This summer I went to visit some relatives and I ended up watching Koutetsujou no Kabaneri with my two cousins 🙂
I started watching this anime with only knowing that it has been called Attack on Titan rip off. I did not think too much about this when I watched the anime. However, I can already say now that yes, Koutetsujou no Kabaneri does have elements and characteristics that can also be found in Shingeki no kyojin, but I would not call it a total rip off.
Just some small info about the anime before I go into the review:
English name: Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress
Genres: Action, drama, fantasy and horror
Rating: R – 17+ (violence & profanity)
Koutetsujou no Kabaneri was a hyped anime for this summer, which received mixed reactions. Some liked it while other hated it or felt let down by the anime. I personally, and my cousins (I know at least one of them did), enjoyed watching it. One episode felt like it only lasted for 10 minutts, which is usually a good sign. Nevertheless, that does not mean I liked everything about the anime. There were plot holes and the story and the characters could have been explored, explained and developed better, but I have to say that overall I did enjoy the anime.
We can all agree that the story itself is not a total original one. However, the are elements that makes the anime stand out. Like, there are not many zombie anime out there as well that the story happen mainly on a gigantic steampunk train.
The story is quite straightforward with trying to survive and if there is a kaberi attack, defend the train/city and the people. However, there is more than meets the eye (of course). Though I have to say, weather it is a bad or good thing, that you can quickly guess what what it is (or approximately what it is). The anime simply lacks depth, specially when it comes to the kabane. So much could have been explained or done better when it comes to these zombie eating people.
The characters in the anime contains both typical ones and other that stands out a little more. For example we have one of the main characters, Ikoma, who in many ways are like Eren. The typical ones. He is a guy who does not have a lot of power, but is strong willed and wants to save the world. Then we have another main character, Mumei, who surprisingly plays a big role in the anime later on. You could compare her to Mikasa, but I find Mumei more likable, in the sense that she is basically a tsundere and more open than what Mikasa is. So she is ones of those that stands out more. Then I want to mention a support character, Ayame. In a way, you could compare her to Armin. Both want to protect their friends/citizens yet hold little power and can not do much but hold great speeches. I would really like to see Ayame being more in action. Again, a typical character.
There is also many support characters in the anime, some play a little bigger role than others, but usually they don’t really matter than much, which is a shame.
I find the animation very well done, and yes there is some blood/gore scene that might not suit every viewer out there, so beware of the age rating. Otherwise, I also find the opening song very fitting and epic. The ending song was also good, but gets a little overshadowed by the opening.
One thing I really did like about this anime is that after watching these 12 episodes, you do not need to beg for a season 2. It does not end in a cliffhanger! Of course you could ask for a second season to explore what happens after the first season is over or take us back to the past with how the virus of kabane started and so on, but my point is that the story is basically finished after 12 episodes.
So overall, I personally enjoyed the anime. I am the type of person that does not think much when I watch an anime (or a movie), though I do notice details and might come with a comment or two. But it is really after finishing watching the anime that I will start to question things that happened or stuff I did not understand (and so on). Even though the are negative reviews out there, saying they could not watch more than a few episodes and so on, I did not have that problem at all. Of course I was not satisfied with everything when I watched the anime, particularity the last few episodes (I did not really like how everything unfolded and there was not much depth in some characters action) but it did not make me wanna drop the anime at all!
So do I recommend the anime for others? Yes. If you really like Attack on Titan or enjoyed that anime, this is definitive something for you. I also thing that as long as you have an open mind and accept that yes there are some plot holes (specially when it comes to the kabane), and tries not to let it bother you too much and do not analyze everything, this anime will turn out enjoyable 🙂