Time for Kabaneri’s weekly checkup! So far this series has been a little bit wobbly, only stabilizing in sequences of intense action and drama. Let’s hope this week proved me wrong.
The introduction to this episode captures the majority of the show’s weak points in one fell swoop. Ikoma’s presentation of his new technology is fine and it needed to happen, but the scenes with Mumei were just ick. First of all, the slice of life cheeriness broken by a random fight feels entirely pointless. Mumei’s extra violent reaction is unnecessary. Not to mention, Ayame comes in and thanks Mumei for her actions even though she is supposed to be against excessively violent acts. Between the cliche statements and general bad writting (you are the protector blah blah blah), as well as Mumei’s ultra tsundere reaction, the entire atmosphere and feeling of the show is lost. Of course, that lasts for about 5 seconds before there is some altercation that calls for more action sequences. Honestly, this scene could have been shown in so many different ways that could have expressed the character emotions and themes. There are a ton of ways to set up a call for action, this is a weak one.
The next part of the episode contains a considerable amount of character building for Mumei. I stick to my statement about the delivery of the “Mumei the protector” could have been done better, but now it makes sense in the context of the series. Mumei’s character presents an interesting contrast: value of your own interests vs commitment and duty to another. Mumei is, more or less, caught in the middle of these two decisions. We know from her conversation about adopting Ikoma that she has a master-esk figure. While waiting to save the people within the next city, Mumei finds a previous “associate” of her master (we shall call him “the ear”), who brings to attention Mumei’s growing humanity. Mumei has been hanging out with children, one of the most, of not the most, moral groups on the train. The ear accuses her of becoming weak, she lost a short battle against him. This awakens Mumei’s doubt, and brings to the front of her mind that she has been acting too “weak”. Her self-conscience goes through the roof, and she then feels the need to cut off her empathy and regain her brutal persona. The scene with the dead dog really drives this point home. By losing herself in conflict, Mumei drives other people away from her, and breaks the connections she has built from both sides of the contrast. In other words, Mumei is failing to know herself, or figure herself out.Of course the only person who is capable of understanding her, sympathizing with her, would be Ikoma.
The rest of this episode offers some interesting little bits, but noting big to chew on. Here is a short list of everything:
- Ikoma is beginning to accept his condition. He is finally able to cast aside the bulk of his fear of the Kabane, and now focuses on saving humans.
- Mumei continues to lose her ability to sense her physical limit. I would attribute this to her insecurity over being strong. Mumei is unable to see her insecurity, and instead blames her weakness on her unmovable duty.
- Ikoma is pretty typical as far as male, justice-loving protagonists go. He has the same voice as Ushio from Ushio and Tora, who is more or less the same character.
- The people on the ship have accepted the roles of the Kabaneri to the function of the group. They don’t quite trust them fully (reasonable doubt), but they do let the Kabaneri have a voice within the community.
- The giant glob of Kabane forms the “black ghost” or whatever. It reminds me of World War Z
I hope you enjoyed my writings this week on Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress! Stay tuned for next week and happy anime hunting!