Koutetsujou no Kabaneri – 06


Catharsis…better late than never.

“We are weak, Mumei. But that doesn’t mean we just roll over and accept our fate.”


Since when did the Kabane become the Borg?!

spring15-irenesI actually find it amusing that I find the main character  with the most boring and cliche storyline, the most interesting and likable character in this breadbasket, and yet it’s the storyline of the main character that is the least interesting and likable that most intrigues me. This episode once again solidifies why I consider Ikoma the best character in the series thus far. While, the writing for this series is still rather wonky at times, it has recently begun to get better in the character department.

We’ve got a genius MC here! Need 20 ccs of awesome, pronto!

Ikoma has been the standout character of the series since episode one, he is loud and passionate, but also smart and ingenuitive. Most main characters in these types of shows, show great strength and determination and passion, but their not always quite that bright. The more intelligent and strategic individual is more often, the silent main supporting character(s), the Armin and Mikasa to the Eren, or the Hiei and Kurama to the Yusuke. But Ikoma shows and interesting mix of the two characteristics, and so far, sometimes it’s worked, and sometimes, because of bad writing, he’s rather inconsistent. But despite all that, at least here I enjoyed him very much. I liked a lot that he was easily able to realize his own mistake of abandoning the crane so haphazardly, and he didn’t spend too long stewing over it, but decided to do something about. His drive to do better, mixed with his fighting spirit was rather cool to behold.

We see him throughout the episode show the ability to think logically and strategically in tough situations, as well as a bravery to take on impossible odds that has impressed me more so than any OP feats that Mumei has done. His single line of advice that he said to Mumei regarding showing determination and tenacity despite weakness, was the take-away line of the series. I think the guy deserves a lot more consideration than most on the train give him, but hopefully that will change as we continue on.

He doesn’t have time for this pity-party crap.

But like I said, on the other hand, there is the fact that I don’t really find anything all that interesting about Ikoma’s actual storyline as much as I do his character. He’s an interesting figure who is fighting against a zombie apocalypse…and that’s it. Zombie fighting has never truly interested me as a plot, especially when there is no real end goal in sight. While they now have weapons to fight against the kabane, they are barely winning the battles, much less the war against such fearsome numbers and the fact that this epidemic is spread worldwide. The “we are legion” kabane hive-mind monster was of course the set piece of the episode, but I guess I may be spoiled by all the other “towering, physically-impossibly-fast monster” series that have come out in recent years, both in and out of anime. It was quite cool to see, and quite Ghibli-esque in fact…and yet, it also felt like something I have seen time and again. It wasn’t unique, but still fun for what it was.


Honestly, how does this even work?

The introduction of Mumei’s past has begun to allow us to see more depth into her character, her character is still a piece of crap but we least understand why she’s a piece of crap. I find her persona here, enduring some of the same cliche character development that you would expect for a character of this type. Her rough and abrasive nature is getting some incredibly well-needed buffing and polishing, as she is involuntarily becoming a softer, more “human” character. We’ll see how well that goes, as she still holds the status of being my least favorite character. But you know our favorite word–potential. 

Mumei’s backstory and potential subplot on the other hand, now there is something interesting! I was actually pretty surprised to see that she has a pretty average past for someone of this world. I find it fascinating that she seems to have grown up pretty normal and hasn’t actually been a kabaneri for very long. We see that she is saved from death thanks to our mysterious Onii-sama which tells us why she’s grateful and loyal to him, as well as the fact that the two aren’t actually related but are more so adopted siblings. We are also getting our first glimpse at who this mysterious all powerful guy is.


“Traumatic backstory and rescue by a person you will become completely loyal to” cliche

This guy is probably the most interesting plot point in the entire series. He’s the reason that I continue to watch this show with interest. His appearance along with seeing Mumei’s past raises even more questions then it answers. We see that Mumei becoming a kabaneri was no accident. She was made for a purpose. She was trained to become a less than human tool with very bad human relation skills, rather than it having occurred naturally. She seems to have been a well adjusted little kid until this guy got his hands on her, and then suddenly she lost all her people skills. What happened?

And we also find out that she wasn’t alone. It seems that once again Ikoma was late on the draw and that kabaneri have already been effectively weaponized and formed into teams. However, their expiration date seems to be up in the air according to our leading lady. She fears becoming a full kabane even more so then she fears becoming a “useless tool” to her oniisama. Is blood (conveniently packaged non-spoiling blood, mind you) the only way to push the kabane “virus” back? Is there any other way? Considering the fact that Onii-sama is most probably the one to turn Mumei into a kabaneri as well as many others, I really can’t see the guy as being as “awesome” as she does, and that uneasy feeling in regards to him, has been a constant since his first mention back in episode one.

Well, at least we know we’re dealing with a bishie…

Who is this young whippersnapper? Why are there so many people so loyal to him and his cause? What IS his cause? I’m guessing that we won’t have anything revealed till the end of the season, or at least close to it. Until then, I guess that we’ll just have to be patient and wait for any tidbits that might be given arbitrarily.


What about the rest of the episode? Well, the fight was pretty good, though standard for this series. I find it funny that all necessary targets seem to glow brightly in this series so that they can explode for maximum coolness. The crew of this train continues to be the most wishy-washy supporting cast that I have seen in quite some time, changing their purpose and ideals and personalities on the toss of dime. Whatever is needed to serve the plot at the time, I guess. The last end climax with the nearly derailed train felt off for some reason. Despite the questionable physics of the scene, it did serve to show that there are other dangers then simply the kabane. But then, I also felt like the episode just ended in the middle of the scene without properly wrapping up, like they ran out of film or something.

Well, let’s hope they do better next time. Thankfully this episode DID answer the question of who is best girl in the series: Mumei or Ayame? The answer?

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A Chicagoan biochemist, teacher, and an aspiring virologist, with a love for science only rivaled by my love for movies, animation, and anime. Both a lover of action/adventure and romance, I'm a girl who walks the entire spectrum. Mecha, Sci-Fi, Psychological Thriller, Romantic Period Piece, if it's has a good story, I'm there.
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21 Responses to “Koutetsujou no Kabaneri – 06”

  1. ProtoSovereign says:

    Yukina is absolutely ripped XD. It makes sense though considering her occupation.

    • BlackBriar says:

      With what we’ve seen, it’s not that different from weight lifting.

  2. BlackBriar says:

    As usual, Kabaneri continues to please. This entry was particularly awesome from start to finish and the biggest pay-off was the second half to the end with the soundtrack and joint teamwork between main and supporting characters that was simply glorious. I can’t see Funimation not picking Kabaneri up to add to its library. I just can’t.

    More and more, Mumei’s backstory gives justified reasoning for her behavior. Definitely the whole “Strong survive and weak die” is not of her own mind but something planted in her. And Irene, it’s about time you cut her some slack. The girl is only 12 years old. Yes, twelve years old and our LN Informant, zztop, has seen material to prove it. Which explains her previous rashness. There’s no denying it now: She’s an indoctrinated child soldier. We’ve seen from other series how easy it is to manipulate a person after they’ve suffered a severe loss and she did make amends to the two kids who owned the dog before it died.

    At first, Mumei’s reveal of being a Kabaneri without a bite initiating the change stuck me as odd but the sentiment didn’t last long. In the previous episodes, Ikoma said the train’s destination, Kongokaku, has people who are front-running on Kabane research. So using that research to create bio-weapons as a countermeasure isn’t beyond the realm of possibility.

    The “we are legion” kabane hive-mind monster was of course the set piece of the episode

    They call it a “Fused Colony”. Aptly named, if you ask me, with the fused mass of individual bodies. I know I’ll be playing in you territory but to me, it’s like an organism that mutated into what it is because it adapted to its environment.

    The Kabane certainly are aiming for the reputation of “most unpredictable enemy”. From common Kabane to the Wazatori to a Fused Colony. The intimidation they pose hasn’t lessened yet. If anyone’s gotten Princess Mononoke vibes from the Fused Colony as I do, think back to the demon that was once a boar god that appeared at the start of the movie.

    One of the highlights, without question, goes to our pink haired conductor Yukina. That body!!! *wolf whistles* It demands every ounce of respect. “Releasing pressure limits”, indeed!

    • ProtoSovereign says:

      Wow, BB I never knew Mumei was 12… sometimes you don’t expect people to look anywhere near their actual age in anime… it does however explain all the problems with her personality. 🙂

  3. skylion says:

    Mumei’s character seems to be written by a dude that keeps on winking at what has to be a predominant male audience going “women, what are you gonna do, huh?”.

  4. BlackBriar says:

    The last end climax with the nearly derailed train felt off for some reason. Despite the questionable physics of the scene, it did serve to show that there are other dangers then simply the kabane.

    I think it’s pointless and wasting energy getting wrapped up, expecting real world rationality in a story that never had the intention of being grounded by science and physics in the first place. Doing that will just kill any enjoyment you can get out of the show itself so it’s telling you to suspend your belief. The supernatural elements rub it to the face that they are the dominate party of the story’s structure, so practically anything goes.

    • sonicsenryaku says:

      see, but that’s kind of a poor excuse all things considered. Think about it this way: if one of the more human characters in this show got shot in the heart and brain and yet survived because they were nursed back to health with real-life medical treatment, wouldnt you throw your hands in the air and call bullshit? People think that just because something is in the genre of supernatural that anything goes but it doesnt. There are guidelines stories still have to follow and its a narrative’s job to make us implicitly aware of those things.

      For example: the narrative hasnt explicitly said that mortals in this series can survive fatal wounds; as a matter of fact, we are implicity lead to believe this by seeing how easily some of the fodder characters can die. This means that if we were to see some bullshit like a character surviving having their heart and brain shot through, we have to find that unacceptable. Take the game world of devil may cry: nothing in that game follows the laws of physics, but the reason why we easily overlook that is not because the game is in the supernatural genre (although that helps) or that we fight ourselves to accept it, but because right from the start, the world of devil may cry is presented as this one huge overstylistic action romp where caution is thrown to the wind. It does not explain the reasoning for anything that happens; it just lets you soak in the ridiculousness of it all. Why can lady, a human character, jump with a motorcycle about 30 ft in the air??? who cares because the bar for the amount of crazy shit ppl can do in this world is way higher than that. The presentation makes us realize that this is the world the game exists in.

      The reason irenesharda and I tend to mention when the show decides to neglect science is when the show attempts to explain certain situations with science and then gets the execution wrong. At that case it’s not really about suspending your disbelief, it’s more about coming to the realization that the show is going to be inconsistent about how it presents things and whether you can get over it or not

      • skylion says:

      • Highway says:

        If a show can’t stick to the rules it sets for itself, both explicit and implied, then it can’t be trusted to treat the viewer with any respect. And it’s not fun for a show to just crap all over the viewer with “Oh, they’ll believe anything.”

        If a show says “These are normal humans on Earth”, then they better have the close to the same limitations as normal humans on Earth. It’s easy enough to handwave these limitations away. “These are superhumans thanks to a freak of nature.” “We have modified the Earth this way due to science.” “This world has magic.” It’s dead simple. And again, when a show doesn’t even bother to do that little bit, or contradicts it by breaking the rules for some people when it’s convenient, then that harms the show, and if it does it enough, or egregiously enough, then it’s going to lose most viewers.

    • ProtoSovereign says:

      Supernatural doesn’t actually mean everything goes… it means what cannot be explained by our laws are explained by the supernatural… right? The fused colony kabane though was really stretching my suspension of disbelief and I still think it was a bad idea (unless they had for instance hinted earlier that kabane could perform such feats or what not, basically foreshadowing). Well at least that’s in the past now and the plot has begun a conspiracy involving what is essentially the unholy union of the Military Brigade and the Scouting Legion from Attack on Titan XD.

      • BlackBriar says:

        What I’m really calling out on is getting wrapped up, expecting obedience to physics and real world rationality in settings that don’t intend to be tied down by them.

        Shows like Kabaneri, Re: Zero, Zetsuen no Tempest, Hataraku Maou-sama! They’re completely fictional worlds, so they can create their own rules, play by them, bend or break them if so desired in a moment’s notice because none are in the realm of possibility in the real world so there’s no obligation to adhere to them. Anything in such places will get warped to suit its ambitions. An idea of complete freedom.

        However, shows like Joker Game, Zankyou no Terror, Subete ga F ni Naru: The Perfect Insider and Psycho-Pass. You’re free to put them on a tight rope and chastise if they’re not adhering to anything scientifically sound, within the laws of physics or rational because they’re striving to be close to reality as possible or give a hint to what’s in store in the future.

        Well at least that’s in the past now and the plot has begun a conspiracy involving what is essentially the unholy union of the Military Brigade and the Scouting Legion from Attack on Titan

        Shush! Don’t give away any hints!!!

        • ProtoSovereign says:

          I mean you need some backbone to your plot though. A good example is Fullmetal Alchemist. Alchemy is not a real phenomenon but its quite grounded by its own laws, (which do as you suggested change BUT after the reveal that much of what you knew was a lie they once again ground the new knowledge through previous knowledge and incorporate it into the grand contextual background.

        • Highway says:

          But they DO intend to be held down to them. That’s why they say that they are humans on Earth. So your assertion is off base, just like the writing when they say “These are humans on earth” and then treat them like something else. Having your characters do something that contradicts the setting is cheap and lazy.

          They want the characters to be normal humans on Earth because that evokes a certain response from the viewers, a connection that’s deeper than with aliens or superheros. That’s fine, but if they want that connection, they have to respect it. When they break that connection, they suffer.

      • BlackBriar says:

        The fused colony kabane though was really stretching my suspension of disbelief and I still think it was a bad idea (unless they had for instance hinted earlier that kabane could perform such feats or what not, basically foreshadowing).

        They didn’t foreshadow a Kabane capable of taking up arms and having formidable combat experience. And look what showed up in the 4th episode: A dual wielding Kabane that put even Kurusu on the ropes and bested him. Besides, foreshadowing kind of ruins the surprise. The element of surprise is the greatest asset. No tension to be had if you can see it coming.

        • ProtoSovereign says:

          I wasn’t irked by the dual wielding kabane with skills since that was explained nicely and made sense, it was a logical step forward. The fused colony wasn’t explained though and STILL hasn’t been. Its simply the “black smarm which destroyed that random station”. Frankly I want to forget the fused colony until they ground that with the in universe lore…

          • BlackBriar says:

            You forget. Since the start, the majority of the show’s population are in the dark of the Kabane’s anatomy and capabilities as much as the viewers. We’re put into the same place they are. The one solid piece of evidence so far is killing them by going for the heart. Only a select few are beginning to go below the surface. And it’s made clear already that reveals will happen gradually. I’ve mentioned this before, Ikoma said Kongokaku is the only place right now that’s bothering to research the Kabane.

            • ProtoSovereign says:

              How they reveal these things and how much they reveal that takes a show from ‘good’ to ‘amazing’. What Kabenari did with the fused colony was just disappointing. If you saw me when I was watching it you would have seen my excitement drop faster brick in water, esp since I predicted exactly what happened and it wasn’t pretty.

  5. BlackBriar says:

    ANN article: Is Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress Just An Attack On Titan Clone?

  6. Overcooled says:

    Yeah, I see what you mean about Ikoma being a good character with a boring past and Mumei being basically the opposite. They both complete each other I guess!

    My workout goal for 2016 is to become Yukina.

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