Many are quick to insist Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress is nothing more than a rip off of Attack On Titan. This is a wrong assumption as Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress has much to offer any anime fan looking for a series filled with action and violence.
The world is overrun with Kabane, infected humans with an appetite for flesh. While the last of humanity has retreated into fortress-like stations connected by armored trains, some remain as hopeful as Ikoma. Servicing the trains for a living, Ikoma uses his spare time to build a weapon that could defeat the Kabane. Unapologetically optimistic, he eagerly awaits the day when he can test it. When a train is hijacked by the Kabane, he may finally get his chance. But an unexpected turn of events puts him in a situation that will test not only his weapon but his own humanity.
The comparisons to Attack on Titan are only true when looking at the very basic comparison of the two series. Both hold a steampunk aspect in a world which appears to be post-apocalyptic as surviving humans work to fight off a large army of death. Otherwise, each show provides unique elements to help them stand out. Attack on Titan is a mixture of giants and Spider-Man while Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress has trains and zombies. Each definitely brings something of interest to their presentation.
As with any series with zombies, a lot of human drama is hidden under the layers of violence and gore. The character development of Ikoma and Mumei helps to drive the story forward. Ikoma with his efforts to invent ways to save humans while at the same time dealing with his transformation into a Kabaneri helps to make him a very admirable anime protagonist. Mumei meanwhile is the type of character who seems to steal whatever scene she is in.
It’s actually surprising when you realize Wit Studios, who did the animation for Attack on Titan did Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress. The art styles are totally different as Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress isn’t afraid to explore a wider color pallet with the visuals on display. A lot more blues and purples are used to add to give the series a deep mysterious atmosphere.
The extras on the release are very limited so instead let’s focus on the epic music which helps to drive this series on. The opening theme “Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress” has an incredible building strength to it to prime the audience for the action they are about to experience. Meanwhile, the ending theme “ninelie” has a very melancholy feel to reflect on all drama after the episodes end. It’s so good, you should add the entire soundtrack to your playlists for future road trips.
Don’t believe the negative criticism as Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress is much more than a knock off series. It has a lot of great characters, intense action, and dynamic visuals to make it stand on its own. Check out the series now as Netflix will be streaming the movie soon.
Kabanari of The Iron Fortress is available from Funimation.