Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress surprised me. With an interesting art style, that flows between a modern polished look in the anime. Then going for an older look from the 80′ and 90’s that you’d see in high production pieces. There are also moments where it the character has been drawn, instead of being animated. There are fine details in the facial structure and some effect that look like the character is doll-like. Which is really beautiful and is done not only with the female characters. You see it here in the ending theme as well. In the show, it is done to show a change in the angle of the shot. You get a brief view from that character’s point of view. The process is developed by WIT Studio. Though I’ve noticed the same stylizing be Production I.G. who is one the studios who helped in production. There’s a great article on it from Crunchyroll.
Though this isn’t the only things that you notice in the anime. There’s the music and characters themselves.
About two weeks ago, while searching for information on the new Berserk series. I came across this show. When I saw the the artwork for it. It dinged in my head that dude in the center must be an important character. So this might be one of those “I’ll be the hero” shows. Which is great about giving you the hero’s thoughts and ideals. Giving you the viewer a chance to see their failings either as a person or story wise. At the same time, it may not be giving the background characters time and space to grow along with the hero. Definitely not the case with this anime as your multiple heroes evolve.
Speaking of these multiple heroes. It is how they came into their heroism which kept me watching. With one of the lead characters, Ikoma, it is over the entirety of the anime that this happens. Though like the train that him and the others occupy, it has its starts and stops. For me this made him seem more palatable. Though to call him palatable is wrong, this would make one think of Shinji Ikari. Of how he was written as a”tool”type of hero. That is putting it lightly. Though it seemed as if the moments where he was “the hero” in a sense. It was done in a way that made him seem tolerable or to help the view digest all the action and violence that was happening. That we as the viewer would see him do something about the things around him and attempt to save those around him. Yet not in a personal manner, as if the desire to be heroic was an internal driving force. Instead we see it as more of an external force. Or that he was just ordered to do so.
With Ikoma, it is his personal conviction that motivates him. Not only in being heroic; yet in how he stands up to various other people in the series. There are moments where you notice that even when he is fighting for something or against someone. He does it due to his own reasons. There are external reasons as well, such as surviving and not being killed either by the iron-zombie outside. As well as not being killed by the people who distrust him, who depend on him for survival. Yet it is his will to overcome, that permeates his actions. They lend a hand to his development into a hero or at the least acting in a heroic manner.
An that is something you’ll notice with the other characters as well. That as they progress into their personal heroic roles, they are also acting in a heroic manner. To overcome something or someone. Now it is not a smooth transition for some of the other characters. For another character Ayame. She is changing into the hero and leader at the same time. The show does this in an interesting way that would reflect some of the environment in the anime, where it is “might is right”. Her actions and motivation stops and sputters along. Though in her personal quests to help those around her. She gains the support to lead and does things in her own heroic fashion. Taking risks to save Ikoma and the others is how that is shown. An the momentum for that is guided along with the hopes and heroism of the whole group.
Another force of momentum in the series is the music. With the opening being this uplifting lyrical voice that states, ” I will remember, that day”. Starting out like a train that is about to leave from a station. It slowly builds on it moving forward like the song. Then it gets moving, picking up speed. When the song is moving at full speed, you now hear the lyrical sounding vocals coming together with a choir. I have to say it, this will get you pumped up to want to ride into the episode. ( Okay, I will stop with train puns.) The opening song is preformed by Egoist. They’ve done songs for other anime as well. Such as Psycho-Pass and Guilty Crown. The ending theme is smooth. Bittersweet vocals along with a steady beat. It reminds me of leaving slowly from something, then building up. Perhaps like a train, haha.
Overall Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress is worth the watch. So if you find yourself looking for some anime to watch give this a go.