Through Blood and Iron
Disclaimer, this review will have spoilers for the Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress series. Consider yourself warned.
For some time now, people have been waiting (not very patiently) for Studio Wit to produce a new season of Attack on Titan. Instead, they gave us Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress. From the previews, it seemed like a clone of Attack on Titan. I am happy to say (now that it has ended), it was anything but a simply clone. Prior to diving into review, I will say this; I can only hope that there will be more.
I want to start by quickly point out the differences between the two. Attack on Titan has the tendency to kill off characters frequently and in a way that is horrific (usually). Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress did manage to kill off people as well but not nearly to the extent and in the same excess as it’s predecessor. So when Ikoma’s best friend died, it was pretty monumental. Because we didn’t provide the same emotional distance from everyone as we did with Attack on Titan, it had that stronger impact and it works for this show.
The setting of this series was certainly eye catching when it was first announced. Who wouldn’t love the concept of iron zombies in a industrial revolution era which had the effect of making this show steampunk? No one.
The only downside to this season is that we never received any answers as to why the outbreak occurred or any further and relevant details about it. This isn’t entirely to the shows detriment as they’re a mysterious nature that remains, but you do just have to accept the state of things as they are. I guess it just would have been nice to have some context. Similar to how Seraph of the End introduced its plot. Again though, it isn’t the end of the world (hah get it?).
Let’s dive into what has made this show a resounding success. To start off, the the characters all seem to be very flawed and believable. Each of them had key part to play in the awful events that happen to crew of the Kotetsujo. The very first thing that tipped me off that this show was not to be taken lightly (besides the obvious amounts of death) was when the main character was bitten. Watching him go through the painful process of containing the virus was a key indicator that they all the characters will have to go through great lengths to survive in this world. Although this intensity is pretty typical with stories involving zombies, it doesn’t mean that it wasn’t pleasant for Kabaneri to maintain this throughout the story.
As for the characters, I always love a show with a strong female cast. Each of the characters are incredibly strong in their own way. Between witnessing Mumei cutting down zombies while flying through the air, Ayame’s direction and leadership, to Yukina’s kickass engineer skills, they were all stellar. It portrayed each of them fairly.
The last aspect I want to touch on is the production quality, primarily the animation. There were a lot of moments that reminded of old Ghibli animation and his famed works. The backdrops of this series were magnificent. The budget was probably significantly higher with this series and it clearly shows. The shading and coloring mixed with the occasional CG blended well. There were hardly any moments where I felt as though the quality was lackluster.
For me, Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress is certainly something that could keep going on and on, depending on what the writers want to do with it. Right now, it is in the perfect place. It is well paced, visually is great, and has potential for more. But do we actually need it? I’m not so sure. In fact, I think should it remain as is. One season in this perfect and interesting world. Untouched and untainted by long drawn out seasons (like so many shonen or Black Butler that didn’t need a second season). At any rate, whatever happens with Kabaneri is up in the air as of now. It still is a great show and definitely one of the best shows of the spring 2016 season.Tweet