Biba’s dashing style and the Mad scientist/doctor from Biba’s entourage shows us just how crazy he is with his priorities (i.e. wanting to see Mumei become a rampaging monster with no restraint).

  5. BlackBriar says:

    Ikoma then takes the blue plasma which turns all the ladies into Nue (but turns the men into raging beasts for whatever reason…) and injects himself.

    That’s incorrect. It doesn’t turn the men into raging beasts, it stimulates and amplifies the virus. Instead of becoming a Nue, the blue blood increases power but because the user’s a male, they’ll just become a Kabane burning through their life force. And Ikoma wants power bad enough he’s willing to risk his life.

    As for why the difference, I chalk it up to compatibility issues based on the difference of gender. Each one has a quality the other doesn’t. The “All are not created equal” rule. Already, male Kabaneri are the minority. Last episode, one of Biba’s thugs said he left Ikoma alive because he was told a male Kabaneri’s existence is rare.

    It’s not the first time females were seen and chosen as the ideal test subject for experiments. In Witchblade, a corporation, using their research, tried to create an alternate version of the titular weapon to be used by men. It was a bust because the Witchblade can only be used by women (With a certain reason after it forced a transformation on the main girl).

    In Claymore, a mysterious organization created half-human, half-Yoma warriors known as the “Silver Eyed Witches” or “Claymores to combat Yomas (The demons to be fought against). It began as an experiment that started out with male subjects but ended in failure, creating more problems than solving them. Females were the next best thing and became a success because they showed more stability and control.

    • ProtoSovereign says:

      Yeah those settings are kinda annoying, the males are all weak an useless fodder and the females are all traumatised by their power or something. I can confidently say that that kind of setting is a tick on the list of things I don’t want in my anime.

      • BlackBriar says:

        That’s one perspective, particularly for some males but there’s another. While it belittles men, in the exchange and in a twisted way, it empowers women, shows they can hold their own instead of sticking them with the perpetual “Damsel in distress” label. That tends to be tedious. Personally, I quite like strong female characters. Underworld’s Selene and Resident Evil’s Alice are part of that list. It adds an extra quality to them than just being superb eye candy.

        • ProtoSovereign says:

          There’s nothing wrong with strong female characters, Mikasa was strong (though she does have some other issues). But its irritating when the setting is ‘females are special and get superpowers’ and then they make them do battle in impractical skimpy outfits and the dudes just cower in a corner or sit back sip wine and order women around. An example of such a setting is date a live. In the end neither end of the spectrum win and no one gets developed.

  6. Foshizzel says:

    Wow “inject her with hot white plasma!” I freaking laughed so hard at that comment! OMG 10/10 writing for KnK.

    Biba…wow…I just don’t know what to say…what a dumbass villain! I just don’t understand his motives other than revenge against his dad? And why did he release all the zombies afterwards? Does he want the city to be destroyed completely? I get the whole Joker vibe of just wanting to see the world burn cause fk it why not, but really? If anything Biba is killing the series!

    Ikoma isn’t any better either and yes I agree OC his personality is constantly jumping around…and YES why did he inject himself with the blue plasma MILES away from the city? Did he suddenly learn instant that OP transmission from Goku? And when we saw him after falling out of the train he landed on some rocks and the next time we see him hes on a beach? What?

    • skylion says:

      I think the idea behind Biba was to have a sympathetic villain. This way, when the final showdown happens it could become a tragic tale with both sides coming out kinda equal in terms of who an audience would want to win, and how bad it would be to see one lose. One of those “if things had been different we could have been friends”

      But….Biba comes off like a spoiled whiner, not a tragic villain. And Ikoma is basically an Evil Dead ripoff, so who really can care any more, right?

      Who needs to when you have silly power ups and White Hot Plasma!

      • ProtoSovereign says:

        Everyone wants the White Hot Plasma, there is no logic saying otherwise!

  7. BlackBriar says:


    Anime news: Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma Season 2 Listed With 13 Episodes

  8. BlackBriar says:

    ANN article: Cosplayer Makes ‘Kabane Sword’ Light Up With LED

    • ProtoSovereign says:

      That’s so sick, I want one 😀

      • BlackBriar says:

        Nope! Only for cosplayers who are fans of the show! Hehehehe. Or we can arrange an under the table deal of five hundred dollars…

        • ProtoSovereign says:

          When did I say I wasn’t enjoying Kabeneri? For all my criticisms Kabeneri is actually not bad enough to kill my interest unlike other shows.

          • BlackBriar says:

            Big Order? 😉

            • ProtoSovereign says:

              pls don’t remind me of that mess. Big Order is dead to me. I refuse to admit I subjected myself to the abuse known as marathoning Big Order.

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