I am a long time fan of the Syfy Channel news website Blastr and while reading it recently I saw an article about a brand new anime series called ‘Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress’. It sounded interesting and I had not fed my anime hunger in a while so I decided to give it a shot. And I am happy to report that it is a pretty dang good show.
I will be breaking down the series in four bites with some pretty mild spoilers. Let’s do this thang:
#1 Walking Dead meets Vampire Hunter D
The show, which premiered in Japan in April this year and is available of Amazon streaming, is the story of a group of survivors during the industrial revolution who are besieged by undead creatures called “kabane” (corpses). Kabane are bit of a cross between vampires (they drink blood) and zombies (they groan and stumble) and can only be killed by piercing their hearts which are covered by a layer of iron. They are creepy, relentless and vicious. And when you think you have figured them out they pull out a new trick.
To stay safe the survivors live in fortress-like stations and move around in heavily armoured trains called hayajiro. But with an army of bloodthirsty (literally in this case) creatures they are never completely safe. And the virus which created the kabane can be transmitted by a bite so you also have the paranoia and fear of each other aspect to the tale. As expected the show is dark, atmospheric, bloody series that pulls no punches – just how I like my anime. The animation is pretty gorgeous and the opening theme is a rocking good time.
#2 Kick ass characters
With the odds so strongly stacked against humanity their only hope comes in the form of two kabaneri which are half human, half kabane hybrids. They retain their minds but have the strength and agility of the kabane. The first kabaneri is the protagonist Ikoma, an enthusiastic steamsmith who is deadly with a bolt gun. The second is Mumei, a mysterious, outspoken young woman capable of killing multiple kabane single handed with her dual pistols. Watching her mow through these creatures is loads of fun. She has a brother/sister and mentor/trainer relationship with Ikoma which ranges from touching to laugh out loud hilarious.
Also battling the kabane and running the show is the noble and thoughtful Ayame. Her stoic, sword wielding bodyguard Kurusu is a really cool and intriguing character. The other supporting characters also bring some fun to the mix. On the bad guy side the team also face off against some brutal villains of the human variety. You should definitely keep an eye out for them.
#3 Engaging tale
The 12 episodes of the first season are told in a serial format, which each episode flowing into each other. The sword and gun play start from the get go and the plot twists and the turns build up to a fantastic climax. ‘Kabaneri’ is a unique action/horror/drama mash up that works in every respect and is one thriller of a train ride. I really hope it gets a second season.
Rating: ‘Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress’ gets 3.5/4 blood sucking corpses.
So have you checked out ‘Kabaneri’? Or what other anime have you been binging? Feel free to comment below.