Koutetsujou no Kabaneri Episode 1: [Frightened Corpse][First Impressions]

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Koutetsujou no Kabaneri or Kanebari of the Iron Fortress.
A lot of people including myself joked about this show saying that it was an Attack on Titan rip off. It’s true that both shows are quite similar in some aspects but I’ll try to mention the name Attack On titan as little as possible.
That’s my personal challenge.
Anyway, let’s jump in!

10 years ago, people shot themselves from the rest of the world behind stations to protect themselves from some sort of zombies/corpses. vlcsnap-2016-04-07-23h45m26s249The only way to travel between the stations is to use a big train called the “Iron Fortress”. We don’t really know anything about the corpses, they have a sort of shiny heart, they are infected people that  transformed into corpses quickly after being bitten and seems to die if you make their heart explode. But I’m not sure… I don’t think I’ve heard anyone explaining how to kill a corpse in this episode, so I’m just guessing here.  So those corpses are actually quite close to what we call zombies since there’s some “virus” that can be passed from one person to another. Because of that, survivors are “supposed” to be careful and doubtful towards other people. There’s lots of controls to see if people have been bitten and there’s no mercy for infected people, they have to commit some sort of suicide by detonating a bag of powder close to their heart. Everyone is quite paranoiac but that’s quite understandable since zombies aren’t the best thing ever if you want to live a peaceful life.

vlcsnap-2016-04-07-23h34m17s106Meet Ikoma, the supposed hero of the show, who’s a corpse nerd and pissed off by everything that isn’t related to corpses or weapons. From what I understood, he’s been studying corpses and guns in order to create a brand new weapon to kill zombies by exploding their hearts. Why exploding their hearts might you ask… Well, I don’t know yet.  Also, Ikoma has a particular vision of things and in my opinion he should chill a bit. He thinks that basically everyone is a coward, afraid of the corpses, that human kind has lost its “humanity” when they decided to protect themselves behind stations, away from the corpses. He seems to hate the samurais and wants to save the maximum people. But I actually don’t understand what he wants. He wants to stop people from suspecting everyone of being infected, wants the humanity to fight against the corpses but rejects it for not saving them and at the same time  he’s creating a new weapon to fight the corpses and I’m like… Dude, what’s your point? Do you want to save the survivors? The corpses? What is the difference between your weapon and the basic weapon? Why didn’t you join the guard or something like that if you wanted to save people? Why do you hate samurais so much? There’s no cure yet right? So corpses can’t be saved right now… Just… People can’t save the corpses so don’t call them cowards because they want to kill infected people since ya know, they are going to turn into zombies…
I can understand his vision of the world, like ” humans should not lose they humanity by fear” and I agree with that, but man, that’s quite and idealized vision of the world. I’m not saying that I don’t like it, it’s interesting, I might be dumb but I-I sincerely, I DON’T UNDERSTAND WHAT HE WANTS! GGGRRR I’TS DRIVING ME CRAZY! So let’s move on to the next character and I’ll come back to the Ikoma case later.

Then there’s Takumi, voiced by Yuki Kaiji. He’s the best friend of Ikoma who’s pretty generic. Based on this first episode he appears to me as the best friend, a bit useless, comic relief who do not really share the main protagonist’s idealistic point of view. So yeah, I don’t have much things to say about him, he ‘s generic to me.

vlcsnap-2016-04-07-23h37m10s963Then there’s Mumei the moe bad ass girl. Well, I like her, she’s awesome. I like her more than protag-kun/Ikoma, and that’s something for me since I usually like my bishounens (even if I won’t say that Protag-Kun is a bishounen…). She seems to be part of some sort of sect or other religious organisation since she was with a priest but yeah, you can tell she knows a lot about all that corpse stuff. She also looks like she has a mission to accomplish or something like that and that makes her cool in my agenda.

There’s also Ayame a noble girl who was all “OMG Protag-kun is right” when he told her some philosophical stuff about the corpses. She also looks a bit useless but, you never know. I just hope she’s not going to be here just to be the princess, who shares the hero’s vision and supports him by trying to convince the nobles, her family or who the hell she wants, to do what the hero says. That would be pretty generic and therefore quite boring.
There’s other people but eh, we did not get enough information about them so I can’t really prononce myself.

In this world people seems to suck at survival. The stations are falling one after another being invaded by corpses and receiving no help from the other stations. Humans don’t trust each other anymore and are really, really paranoiac. At some point, a random naked dude suspected of being bitten starts running away and gets shot by the guards even if Ikoma was trying to protect him. I don’t know which one is the dumbest, the guards or the naked guy, who wasn’t bitten after all. Don’t act suspicious if you’re not. Plus, the hero was trying to protect you, god dammit! And the guards are like ” He wasn’t a corpse? Oh well, never mind, you can’t be right all the time, too bad for him”. Yeah, you piece of trash, you’re supposed to protect people, not to kill them. Just how stupid are you?vlcsnap-2016-04-07-23h45m10s242

Human dumbness seems to be what’s going to cause human extinction in this show. It’s actually  what causes the corpses’s invasion in the station where Ikoma, the hero, lives. Indeed, in the afternoon, a train arrives at the station early since one of the station where he was supposed to stop has fallen. So they stop the train, inspect everyone and stuff. But then, during the night, another train, which was expected, arrives too but they don’t stop it and let it in like “ Yolo, this one won’t probably have any zombies nor bitten people in it, come my friend, come into the station, I’ll open the gates for you”. But of course there’s some zombies on it and then there’s fire, dead people and so on… I don’t really understand why they left the train entering the station without checking it beforehand… BUT… YEAH… no wonder stations fall so easily…

So there’s zombies everywhere, we get some nice gory action and Ikoma thinks that now is the best time to try out his new weapon, because WHY NOT? It’s not like te world is on fire and everybody is dying right? Oh wait, it is.
But Ikoma is the Hero and Heroes don’t run away so he cut himself to vlcsnap-2016-04-07-23h52m19s350attract a corpse into his house in order to shot him in the heart. But when he cuts himself, he doesn’t cut himself with the corner of an envelope… NO!
Ikoma is someone that likes to do things big, so he takes a huge knife (probably not sterilized) and freaking cut himself to bleed because corpses are attracted to blood. Why does he has to cut himself so badly to attract a corpse when there’s loads of corpses to chose from just next to his house? Eeeeh, don’t ask me.. I don’t know… So he manages to kill a corpse but he’s bitten! OH NO! WHAT A BUMBER! That’s what happens when you play with a corpse, those things are dangerous man.  I bet your mom did not tell you, god dammit, kids nowadays, it’s always the parent’s fault.  But anyway, Ikoma is infected and because he actually has some balls he tries to burn his wound, to stab it, to strangle himself and so on. He finally manages to make the virus disappears. Although this scene was quite intense, the end just left me… Wut? That’s it? How… Why… Did he… Is it because of the stone?… So It’s that easy? Why did no one ever thought of that? I mean, ok he’s the hero, ok he’s the only one wearing  glasses but does this mean that he’s smarter than everyone here? Well, that actually might not be difficult considering the intelligence level of the guards here.

vlcsnap-2016-04-07-23h48m03s126What caught my attention is the fact that corpses have proven to have a little conscience or at least to remember some gestures from their past life. When the train full of corpses arrives we see that some of them are actually operating the train. Then, during the attack, one of the corpses reproduces the pointing movement that a kid made, so those things let me think that corpses may have some sort of conscience.  Which is why I can understand Ikoma’s concern about them and why he wants to save them, although I don’t know if he sees them as still human and if  he actually want to save them? I’m not even sure… I DON’T KNOW! THIS IS CONFUSING!

The whole atmosphere is a lot gloomier and darker than I thought. The Opening theme fits the show I must say. It reminds me a lot of Shisha no Teikoku, a movie about corpses again, done by WIT Studio and which theme song was also made by EGOIST. Coincidence? I think not.  But there’s no Skinny Ass in this show. Damn, I miss Skinny Ass a bit now..

The Animation is really cool and the sound too, so no complaints on this side. The corpse’s attack was nicely done, and the fights got me hyped to see more.

Ikoma is, I don’t know… I can’t really prononce myself, he certainly has a strong will power and seems to do all this shit because before he had a rough past but I’m like ” meh”, I don’t know… His vision of things is a bit too idealistic for me, so I hope someone will explain him that his ideals are cool and everything but reality is something else.

My main concern about this show is that it can be really generic. The whole plot isn’t something new since it has a lot of Shingeki no Kyojin vibes that even if I wanted to ignore them, I couldn’t help it, I just got those good old Shingeki’s vibes and that’s a good thing. It also reminded me a lot of The Walking Dead because zombies obviously, but also because people don’t really trust each other anymore. It’s almost like the real enemy isn’t the zombies but people’s inability of cooperating and trusting each other. Or because they are dumb as fuck… that can be another option too…
But yeah, so far the show seems quite generic to me, even if I’m interested in the “human don’t trust each other anymore” and “corpses are humans too” aspects, I fear that those themes won’t be developed enough.
Furthermore, so far, everything is quite Manichean. The hero wants to save everyone, the soldiers are heartless dicks who can’t think for themselves and the chief samurai/leader of the dummy town tells his daughter that their job is to make everyone follow the rules. I’ve seen those character tropes before and I’m getting quite tired of them.

Bu overall this was a cool start, I’m still confused about a lot of things but I’m sure they will explain things later. It was cool but not the best thing ever, so you won’t see me running around shouting “5/7 BEST ANIMU EVER!”
Anyway, I’m just hoping this show won’t turn into a …

Train wreckBlack-Guy-Meme-Face-Are-You-Serious-14GOT IT?
BECAUSE THERE’S SOME MOTHER FREAKING TRAINS!

SO TRAIN WRECK!

Will I watch this ?:  Yup
Will I review this?: Yup again

Attack on Titan comparaisons count: II .
I’m quite proud of myself on this one… I could have made a lot more comparaisons, I did not even mention Eren Jaeger even if I wanted to…
Oh wait…
I just did it right?
Dammit…

8 thoughts on “Koutetsujou no Kabaneri Episode 1: [Frightened Corpse][First Impressions]

  1. My impression is simply that the protagonist is pissed off at the situation and how it turns people into rabid dogs towards each other, and also that it’s pretty obvious that the samurai chaste is probably using this as an excuse to just be a dick to people in general. As they said, for example, they’re supposed to quarantine people suspected of infection – which is reasonable – but they just went for killing that guy immediately instead. Turns out he wasn’t really infected – the zombies have steel hearts and can’t be killed by simple bullets. People realized he wasn’t infected as soon as they saw him dead from just the shots.

    Which also leads to what the protagonist is doing. I thought that was made pretty clear but basically nothing of what they currently have is really effective against these mofos. Because of the steel heart (which is probably also the only way to kill them). So he’s developing a weapon that has enough firepower to actually KILL a Kagane by piercing its heart, something that no one else had managed to do. In general his anger isn’t at the fact that they’re wary of infected people, it’s at the fact that people is superstitious about this (they consider it a curse, whereas he’s pretty sure it’s just a weird biological virus) and therefore loses all reason and ends up doing more harm than good. They’re abandoning their fellow humans in the sense that they’re not even trying to research whether there is a cure, or develop a weapon to kill the Kagane. Turns out he also studied a method to prevent transformation, and it wasn’t that hard. It’s just that people is going for the “shoot first, think later” approach out of terror. Lots of people could probably be saved either by his choking approach or simply by amputating the bitten limb, but no one has ever even bothered to try.

    1. Thank you very much for enlightening me 🙂
      I’m still surprised that humanity is that dumb though. Even if it’s only been 10 years since the apparition of the corpses I’m surprised that no one thought of Ikoma’s technique to stop the virus from spreading to the brain. Same with the weapons, I refuse to think that the main guy is the only that could have think of this weapon. I thought that in this situation, the main concern of people would be to develop a effective weapon to defend themselves.
      So there might actually be some sort of conspiration behind all this since the political system, including the samurai gang and that weird priest organisation, look quite corrupted to me.

      1. We don’t know what their technological level was to begin with when the zombies attacked. Anyway yeah, it’s not fully realistic of course, but after all it seems to draw heavily inspiration from Edo Japan – when there was a chaste of samurai and a shogun ruling the country and keeping it forcefully backwards while the world outside progressed into the Industrial Revolution. So if you see it that way the point is probably that a small minority of people who take advantage of the current situation (however shortsighted that might be) prevent change.

        1. Considering it beeing Edo Japan and especially it beeing an asian country were superstition are everywhere even nowadays, they were probably thinking of it not beeing an illness but a curse from the gods or something along the line. Even outside with the Industrial Revolution happening, surgery and all sorts of medicine wasn’t common yet. Besides we don’t know how much education is possible with all the “end of the world” stuff happening

  2. My guess is pretty much the same as ^ . People have options but don’t use them because they are too afraid of the unknown and it would be too much of a bother if something goes wrong, which is definitely as possibility seeing how they managed to have those monsters enter like that, including the fact that their prisons are made of wood to safe resources so they would probably break with such a monster inside.
    Also I think he explained themself that if you try to casually shoot them, the bullets might reflect and kill yourself since their heardcage is similar too steel, hence the steelplate behind the printed heart which he used for testing his weapon. Not everyone is as awesome as our badass loli and can kick off their heads.
    I can understand his anger at those people for not trying to look for a solution which would sooner or later lead to humanity stopping to exist.
    Since he believed that it is not a curse and those kabane having lost their sense of logic more or less, he came up with choking so it will not reach his brain and having a battle against time in hope his body reacts fast enough to get rid of the virus, or at least beeing able to surpress it somehow. People are stupid when in panic or their life is in danger.. especially in the early years where medicine is not a really common thing. Cutting their limbs would probably let them bleed to death.
    Hating humans for their inhuman ways + abandoning research and wishing to safe humanity by having at least a weapon to protect against monsters/failures are different things.

    But damn why can’t they let down the bridge AFTER checking if there are any monsters first (maybe even build a station outside of the city itself) and then let them in like they did with the first train.. oh well.. plot convenience strikes again

    I hope everything i wrote made sense because i tend to jump now and then with my thoughts which leads to me trailing off slightly LoL

    1. Btw with all the AoT reference..
      Same Studio: Wit Studio
      Music: Hiroyuki Sawano
      Same director: Tetsuro Araki

      So it is no wonder both animes are so similar to each other

    2. I also think that 10 years is actually a rather short time when you have to adapt to such huge situation. Plus giving the fact that their ressources are rather limited like you stated above, it’s quite natural that their defensive strategy would suck. And their sort of ethnocentrism, only caring about their station and their willingness of not changing can indeed be linked to the Edo Period.

      Well, actually, I think the show is more linked to the end of the Edo period and of the Tokugawa Shogunate when Japan was kind of forced to open to the rest of the world ( with Perry’s arrival). So it’s the end of Japan isolationism, development of new technologies, meeting with different people, and end of the samurais, and I think we might find those events in the anime. Maybe… Those are pure suppositions from me.

      AND MAYBE! MAYBE! The stations are actually representing the trading gates that Japan opened, only at specific places and those gates being the only ports where authorized ships can trade with Japan. So they are signifying Japan enclosure from the rest of the world
      However, I think the railroad and train technology was actually brought to Japan by the Americans, as a gift to show them ” hey look, trade with us, and you’ll have trains”. Well, they actually forced them but anyway. So they got that train stuff after they were forced to open themselves to the rest of the world.

      About that bridge stuff, you’re right, plot convenience again. I did not want to scream to much about it but it left me quite speechless. Those guards are like the storm troopers of the Animu. You can’t be more dumb…
      And don’t worry about it, you made sense to me, so if I can understand you, I think most people will be able to 🙂

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