Koutetsujou no Kabaneri – 09

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“Baby, what truly matters is the heart…Particularly, this glowing zombie heart.”

Remember when everyone was celebrating tanabata in a quaint, new town and making promises about planting rice crops? The good old days? Well, it’s time to forget about that because everything that could have gone wrong, went wrong.

As expected, a show this dramatic couldn’t stand to dwell on a happy moment for too long. The tanabata episode was just the calm before a storm, and now this sanctuary they found has been destroyed much like Ikoma’s hometown. Biba purposely leads kabane into the city in order to knock it down, kills civilians and higher-ups who defy him, and then finishes off his loyal servant Horobi after she serves his purpose. It’s all because Biba thinks people shouldn’t be holed up in safe towns, and should instead devote our lives to fighting kabane and honing their skills. Those who aren’t strong enough will die, and Biba is perfectly fine with that. I’m sure all of you can see where this extreme worldview can be problematic. Going out and fighting kabane is fine, but destroying a safe haven just for the sake of making a statement about survival of the fittest is absurd. If you want to run around killing kabane without relying on a place to rest and refuel then be my guest – but don’t fuck over everyone else because of it.

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But that fanatical devotion to his “only the strong survive” ideal is what makes him who he is. Learning more about just how far off the deep end this dude has jumped into is always interesting, because he just gets worse and worse. For example, now we can see just how far he’s willing to go to prove a point.  As the massacre progressed, all I could think of was how all of this was orchestrated by him. It wasn’t like the attack in episode 1 that was entirely by accident – he purposely inflicted this much terror for petty reasons. As such, this massacre had a different tone than the one in episode 1, which was an unfortunate but random disaster. To think someone would be so delusional as to trigger this intentionally, it just says a whole lot about Biba’s lack of empathy.

After thinking about Biba, my thoughts turned to how heavily this mus be weighing on Mumei. She needed a wake up call that she was being used, but boy, this sure was a rough one. There’s a limit to the brainwashing Biba did to her to make her so obedient. There is just no way for her to reconcile being manipulated into opening the gate and casuing hundreds (thousands?) of innocent people to die. That’s too obvious a betrayal of trust. She’s been manipulated by him for quite a long time, but it’s only now with this irrefutable proof that I think she finally realizes what Biba is like. It’s sad to see this happen to her, but she needed to see this so she can go back to Ikoma and the Kotetsujou (in due time). I just hope she doesn’t do something dumb and keep believing in her brother, because that would be a bit much considering how traumatized she was during the kabane slaughterfest going on around her.

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I honestly hope Mumei is starting to get over her stockholm syndrome, but not everyone under Biba’s command is the same. Biba has yet another pretty lady under his spell (hmm, wonder why the guys aren’t like this…). Horobi marches to her death knowing well in advance that it will be her last fight, all because Biba simply commanded her to do so. She willing gets injected with whatever the hell Biba is farming from the kabane he keeps on hand to conduct research on. The blue liquid turns her into an artificial Black Smoke kabane  that they call Nue. She rampages around, gets consumed by the “virus”, and then eventually is killed by Biba. The sad thing is, he waits until she gains awareness of herself before impaling her. He might have been able to save her at that point, but decided that just offing her would be better. Biba quite simply does not care.

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tfw the guy you like finally penetrates you

Biba’s treatment of Horobi furthers the whole point that “this dude is a huge dick” and I appreciate that development, but I did not like the introduction of yet another new rule to this kabane/kabaneri game. It’s like we get a new rule introduced every week, as if the writers don’t appreciate how cool the original concept is. We can’t just have regular kabaneri, we need giant ones who shoot lasers out of their mouths! Honestly, it started to just get ridiculous at that point and I don’t know why they had to add that in aside from being desperate to copy Attack on Titan as much as possible.

Other than that, I enjoyed watching Mumei wrestle with her emotions as she saw Biba’s Hunters decimate the city partially thanks to her own actions as well as the general chaotic nature of the rampage. It was a good action sequence rife with horrors and dramatic moments as unknowing civilians got devoured by kabane. No one was safe – it didn’t matter whose side they fought for. It wasn’t a particularly well-choreographed battle episode, but it got the message across through emotional impact. With only 3 episodes to go, we’re due for more crazy twists and shenanigans soon, I reckon!

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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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23 Responses to “Koutetsujou no Kabaneri – 09”

  1. skylion says:

    we need giant ones who shoot lasers out of their mouths

    I fully expect rocket kabane to come along next episode; guess where there the thrust comes out!? Yeah, they enjoy making it up as the go along.

    But the cake taken has to go to the villain of the piece. I’ve heard of Load Bearing villains, but isn’t it quite irritating to the whole plot centered on a guy that’s bad….cause the story needs a bad guy? What a load…

    • Overcooled says:

      They can’t just stick with one concept, can they? I can’t wait for the rocket kabane finale lol

      Biba is alright. He’s a pretty standard villain and this show doesn’t really NEED a villain, but he is interesting..I’ll give him that. At this point, I’ll take what I can get…

  2. ProtoSovereign says:

    Well, I mean at least they bothered to explain the fused colony Kabane i.e. they are artificial, or why the whole world sucks with anti-kabane tech except Bieber’s Hunters. Though that does raise the question of why none of the citadel’s Bieber has stopped to restock at have questioned him about withholding such important advancements. He could have destroyed all of them in a similar way what happened this ep but that then raises the question of why he would be hailed a hero. So many irrelevant questions have I.

    • BlackBriar says:

      Though that does raise the question of why none of the citadel’s Bieber has stopped to restock at have questioned him about withholding such important advancements.

      Most likely because whatever the outsiders see is the common artillery while the real valuable stuff is secretly stashed away from prying eyes. Think about it. If Biba’s train was thoroughly searched, they’d have eventually found the room where that blue glowing Kabane heart is along with the stored Kabane. If that were to happen, you can bet they wouldn’t leave alive and there’d be a number of inspectors “mysteriously vanishing”. Biba already threatened Ikoma’s life in front of Mumei if he forced his way in during the 8th episode.

      • ProtoSovereign says:

        Yeah, I mean I figured Biba would have silenced any curious eyes but I thought there would be at least some smarter Daimyo that wouldn’t have let Biba get a gold ticket through everything.
        If that were to happen, you can bet they wouldn’t leave alive and there’d be a number of inspectors “mysteriously vanishing”.

        Well if those inspectors vanished like that I would have thought their lord would be smart enough to pin down biba as the culprit. I know Biba has inspector proof plot armor but it still irks me when anyone that’s not a main character is always completely incompetent. Its like they just handwaved that Biba always gets his way.

        • BlackBriar says:

          Yeah, I mean I figured Biba would have silenced any curious eyes but I thought there would be at least some smarter Daimyo that wouldn’t have let Biba get a gold ticket through everything.

          Noble status tends to negate all forms of suspicions that would stick on any commoner for life without hard evidence. Such preconceptions like “Oh, because he’s from this prestigious family, he can’t possibly do any wrong”. Even if they do get implicated in an incident, they’d have enough connections to get them out or at least set up a wall to prevent further prying. And even if they’re estranged, Biba is still the Shogun’s son.

          • ProtoSovereign says:

            True, I doubt getting on the Shogun’s son’s case is on anybody’s agenda.

            • BlackBriar says:

              Then you understand how power and privilege give an unfair advantage to those who have it. Take a shot at a noble with a serious accusation and miss by having nothing solid to support it, then you’re the one who’ll pay dearly. And the repercussions aren’t kind in the slightest.

            • ProtoSovereign says:

              You can always play dirty though and screw over other nobles XD, but no one in kabenari is going to do that, wait for it… Except the shogun’s disowned son himself.

  3. Alexandre Martins says:

    Well, another series that I’ve quit because, instead of an interesting plot for survival against great odds, it boiled down to yet another sociopath for a villain! Biba is so generic as villain as to have robbed me of all interest for the series, as we’re bound to see Mumei struggling between her loyalty to him and her good heart. Unlike the other of Biba’s followers, who are just as much psychotic killers as he. Except for Horobi, who, being a woman (roll eyes VERY hard) HAS to be in love with her lord and willing to sacrifice everything and everyone for him, just because she is in love. Frankly, this kind of shounen-anime view of women is SO annoying! And you can’t say Mumei is different. She’s different because she’s not an older woman, whom writers of shounen fiction seem to see as pathetic mindless slaves to their feelings. If at least it were the hormones, I might be less annoyed with it! If at least Horobi wanted to fuck Biba so bad that she was willing do kill everyone for that, it might not be so bad. But noooo, she just has to have this childish, totally unreal platonic love because she’s a woman! Oh, and just for the record, I’m humanist, not feminist. Horobi’s behavior just violates every decent view of a rational human being I can think of.

    • skylion says:

      This is pretty much WiT storytelling in a nutshell.

    • ProtoSovereign says:

      Yeah, what you said about horobi and Biba were some of the things that really put a damp blanket on me for the last 2 eps.

      • BlackBriar says:

        Hmm… At face value, their relationship might be misinterpreted. I’m one that analyzes intereactions if they’re appealing enough. Looks more like Horobi’s behavior and actions are based more on being in Biba’s debt than having affection for him. As though he saved her from something and she’s repaying him by letting him do with her as he sees fit. And she does what he orders without question because he gives her a sense of purpose, even if it eventually carries her to her death. Anything he wants as long as it makes her feel useful.

        I mean, Horobi gives the impression she’s given herself to him, body and soul as a recompense. There might be hints of attachment but I wouldn’t call what’s there “love”.

        • ProtoSovereign says:

          Yeah I think its more like she feels like she owes him her life. It was annoying however that Horobi only regained her senses before killing Bieber. That guy’s plot armor is lazer beam proof too it would seem.

    • Overcooled says:

      I’m also pretty disappointed that only the women in the show swoon at Biba and let him use them like pawns. The men all seem to be very much in control, whereas Horobi has to get bent over backwards while Biba stabs a needle between her boobs. And like you say, this isn’t the only anime to give ladies the short end of the stick.

      …Not sure why you had to declare you’re not a feminist at the end of that but okay

      • ProtoSovereign says:

        I’m not sure why Alexandre Martins felt the need to declare that. But just my opinion, but Humanist does sound much better than Feminist. The Former is for all humans right? whilst the latter is supporting half the race and opposing the other half. I’m not saying I don’t understand why feminism even came about but that’s just how it sounds from my extremely limited knowledge of such subjects.

      • ProtoSovereign says:

        Oh and what you said about the women swooning at Biba, I don’t think the male cast are any better. Kurusu is swooning on Ayame and Ikoma of late has been very imcompetent. As the background characters… well they are background characters we all know those are meant to die hopelessly in droves so our heroes can actually be goddamn heroes.

  4. BlackBriar says:

    Nicely done. Let’s see… Tension? Yes. Despair? Check. Genocidal scenario that begs the question “Who is the true monster?”? Accounted for (Though this isn’t much of a gray area setting for the question to have its full effect). A trust shattering betrayal that destroys a young girl’s faith in her idolized savior? Hell yes!!! All much liked and preferred elements. Kabaneri continues to deliver and remains compelling.

    I was waiting for the moment to come where Mumei would see Biba’s true nature. Too bad for her it happened after realizing she’s indirectly responsible for the mounting deaths. A fact sure to eat her alive. He had her so heavily conditioned to follow his orders without question. So seeing where she goes from here will be most interesting.

    As for our pink haired antagonist’s delusional belief in survival of the fittest and sacrificing others to pave the way for mankind’s future, he could be friends with Kureto Hiiragi. It’s also a lesson anime keeps teaching us but most seem to forget or ignore it: Never trust a well-spoken bishounen.

    Does Biba rename everyone he takes under his wing? Asking this mainly because of the meaning behind Horobi’s name which literally translates to “Ruin”. Hell, the episode’s title is “Fang of Ruin”. Especially after he renamed Hozumi “Mumei” which means “Nameless”. In light of transpired events, the name “Horobi” suits her well and because of that, it makes me curious as to how she lived in the past. No doubt an odd one. Unlike the unknowing Mumei, she knew, through her actions, she was heading toward her death yet had no qualms about the fact.

    Horobi’s transformation through that blue concentrated Kabane essence drew attention and raised some inquiries on past events. For example, the odds Biba and his crew having any possible connection to the Fused Colony a few episodes prior. Though that’s a 50/50 bet. However, it still shows humans can’t resist playing with what they shouldn’t. Also, judging from reactions of the scientists, that energy blast and alternate form were unforeseen side-effects. After all, Kabaneri aren’t natural born creatures to begin with.

    The massacre was a hellish descent into chaos. My heart sank in particular when that little girl got bitten then her mother placed herself behind with that suicide pouch in front so they’d both die from the explosion.

    • ProtoSovereign says:

      Now they just need to bring Nietzsche into this and make Biba realise he’s become a monster.

      • BlackBriar says:

        By “Who is the true monster?”, I meant whether if it’s the Kabane who are driven by basic instinct or the humans who can think and plan but always instinctively strive to cause some form of conflict.

        Also, when I said “Though this isn’t much of a gray area setting for the question to have its full effect”, it’s because the Kabane aren’t sentient with a will of their own that can rival the humans (Therefore, the lack of the necessary requirement for a gray area scenario). They’re mindless humanoid beasts acting on motor functions.

  5. IreneSharda says:

    Oh, I am loving this…
    I know everyone is maligning this show about now, saying the writing is getting worse and the characters are falling apart…but folks, I think I can safely say–

    It’s been that way since episode one!

    People were just so amazed by the animation and action that they wanted to make every single excuse in the book for it, trying their best to explain crappy writing, and it’s only now that they are beginning to realize what I and others who were not so easily impressed, have seen as weaknesses from the show’s inception.

    However, you know what? At this point, I don’t even care. This show is finally starting to get FUN! It’s now balls-to-the-wall chaos, with blood and destruction everywhere! Who the heck cares about plot, or well-written characters when we can have everything be on fire!! *maniacal laughter*

    But honestly, I love Onii-sama. He and his crew have brought so much more life and enjoyment to this series for me. I’m just interested in how much craziness this show is going to give me before it crashes and burns by either ending it abruptly in a few more episodes, or limping on into another season.

    • skylion says:

      It really has been the dog’s breakfast since we did the FI, hasn’t it? I can’t really, or wholly, agree with you here. It just hasn’t reached that crescendo of terrible quite yet. While greater shows like Big Order have exalted in it’s badness (and it had the decency to limit itself to only 10 eps), this one just putters along in mediocrity.

      • IreneSharda says:

        Now that I’ve seen episode 10, I have to agree with you. I was thinking that the show was just going to get crazier with weirder twists and plot turns coming out of nowhere, and just make it an enjoyable trainwreck. But somehow, they took the very predictable route this last episode, even more so than before, and now it just feels even less than paint-by-numbers, that I think this series is either going to fizzle out, or try to limp into another season somehow.

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