Anime Review: Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress Episode 1

Friday, April 8th, 2016

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Disclaimer: This article will attempt to stay away from spoilers, but no promises so read at your own risk.

Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress

Amazon Prime has aired the first episode of Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress which is an original anime directed by Tetsurō Araki. I must say this show took me by surprise but I’m getting ahead of my self. Let’s begin with the first episode, “Frightened Corpse”.

Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress

In the opening scene we are thrown into a battle between humans and vampire-zombie creatures called Kabane on a high speeding train. Kabaneri wastes no time getting into the action as we are shown just how powerful and scary these monsters are.  As a human gets bit we find out that this is how the Kabane virus is transmitted and soldiers come equipped with a bomb to press up against their heart in order to off themselves if necessary. I felt truly invested in this scene as you saw the soldier hesitate to commit suicide, whispering the words, “mother” before he pulled the string.

Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress

After the battle we are introduced to the main protagonist, Ikoma, an inventor who is secretly engineering a device to take out the Kabane. We find out early on just the type of protagonist we’re in for as he puts his life on the line to save a stranger who was thought to have been bitten. This is all being viewed by Mumei, another character who seems to have some really awesome skills. Ikoma is thrown in jail and all hell breaks lose in the city.

Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress

The city is surrounded by a wall that is supposed to separate the town from the Kabane, but the hijacked train gets by the guards and the infected reach the populace. Ikoma takes this as his time to shine and escapes his cell to test out his invention. He cuts his arm open to lure the blood-lusting Kabane into a trap. The infected calls his bluff and gets the drop on Ikoma. The fight scene is quick and powerful as the inventor’s “piercing machine” kills the monster. After a victory celebration, Ikoma realizes he’s been bitten. He snaps into action and stop the virus before reaching his brain.

Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress

I enjoyed this first episode as my only initial problem was solved quite quickly. When Ikoma was first introduced he didn’t seem like a strong noble character. As the episode concluded his true colors showed as well as his motivation for pushing forward. He is a warrior and refuses to give up and I cannot wait to see what he is truly capable of.

I loved the music by Hiroyuki Sawano who is notable for his compositions for Xenoblade Chronicles X and Guilty Crown. His musical style was incredibly immersive making the action scenes just that more intense. The anime takes a lot of cues from Attack on Titan, with the wall surrounding the city, but Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress creates an enemy a little more manageable than a titan who stands 5 stories tall. And just like Tetsurō Araki earlier anime, I am completed invested in the plot and characters. I want to know what happens with the menace of the Kabaneri and I hope that this anime holds up throughout the first season.

Review Score
Episode 1: Frightened Corpse