The bubble is usually pretty crowded around this part of a season, especially one with a schedule as packed as this one. When a show is a popular as Koutetsujou no Kabaneri, there’s always a little extra temptation to look past the rough edges a bit more than usual – make allowances and try and keep the series on the schedule. But I’ve learned that road is fraught with danger, and I try to avoid walking it these days.
Koutetsujou no Kabaneri has rough edges aplenty, but it certainly has a lot to recommend it (and not just that it airs on a slow day). The budget clearly slipped considerably this week but the show is still one of the best-looking on the air – not only nicely animated but featuring excellent cinematography and direction. And it’s hybridized monster-movie premise holds a measure of interest, curiosity on what direction it will take if nothing else.
However, the truth of it this series is pretty dumb. Dumb can work in horror-thrillers if they have a good sense of humor and no sense of self-importance, and we’re right on the edge of that being the case here. The dialogue ranges from cheesy to awful, and Mumei is a nightmare mashup of most of the annoying character cliches out there. But there is a genuine tension in the air, and I quite like the whole idea of an armored train winding its way through a forest of zombies protected only by two vampires. I mean, sure – I’m game. But what was with that guy’s random English in the middle of the episode?
We’ll see. I can afford to carry Koutetsujou no Kabaneri for another week or two, and it does offer some of the best-looking action of the season. I want to like it and I don’t dislike it, so there’s still room for hope if not necessarily expectation.