And then I posted about Kabaneri twice in a row! Well, I have this episode all ready, so I might as well post it. I have been having a hard time writing about Concrete Revolutio. If you look at the show superficially, there isn’t much, but if you go too deep then you could write a 10 page write up on every episode. 12pt Times New Roman double-spaced – my inbox tomorrow kids!
Anyways, this week Kabaneri brought its very best. Seriously, this episode is probably the best to date, and rivals the greatness of the second episode. I feel like this really does capture the essence of the show.
Since this is so hard to access in chronological order (since there is a lot of skipping around), I am going by themes and sub-stories.
The first half of the episode consisted of a series of short scenes uncovering Mumei’s mysterious past. Mumei can essentially be defined by two events in her past in which we learn two things: where she developed her fear of Kabane, and where she developed her fear of humans. I find that you can argue the events themselves (losing her mother and her friend’s death) either way. Personally, I think that the instance of losing her mother enforces the point her her fear of Kabane much stronger than it does for fear of humans. Though it wasn’t a Kabane that took out her mother, the was fear of Kabane, manifested within a human, was more than enough to scar her. Without the Kabane there, this man would probably have never acted out of line. From this experience the sees what fear, specifically of Kabane, does to otherwise sane and normal human beings. Her other experience (her friends death), gives way to both fears.
First of all: fear of Kabane. Her friends death shows her that once you have been bitten, you are gone, and there is no going back. Second of all: fear of humans (which is linked/somewhat dependent on fear of Kabane). We see a couple of things happen when her friend is bitten by the Kabane. Her comrade swoops in and kills the infected girl with ease, without a single sign of remorse. We can guess that his line of logic falls somewhere along the lines with Kusuru’s “Once you are a Kabane, you are just like every other Kabane”. There is no sign of acknowledgement for this poor girl’s efforts, and the officers instead blame her for being weak. Mumei, who is shocked at her friend’s death, is also blamed for being weak. All her life, at least as far as Kabane are concerned, Mumei has been taught that both humans and Kabane should be avoided and there is plenty of reason to fear them, but showing your fear will make you become weak. With a past like that, it is no wonder that Mumei is a little insecure and twisted.
With her current thoughts of Kabane and humans being fear based, she is unable to accept her weakness, as she fears that it will lead her to death. Above all, Mumei fears becoming a Kabane, since it would mean losing the one thing that allows her to connect with others: her humanity. Instead of accepting her weakness and moving on, as Ikoma has, Mumei obsesses over the notion that she is already strong, and can do everything on her own. I mentioned on last week’s episode that Mumei is having a hard time accepting/knowing herself since she is caught between valuing her own interests vs valuing her duty. Again, Ikoma compliments her in that he possessed what she lacks: confidence in his own(and really their collective) weakness.
Despite Ikoma’s obvious lack of realism (I am referring to the possibility of finding someone like him in real life), there is something about his character that captures a very human struggle, or rather a perfected form of it. Ikoma has had his own fair share of strife in his life, although it didn’t point him anywhere other than his own weakness. With all these signs, and even people pointing towards his weakness, it is no wonder that he was forced to come to terms with his condition. Despite is circumstances, Ikoma hangs on the a sliver of a doubt that he will be able to overcome his weakness one day, and fights for humanity, despite not being fully one with humans. I find this to be the human condition. There is always something about our being that keeps us from being “perfect”. In Ikoma’s case, his body has denied him the ability to be fully human, even if his mind is on track towards perfection of his will (perfection of the human spirit). Mumei is an excellent counterpart to Ikoma because she serves as a constant reminder of what he both strives for and tries to escape from. Ikoma is the kind of person who becomes infuriated over the conditions of other people, regardless of who they are. Ikoma strives towards Mumei’s apparent strength, but also feels the need to protect her weaknesses so she can stand tall when the time comes around.
Mumei has constantly been told that weakness is the end game to her humanity, and that she would come to an end if she were weak. Ikoma convinces her though human compassion that weakness and/or acknowledgement of weakness is the start of growth, not the end. Mumei has never been shown that rebellion works, since she is confined to what is most likely a very orderly and precise training. She has no idea that the battle insider her is not the end of the world if she realized that she is weak. With the help of Ikoma’s simple human nature, Mumei is able to realize that she can rebel. Ikoma benefits from Mumei because he gains more of an understanding to what it means to walk the line between Kabane and Humans.
For the rest of this I want to talk about character developments, especially regarding the supporting cast. For starters, Kusuru (along with much of the ship) seems to have found an happy medium concerning the Kabaneri on board, especially Ikoma. For the most part, the cast can be broken down into three sections: people who have hard/set views on Kabane, people who are willing to accept peaceful beings, and the reminder who are indifferent. Perviously, both Ikoma and Kusuru both belonged to the group that held Kabane as an ultimate evil, which in no way can resemble humans. For reasons regarding cognitive and appetitive ability, Kabaneri have been more closely linked to humans.
Additionally, Ayame has really taken charge as the leader of the “Iron Fortress”. She tends to voice her opinions in a much more proud and powerful manner. Ayame even feels powerful enough to sometimes agree with her opposition, which speaks to her confidence in keeping her position and her ability to continue taking multiple opinions into account.
Now I don’t usually freak out about romance/love-y stuff, but can we talk about THIS:
EXCUSE ME WHILE I SCREAM IN THE CORNER. WHY IS THIS SO CUTE? Oh right, because Mumei and Ikoma play off each other perfectly, are building a genuine relationship, and share something that no one else has.
Well I hope you enjoyed my write up of this week’s episode of Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress! Tune in next time for more anime analysis, and happy anime hunting!