Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress: A repackaging of Attack on Titan

Legal Streaming (Amazon): KABANERI OF THE IRON FORTRESS(Subbed)
MyAnimeList: Koutetsujou no Kabaneri

The 2016 spring anime season is upon us, spanning from April to the end June, and so far one particular series has caught my eye. Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress, or Koutetsujou no Kabaneri in Japanese, is an anime original project created by Wit Studio, best known for their involvement in, you may have guessed it based on the title of this post, the Attack on Titan anime. Kabaneri features the same director and a large chuck of the animation team from Attack on Titan but with a different screenwriter and character designer. Overall, from what we have seen in episode one, the show looks to have taken a lot of influence from A2oT, presenting a similar story and feel. The anime takes place in an industrial era where infectious monsters with a layer of iron around their hearts roam wild. Humanity has created stations linked together by trains to shelter themselves from these powerful creatures. Episode one in itself was exciting, having a fair amount of well-directed action, and a fascinating world where humanity is ruled by fear. I was pleased with what I saw, having no expectation going into episode one (I had heard of the show prior but I decided to watch it on a whim). That being said, I’m now quite skeptical about the future of this series.

My main fear surrounding this anime is that the studio may try too hard to capitalize on the success of Attack on Titan, following the formula to the letter without allowing it to break out on its own. Despite the hype surrounding AoT, the series has major flaws, especially surrounding its characters due to their lack of characterization and how they are handled (i.e. killed off for the sake of being grim). I would hate to see Kabaneri fall into the same hole in an attempt to create an edgy anime series. Studio Wit has the chance to form their own variation of Attack on Titan that improves upon its formula by not only creating a unique, beautiful world but also filling it with interesting, fleshed out characters.

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Main characters Ikoma (on the left) and Mumei (on the right).

The main protagonist, Ikoma, seems to be a familiar rage-filled character with a vendetta against the world’s opposing forces, something we see a lot of in these types of anime. Moving forward in the season, I hope we get the chance to see him grow as a character and become more than something archetypal. The other major lead, Mumei, seems to have an established (and probably tortured) past that has made her into the powerhouse she is now, which is something I’m excited to explore. If they manage to give these two the character arcs they deserve and not kill them off for the sake of plot twists I think Kabaneri has a good chance at being something great.

While I fear Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress has a high chance to implode on itself as it continues, I’m excited to watch this series and see for myself if it can overcome the obstacles. Episode one was quite entertaining and introduced two main protagonists I want to see more of, especially Mumei. On top of that, the show’s art style, reminiscent of 80’s anime, its imperial Japanese Steampunk setting, and overall high production value makes this series something to watch just for the visual appeal alone. I can’t wait to see what next week’s episode brings and I hope it shows signs that I’m fearful for nothing.

 

Curious how Kabaneri and the Iron Fortress turned out? Check out my quick review in Spring 2016 Anime – Review Wrap-Up (Part 1).

Image Source: Official "Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress" Art
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