Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress, 2016
Signed up the 30/03/2017
“We are weak Mumei. But, that doesn't mean we just roll over and accept our fate.”
Kabaneri is a dystopian steam punk adventure anime series written by Ichiro Okouchi & directed by Tetsuro Araki.
The story takes place in industrial age Japan where a mysterious virus has ravaged the population & turned them into hideous zombies known as “Kabane”. Kabane are not your average zombies as the only way to kill them is pierce their hearts which are covered in a thick cage of steel & unfortunately the current weapons humanity has at its disposal (rudimentary steam guns) are ineffective against these creatures. Since humanity cannot fight back they have opted to live in giant walled cities or “stations “ which can are connected by a great railroad network that covers the entire island of Japan. In order for people to travel around the country you have to ride giant armored trains that will hopefully hold out against an attack from the Kabane horde that have overrrun most of the country. One day Aragane station is stormed by a horde of Kabane killing & infecting thousands of people. It is during the chaos of the city falling that we meet our protagonist Ikoma a steamsmith & talented inventor who has been working on creating a weapon capable of piercing the impenetrable heart of the Kabane. During the chaos of the Kabane attack Ikoma is ambushed by a lone Kabane zombie that bite & infects him with the virus. Ikoma however finds a way to stop the virus from reaching his heart preventing him from turning into a mindless zombie but unfortunately he is long completely human either. He has now become a unique Kabane/Human hybrid known as a “Kabaneri”.
Kabaneri is truly amongst the most beautifully animated anime to come out in recent years as the audience is given a visual tour of this spectacular steam punk slash Edo period Japan world. The action scenes are also brilliantly animated as we see our heroes battle zombies with cool steam powered weapons in gorgeous detail. Kabaneri is a wonderful adventure series that is filled with a lot of heart & sincerity. As the last survivors of Aragane station board the Kotetsujo (a giant steam train) you can feel that the desperation of the passengers as they struggle to survive in this apocalyptic world not against the Kabane horde but also against the dark nature of humanity because as we all know when humans are consumed by fear the do terrible things to their fellow man just in order to survive. It feels like this train is not just filled with people but also the last hopes & dreams of humanity.
Out of all of the characters it was Ikoma the main protagonist that stole my heart. Ikoma knows he isn’t the strongest or the most respected in his society & after he becomes a Kabaneri he even becomes feared by his people. However despite this he puts himself on the line to save the passengers of the Kotetsujo with every ounce of determination he possesses & does not allow anyone to tell him he can’t do something. Also his philosophy towards life is really inspirational which is amazing considering the trauma that he experienced in the past (I won’t mention it but you will cry when you hear his back story).
My only real issue about the show is that the premise is too similar to a more popular anime known as Attack on Titan in terms of the whole “the last humans on Earth build giant cities to keep the monsters out” theme. However even though these two shows have similar settings Kabaneri still succeeds in creating its own unique identity as you progress further in the story. Please be warned that this show will most certainly give you serious chest pains because of all the sad stuff that happens in the story but don’t worry it’s not all bleak. If you’re a fan of series like the Walking Dead or films like World War Z & Resident Evil then Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress is defiantly the anime for you.
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