Koutetsujou no Kabaneri – 08

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Sie sind das Essen und wir sind die Jäger!

spring15-irenesIf it wasn’t obvious last episode, our newest additions to the cast are our “Recon Corps” for the series. With a name like the “The Hunters”, what else could you expect. At the same time as we meet KnKs Recon Corp, we also meet it’s “Levi” or at least its potential Levi. Mumei’s Onii-sama is rather handsome, charming, and chivalrous. I can’t quite figure out what he’s all about. You know the results of his actions, and yet everything that he says basically aligns with what our heroes and us as the audience agrees with. So, what’s going on? Should we believe his words or his actions? The initial appearance or the results?

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Enter the best character in the series.

But in the end, does it really matter? The Liberator and the Hunters are the best thing to happen to this series since they grabbed Sawano to do the music. Could we please stay with this train? Please?!

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All for one, and one for all–Japanese style.

Seriously, they have motorcycles and cannons! And somehow they get enough magical fuel to power them. But seriously, the more we see of this world and of the Liberator and his men, the more it makes all of Ikoma’s first accomplishments feel superfluous and worthless. Bullets and gun that can pierce a kabane’s heart? Already been done. Become a kabaneri? Been there, done that. Swords that can pierce the iron caged heart? Passe. Seriously! How behind the times was Ikoma’s village/station? Onii-sama and his men and their exploits are obviously renowned, so how come everyone thought what Ikoma was doing was so impossible before?

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They make zombie-killing an art.

The Hunters make Ikoma and the bushi seem like aimless amateurs and I’m not even kidding. I can see now why people admire them so and why people are so loyal to the Liberator. And he even has a sword gun! (Oh and by the way, all the future tech that they’ve pulled out of their buts in this episode has me throw up my hands and just decreeing this place as no longer Earth, but some similar fantasy world.) Even I have to say that I’m enamored with him. He may have a crappy name, but the guy sure has game. And yet, I still can’t seem to trust him yet.

All hail the Liberator!

We see him once again in flashback and what you observe begins to turn your stomach. Onii-sama has a lot of good ideals, and yet you begin to see a dark twist with each of them. To save a young girl and then order to her to murder her family’s murderer is all sorts of wrong. And then to hear him say that her mother’s death was because she was weak makes me want to throw up a little. In fact the more we see of him in this later half of the episode, the more we begin to see the villain hiding behind the charismatic smile.

But thankfully, he’s not the mustache-twirling evil that I was expecting from a show like this. Like I said, the Liberator seems to be more so one of those “I’ll do whatever’s necessary to carry out my goals” sort of guy. So he smiles when he kills a traitor or is merciless to his enemies, at least he gets the job done. I wish they honestly could have kept his real nature hidden for a longer amount of time rather than have him suddenly tossed from anti-villain to straight villain with him manipulating Mumei and threatening Ikoma. I almost feel that he was again a victim of this series’ reckless pacing and unskilled writing.

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Darkness! No parents!

So far, most of the reasons that Ikoma and the crew are suddenly against him are quite circumstantial, based on feelings rather than facts. Ikoma has some dumb moments this episode, and began to crumble off his pedestal as my favorite character. And strangely enough, Onii-sama has taken his place. Having both an interesting character and an interesting plotline involving his father and a lot of inner politics, I’m already interested in seeing more of what’s going on with him and why his father has been trying to kill him. Is this a situation of the better of two evils? What’s really going on here in the background? Because as strong as Ikoma and Mumei (who’s heel-face turn is being telegraphed so hard, they might as well have the script on the screen) are, this is not a guy that I would want as an enemy and all of his crew are stronger, smarter, more loyal, and more coordinated than anyone in the current cast so far, who can’t go two episodes without arguing and turning on one another.

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In the running to tie Yukina for “best girl”.

So the question is, what is going on between the shogun and his son? Why did the parent betray the offspring? Why does Onii-sama need the key to the Koutetsujou? He has his own train, what does he need with the extra weight and passengers? Why send Mumei, why not ask himself? Ayame probably would have given it to him in response to his eye-catching smile. Was it a test to see if Mumei was still within his control or is there another reason? I think both we and Ikoma have to find out a lot more before we solidify our conclusions. I wish Ikoma wouldn’t just jump to them at the drop of a hat through.


And a child shall lead them…

Each time, I keep looking at him and wondering if he can just wait a bit longer before he says the first deduction that he comes to and holds it as gospel. And over and over again, he disappoints me again and again. What is it with this cast and their allergic reaction to “tact” and “subtlety”?! Maybe that’s why I’m so much more attracted to the villain, because at least he doesn’t spout out the first thing that comes to his mind! Filled with acumen and discernment that befits his position and goals, I’d take the Liberator over any of our current main characters.

I find it interesting that Onii-sama and Ikoma are just two sides of the same coin, both have very similar ideals that they live by and spout very similar rhetoric. I think that in the end, it comes to what you are willing to compromise in the name of survival? Is there room for morals when the very existence of your species is on the line? We’re not at Lord of the Flies level yet, (and that’s a better written medium to approach that subject) but I can understand why our young antagonist believes the things he does. He really is a warped, older version of what Ikoma could become, under the right circumstances, and it will be interesting to see where that leads in their confrontations in the future.

Work in the darkness to serve the light

I am interested in to what the next step in the series is going to be, now that Mumei and her plot line have gotten pushed into the limelight by our new antagonist and his elite Recon Corp agents. I said at the start that Lord Big Brother, might seem similar to AoT’s Levi in terms of demeanor and the fact that he’s supposed to be the intentional coolest and strongest bad boy anti-hero character of the series. But I think I might add a little of Erwin in there as well, in that he’s a head leader and his motives (or at least means) are rather ambiguous, even though we know that (at least part!) of his endgame is to get rid of all the kabane from Japan, which I think everyone can agree with. And maybe he’ll want to rule after doing so…but then again, during this time, I don’t think Japan was that unfamiliar with having to serve a shogun, or warlord, or emperor, or whatever he decides to call himself. So, would it really be so bad if he were to assume power after the ashes clear?


I would also like to see more about why he’s collecting kabane and these experiments that he’s been doing. Also, how will this all involve Mumei? I feel that Ikoma laid on a very large death flag by laying thick all the impossible promises he was making towards her. You know this series is going to be headed towards very dark territory now that we’ve had our fun, easy times. It’s entirely possible that the Liberator decides to fall entirely off the deep end and have a large eugenics campaign in the name of Japan’s survival. Right now though, he seems to be concentrating more so on revenge, so we’ll have to just watch and see. This series is getting better and better in the last couple of episodes than it has been the majority of the season, and I’m actually looking forward to what will happen next.

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Well, what do you expect from a guy who just killed the man that has tried to assassinate him–twice?


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 – 08”

  1. Overcooled says:

    Now that you mention it, the Hunters really are wayyyy ahead of the game. It makes Ikoma look like a slump in comparison. I wonder if their village was behind or the Hunters are just hogging all the good technology to themselves.

    I have to say I’m really fond of Mumei’s brother as well. It’s nice to have a villain other than the kabane, and he does a good job of being evil but still having a sort-of justifiable goal. The kabane locked in the engine room was a bit much, mind you.

    Mumei listening to everything her brother said was pretty annoying for me. I just started to get excited about her and Ikoma finally getting along and then she goes and ruins it all. Yikes.

    • skylion says:

      It was basically a steampunk super sentai, this Hunters group. Given the storytelling’ penchant for outright importing other ideas, I’m surprised they didn’t have a steam powered Iron Man and Ant/Giant Man just to round out the “cool”. This show is a dogpile of idea….

      I see where they’re going with the new character with pink hair. There’s an old saying that states, “they make statues out of heroes and villains, and time is the only factor that divides” As usual, WiT is very uninterested in earning any of the cool factor. This time it not only leaves it feeling hollow, but steals, as you say so very well Irene, everything they built Ikoma up to be.

      And Mumei has been firmly established as nothing more than a pandering bit of service, right? Get the key, don’t get the key, what?

      • IreneSharda says:

        I have a hope in the series, maybe too much and I will probably be disappointed, but we’ll have to see.

        I do feel that the writing is still haphazard, as we both pointed out the fact that they spent all this time building up Ikoma as a man ahead of his time, only to now introduce a group that makes him look as if he’s a neanderthal that somehow stepped into the streets of France during the Renaissance. And if anything, that makes the people of his village look even more archaic.
        This is strange since many of them acted as if they’ve heard of him before, which means they should know about his advances.

    • BlackBriar says:

      The kabane locked in the engine room was a bit much, mind you.

      Why’s that? If you’re conducting research of any kind, you’ve got to have samples nearby.

  2. BlackBriar says:

    There’s always room for a charismatic human antagonist. Even more intimidating when they believe what they’re doing is just.

    Three assets explain Biba’s artillery accomplishments in my opinion: Noble lineage (A hell of an unfair advantage), a bigger budget and vast resources. Whereas Ikoma is a dime a dozen commoner with no notoriety to help his advance and is forced to struggle. Comparing Ikoma’s accomplishments to his is like putting a small middle class family owned business against a multi-million dollar corporation. Obviously the difference will be unfair and spirit breaking. This is just another way of setting up the underdog to go against the rich kid on the block.

    Called it on episode 6 after Mumei’s reveal of never been bitten before. So Kabaneri are manufactured products through Kabane research. As usual, humans continue to flirt with dangerous, unpredictable elements. What I didn’t see coming was her volunteering for the Kabaneri procedure instead of Biba forcing it on her. Well, I guess his charisma played a part but it can still be seen as taking the ultimate step in casting away her old life and embracing a new. And if there’s one, like the blonde girl in the battle, there’s sure to be many. Therefore, it leaves to wonder who handles the situation when their blood cravings kick in. Certainly a bad idea having vampire-like beings around and no means of satisfying them.

    Ikoma may have had minor difference in views with Biba but if things had not run through the Enoku incident, he might’ve joined the hype train like everyone else. The guy was warming up to him. I can see where he’s coming from. It wasn’t about killing Enoku as it was his behavior in doing so. The difference between killing out of obligation and killing because one can. Our pink haired crusader got painted with the latter as he smiled with satisfaction, which ill-befits a hero’s image. As a result, to Ikoma’s eyes, Biba is more a thug than a hero.

    Mumei’s confliction and subsequent frustration were thoroughly believable. When comparing the two sides where each brotherly figure resides, which one would a person sooner choose: The one where there’s an already long term established connection, especially when that one happens to be their savior or the one with people they’ve just met and have only known for a handful of days? The fact she got deceived and was instilled with distrust as a result adds to the believability. I can sympathize with that, no problem.

  3. BlackBriar says:

    In the running to tie Yukina for “best girl”.

    With those bangs, she looks like a more serious, blonde haired version of Avatar: The Last Airbender‘s Princess Azula.

  4. BlackBriar says:

    Here’s a surprise. Today just happens to be the birthday of Biba/Oni-sama’s voice actor, Mamoru Miyano.

  5. ProtoSovereign says:

    I concur that the “hunters” make Ikoma’s discoveries look like a child playing with dirt. The ‘motorbikes’ broke my immersion since it really seems out of place. I think Biba is treading that thin line of evil with a purpose or necessary evil and Evil because the plot so dictates. It also feels like the plot has betrayed both itself and us the audience. As the Maxim of the Assassin’s Creed once wisely taught us about this show, “Nothing is true, Everything is permitted.”

    • BlackBriar says:

      As the Maxim of the Assassin’s Creed once wisely taught us about this show, “Nothing is true, Everything is permitted.”

      “To say that nothing is true is to realize that the foundations of society are fragile, and that we must be the shepherds of our own civilization. To say that everything is permitted, is to understand that we are the architects of our actions, and that we must live with their consequences, whether glorious or tragic.”
      Ezio Auditore (Assassin’s Creed Revelations).

    • skylion says:

      The ‘motorbikes’ broke my immersion since it really seems out of place

      ..and they had weapons made from tomatoes

    • ProtoSovereign says:

      I think Skylion has a better grasp of what I meant with my satirical Assassin’s Creed quote Show ▼

      but off topic, ye Ezio did make it sound really amazing. Hopefully Kabenari can make it amazing too somehow. One can always hope.

      • BlackBriar says:

        LOL. I knew that wasn’t your intent but I couldn’t resist the opportunity being a big Assassin’s Creed fan, having played all the main games. Heck, even in the post, Irene used the sentence “Work in the darkness to serve the light”. Again, the connection couldn’t be ignored.

        • ProtoSovereign says:

          Yeah, I used to be a big AC fan too BB but then AC3 came out and destroyed my faith in the series. Everyone said AC2 was a massive improvement over AC1 and I couldn’t agree more but if there is one thing from AC1 I want back in the series its weapon sheaths nothing irks me more than an unsheathed weapon just flopping about on your waist/hips. Dem blades are sharp afterall and need to be maintained. btw for reference I’ve played all the AC games up to AC4 black flag. (after which I said goodbye to the AC series)

          • BlackBriar says:

            Hmmm…. Seems your faith in most things, be it shows or games, is easy to break.

            • ProtoSovereign says:

              Haha, nah BB my faith in Rezero is still holding out as you can see from my comments in that (well I’m not sure if my comments show that but now you know). And I have to correct you with Kabenari, I never had faith in Kabenari, what I actually had was hope that it wouldn’t turn into Guilty Crown 2.0 since the context surrounding the production of Kabenari seemed similar. Assassin’s Creed had a good idea for a game but if you’ve played the first game you should be familiar with all the complaints it got and not without reason. Whilst AC2 was a good game the overarching plot of the modern assassin’s vs Templar fight never got anywhere, and by AC4 it was crystal clear, they were not going to make anything of the modern plotline. Its like the whole thing was just a big drawn out trailer, which mind you ubisoft is really good at making those. Also I didn’t like the new combat system, it just seemed violent while before the assassin’s were like elegant fighters with amazing skills in combat. The new combat system made assassin’s feel like classless street brawlers. Damn you made me rant about AC XD

            • ProtoSovereign says:

              I did trim out a lot of fine details from my rant but hopefully you can fill in the blanks since you’ve played all the games right? I also hope you understand why I tired of assassin’s creed, but no I’m not tired of kabenari 🙂 its just fun to point out the things it does wrong. My standards are fairly high when it comes to judging games and shows 😉

  6. BlackBriar says:

    Tsk! I see Spammy is as ravenous as the Kabane

    • skylion says:

      I guess that makes me the steampowered half zombie cyborg of the moment…

      • ProtoSovereign says:

        Guys calm down! I’m sure the ‘steampowered half zombie cyborg’ has yet to make its glorious debut. When it does we certainly won’t be expecting it and it shall be hailed as the best desu ex machine moment in anime history or as the best plot twist since, we discovered microwaves can serve as makeshift time machines. Also, Kabane Don’t seem to be that ravenous, they generally just kindly stop at one bite. Kabane are afterall famous for not being greedy.

    • ProtoSovereign says:

      Okay nevermind, I was wrong. Spammy must have taken vengeance on me for my comment about the Kabane not being ravenous. Pls save my previous comment so that we can learn about how nice the kabane really are. For Great Justice!

  7. […] –Koutetsujou no Kabaneri Ep. 8 Review […]

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