Synopsis

As the world is in the middle of an industrial revolution, aStriptease-studio89-Article-2_03
monster appears that cannot be defeated unless its heart –
which is protected by a layer of iron – is pierced. By infecting
humans with its bite, the monster can create aggressive and
undead creatures known as Kabane. On the island Hinomoto,
located in the Far East, people have built stations to shelter
themselves from these creatures. People access the station,
as well as transport wares between them, with the help of a
locomotive running on steam, called Hayajiro.

Ikoma, a boy who lives in the Aragane station and helps to
build Hayajiro, creates his own weapon called Tsuranukizutsu
in order to defeat the creatures. One day, as he waits for an
opportunity to use his weapon, he meets a girl named Mumei,
who is excused from the mandatory Kabane inspection.

During the night, Ikoma meets Mumei again as he sees
Hayajiro going out of control. The staff on the locomotive has
turned into the creatures. The station, now under attack by
Kabane, is the opportunity Ikoma has been looking for.
Source: MyAnimeList

Koutetsujou no Kabaneri Review
We’ve got big players in the scene this spring season. The
top player for our current season is definitely Koutetsujou no Kabaneri alongside the overhyped Kiznaiver
and the spine-crackling mystery anime, Mayoiga.

Koutetsujou no Kabaneri starts off on a steam train running away from a horde of weird looking zombies
called “Kabane.” Right from the start, we could expect that this anime will bring about satisfying gore
and inevitable deaths. After fending off a couple of zombies that jumped onto the train, the next scene
involved a man, bitten by a Kabane, being persuaded by his fellow soldiers to commit suicide using a
device called “suicide bag.” This “suicide bag” is used when there is no hope for survival. It is placed
directly onto your chest, and when the pin is released – you explode. From the way it exploded, we can
say for sure that it only affects the person who used it, it isn’t your typical hand grenade.

Our main character, Ikoma, is introduced in the next scene. Ikoma seems to be testing some sort of gun
that can obliterate the Kabane. Unfortunately, the gun has not enough power to blast through steel.
Infuriated and vexed, Ikoma threw the gun down.

After the first few minutes of a gory introduction, we are brought to an island city called Hinomoto. We
can finally feel that this show is also from the creators of Attack on Titan – a nation trapped inside huge
walls to fend off their enemies. Unfortunately, unlike the utopian paradise Attack on Titan had, Hinomoto
isn’t safe within the walls to begin with. The steam trains that transport wares – which are called
Hayajiros – might be overrun by Kabane once they return to their respective stations. To check whether
the people inside a Hayajiro is infected or not, the people aboard the Hayajiro are required to strip in
front of the inspectors and get checked. If a person is bitten, they are thrown to jail or executed on the
spot.

Two new characters are introduced in the nextStriptease-studio89-Article-2_07
scene: Ayame and Mumei.

Ayame is a Bushi Princess, the daughter of their
station’s leader. Ayame decided to go into the
Hayajiro yard to have his father’s gun checked
for problems. Ikoma seemingly dislikes the bushi
family, but he went on to check the Bushi’s gun
when he was forced by his fellow Hayajiro
engineers. Ikoma then asked the Bushi princess
where or to whom she will point the gun to.
Ayame was unable to reply. Suddenly, their
conversation came to a stop when the gates
opened. Apparently, the Koutetsujyou – a Hayajiro that was scheduled to arrive the next day – arrived
earlier than expected. The blood-stained Hayajiro was then immediately inspected.

According to the initial inspection, no one was bitten, except there was one girl who didn’t go through
inspection; her name is Mumei. Mumei and her guardian, Shimon, are guests of the Bushi’s family and
ordered the inspectors to let them go. After a few scenes, a man hiding from the inspectors came running
out of the Hayajiro. Inspectors came running to capture the man, but he insists that he is not a Kabane.
Ikoma, vexed by what he saw, came running to help the man, insisting that the man isn’t a Kabane. Due to
his insolence, Ikoma was beaten up. As the inspectors were beating up Ikoma, the man tried to run away,
only to be chased by bullets that went straight into his heart. Ikoma was right, the man isn’t a Kabane.

Ikoma was arrested and placed under maximum security.

Mumei, interested in the reason why Ikoma did what he did, paid a visit to Ikoma in secret. They had a
meaningful conversation about human psychology and fear – this is where we can finally see the Code
Geass in this series: the philosophies delivered through conversation and the very foundation of the
characters’ development. Mumei seems to agree with Ikoma’s way of thinking, though.

After a few scenes, a new Hayajiro is on its way back home.Unfortunately, this Hayajiro is completely
overrun by Kabane. The gatekeepers failed to close the gates in time and thus the Hayajiro collided its
way into the city, freeing the Kabane within.

Ikoma, alerted by what had happened, broke free from his cell to fetch his piercing gun. For him to able to
test the power of his revamped piercing gun, he wounded himself to attract the nearby Kabane to him. As
he loaded his gun with explosives and waited for the Kabane, something dropped down from the roof – a
vKabane! With fast reflexes, Ikoma pointed his gun into the Kabane’s heart. When Ikoma pulled the
trigger, the Kabane was blown into pieces. The excited Ikoma has never been happier in his life, except, he
had been bitten by the Kabane.

Ikoma immediately tied his infected arm and inserted burning coal into it. He then drilled onto his arm
and shoulder what seems to be some sort of armor. As the infection started going up onto his neck, he
choked himself with a leather strap. At this moment we learn more about Ikoma and his past. He seemed
to have ran away when there was a girl – a relative or a lover – was bitten by a Kabane. As he screamed,
“With this, I will become a person I can be proud of!” the infection dropped – leaving him alive and
untransformed.

The final moments of the episode featured Mumei, displaying some monstrous martial arts against a
Kabane – in one swift kick, the Kabane lost its head.

Thoughts on Koutetsujou no Kabaneri
Koutetsujou no Kabaneri is a product of 2 key elements in the modern Japanese animation industry:
(1) Director Araki Tetsurou (Death Note) and Wit Studio came back together to work on this show. These
2 are responsible for the worldwide hit anime, Shingeki no Kyojin (Attack on Titan). (2) Okouichi Ichiro,
the creator of another worldwide hit anime, Code Geass. With the combination of these geniuses
I HIGHLY doubt Koutetsujou no Kabaneri will be going down just yet.

Koutetsujou no Kabaneri delivers everything in a single package: Gore, zombies, steampunk, epic fight
scenes, and women. Just with the first episode we can see Araki-san’s obvious directions when it comes
to fight scenes. I do believe that because of how Shingeki no Kyojin’s battle mechanics are, Araki-san’s
ability to direct with his full genius was constrained. That isn’t the same with Koutetsujou no Kabaneri.
We are able to see Araki-san’s mind at work as we watch Mumei obliterate a Kabane, that smooth
flash-dashing followed by a decapitating kick – how beautiful.

We have yet to see Okouichi Ichiro’s amazing script writing with just the first episode. But considering
that he wrote Code Geass, I doubt we wouldn’t be entertained. Code Geass is a show of mind games and
complex events, I wonder how Okouichi-san’s genius script writing will play out?

Character Designs and Visuals
I’d have to give it to Wit Studios, they’ve done yet another amazing job in the anime industry. Though
there are similarities between Kabaneri’s and Attack on Titan’s animation sequences, I think that Wit
Studio did a better job with Kabaneri. The fight sequences, the gore, the blood gushing out of the Kabane
victims, and Ikoma’s self-inflicted torture – they all seemed so real. The animation in this show really gets
to you. I haven’t felt this way since Soul Eater (but that’s in a different genre).

The team also did a great work with the character designs for sticking true to the steampunk subculture.
Ikoma’s post-Kabane design seems more fitting for his personality and I love how minimal yet steampunky
it is. Ayame’s design is debatable, we’ve seen a plethora of characters from other shows that exactly look
like her, but what caught me is the design of her legs – it’s really sexy. Mumei, on the other hand, is so
generic – but what of the design she had during the ED? That looks awesome.

Koutetsujou no Kabaneri offers amazing animation plays and great character designs. Everything in this
show is alive: from the trees, shadows, houses, blood, and fire. It’s refreshing to watch a show you know
wasn’t just produced to become a time-filler for TV broadcasting stations.

Final Words
Koutetsujou no Kabaneri is an instant favorite the moment I’ve seen the first 3 minutes of the first
episode. You’ve got everything in this show. This is a show that won’t disappoint you – it will keep you
on your toes whether you like it or not. This is a show that Japan could be proud of. Definitely the GOLD
of the decade.