“Prayer Offer”

「捧げる祈り」 (Sasageru Inori)

Vampires, Not Zombies:

I had Koutetsujou no Kabaneri pinned as a zombie thriller, but perhaps vampire thriller would have been more accurate? I think we can still say both – clearly the kabane are the zombies, and the kabaneri are the vampires. After ending on Mumei’s reveal last episode, I was pretty sure what direction they were going with this; the broad strokes were easy enough to predict. You’ve got a train full of paranoid civilians with two passengers with kabane powers/tendencies. They may have saved them, and already proved their worth, but that wasn’t going to be enough to quell the backlash. It’s interesting to compare the different reactions from each of the principal characters: Mumei is confident in herself and her abilities and doesn’t fear the judgement, likely because she’s used to it; Ikoma partially blames himself, thinking back to his sister, and doesn’t mind being locked away from the others; Kurusu continues to represent the common people with his passion for justice; while Ayame has to take a stand, coming between the two sides to maintain peace. Funnily enough, it was Ayame who impressed me the most this week. As great as her design is, I wasn’t in love with her scenes in the previous two episodes, but here she took a stand, stabbing Ikoma for the naysayers to see, proving that he isn’t the monster they think he is. It was a bold move, showing she’s more hardened than we were led to believe, likely because of the recent passing of her father.

Sadly, it seems the kabaneri do have monster-like tendencies. They’re not full-on man-eating zombies; instead, they feed on blood. It’s not clear yet if them biting someone turns them into a kabaneri, but the final minutes of the episode show that they’re not as innocent as they may appear. It seems Mumei has experienced this antagonism a fair bit, because she doesn’t seem offended when people think ill of her or react to her asking for their blood. I do think she could make her a life a whole lot easier by not trying to be the monster that they think she is, but that seems to be part of her character. As for Ikoma, he goes full vampire and attacks Ayame in the closing scene, which I imagine will be interrupted next episode. Unless she too becomes a kabaneri?

Maintaining Quality:

I enjoyed this episode just about as much as the previous two, but I would be lying if I said it had the same visceral impact. As many predicted, the production quality simply can’t stay at that level (and what a level it is – when Kabaneri is at its finest, it looks stunning). Thankfully, the directing is still strong, and the more important moments retain their polish. I especially liked the flashback sequences between Ikoma and his sister, that gave the impression they were drawn in coloured pencils. And there was also the standout moment with Mumei announcing her hunger for blood. So while we’re only three episodes in, I’m not too worried about the future of Kabaneri’s art and direction. It may not return to the same quality as the first two episodes, but you never know, we could be in for a shock. But even if it doesn’t, it’s still one of the best looking shows this season. I think you’d have to be blind to ignore that.

Overview – What’s Next?:

Watching characters travelling for half the episode and then standing around for the second half shouldn’t make for the most exciting watch, but Kabaneri’s strengths still make it an enjoyable thrill ride. I like the pace we’ve established, and that exposition is delivered naturally – through conversation rather than narration or obvious monologuing. It may be pegged as a silly action-fest, but even in a season as good as this, it still understands the core principles of successful storytelling better than most other shows. It’s good at what it’s doing, and that’s why it’s the early favourite for many this spring. It’s still at the top of my list.


    1. That’s what it looked like. She seemed to enjoy the company of the children.

      One scary thought, however, is that since the baby may die anyway, she may choose to feed on the baby’s blood…

  1. I guess if their bodies are basically dead, Kabaneri can’t naturally replenish their own blood supply and thus have to feed? Ikoma’s basically been gushing the stuff since episode 1, so I’m a bit surprised this didn’t happen earlier. XD

    1. Well Ikoma did say that they’re attracted to blood back in the 1st ep. (when he cut himself lured one Kabane to his hut to act as a guinea pig for his AP nail gun)

      1. Yeah, this anime reminds me of Princess Mononoke – a lot of the character designs/setting, spliced with the cowardice and paranoia of the people from Attack on Titan, paired with the zombies from Gungrave, and Ikoma wearing Tetsuo’s red cape/rag.

        Bamboo Blade Cat
      2. Resemblance to Mononoke is to be expected, as both animes set in a pseudo-medieval Japan setting. That being said, Mumei does resemble Mononoke due to her red helmet resemble Mononoke’s face paint.

  2. So Mumei still retains some semblance of human conscious even with her bloodlust? I honestly can’t understand when she is being her true self and when she isn’t, because if she does retain some human conscious, she should try to resist her bloodlust, but here she didn’t.
    Either they are times when the virus suddenly takes over her mind completely and she can’t shake it off easily, which wouldn’t make any sense as she clearly felt horrified when realizing Shino was pregnant, which means she was self-aware at the time, or there is more to the kabaneri phenomenon (or to her) than what was shone so far.
    I’m also wondering about her brother. She keeps referencing him, so he must be somehow important to the story.

    1. Could it be that she really doesn’t care what other think about her need for blood? I think she is just so free spirited and does whatever she needs to do. Also wherever she came from could have know what she is and didn’t bat an eye to her need for blood (I’m thinking her transformation into Kabaneri is not as rough and random like Ikoma’s but through carefully controlled procedure.)

      1. @yoloalchemist:

        The specialized gear and training wasn’t clue enough? Pretty obvious to me that Mumei is a member of some kind of secret national Kabaneri sentai team, the rest of whom we’ve seen in the OP. That’s why she’s so confident that things will be cleared up once they reach the shogunate’s fortress.

    2. Unlike the MC, Mumei fully embrace the fact that she is no longer human, and, as part of that package, require blood for substance. So for her it is like “I am hungry, gimme some food”

      1. If that’s simply the case, then she’s not facing reality, that humans will never consider becoming food sources for the kabaneri if it would mean they could possibly be infected in return. Therefore I believe there’s something else to it.

  3. Sane humans who are half zombies saved us! Let’s kill them/remove them from the train!

    Pregnant woman who is obviously full zombie. Noooo why you kill her ;__;


  4. So it’s vampires vs zombies?

    Or is it that the kabane are indeed vampires while kabaneri are vampires that can control their vampiric urges?

    They were attracted to the smell of blood…

    Velvet Scarlantina
  5. Was this episode supposed to make me hate Mumei? Because if so they did an excellent job. I mean sure we don’t know the full details of her origins but the past few episodes haven’t shown her as particularly psychotic. Just kind of a “I do what I want attitude”. Now for no real reason she beats ass on Ikouma. If your telling me it’s because he wanted to leave it’s not like that’s going to change his mind. She also decides to just not tell him AT ALL about needing blood in order to survive as a kanbaneri. Like that won’t obviously be an issue later right?!! She could have just mentioned it when they were alone for pete’s sake. And then nonchalantly asks people are already clearly afraid of her for blood. I mean jesus. Even if someone is going to tell me she’s a character that just doesn’t care what other people think they still NEED to ride the train in order to make it to their destination. Yet she continuously tries to coax them into fighting her MULTIPLE times when I know she’s smart enough to know why that’s a bad idea. Unless she intended to force them afterwards to take her on the train if they resisted which is probably worse.

    Also is this anime ever going to be consistent with the whole zombie transformation thing? I mean we know for a fact these people can turn within the span of minutes from just ONE measly bite. Why did it take an entire day for the pregnant woman to change? I mean if the anime even tried once to explain it’s rules I wouldn’t have these questions. I get that it’s supposed to be a mystery right now how the virus/curse/whatever the fuck it is works but I know for a fact there will be an exposition dump of info about why the Kanabe exist, how they work etc. so I guess I personally just prefer that to be more spread out.

    Oh and bullshit and totally fake cliffhanger of the main character attacking one of the female leads (like in AOT) because he can’t control his power is totally bullshit and fake. I mean when you have characters like her shown so prominently in the opening I fail to see the point of doing a cliffhanger like that so early on.

    As for the whole blood thing I wonder, can’t kabaneri just feed off the blood of regular kabane instead of humans? And do that whole thing like in Trinity Blood where you have vampires that feed off the blood of other vampires? It’s clear bites from kabane do nothing to them so I don’t see how drinking their blood would have any effect either. Does it really have to be live humans blood? I get the feeling that might be the solution later on.

    1. Watch EP1 again.

      EP1 already point out that the virus could have incubation period. The standard procedure for suspected infection is to lock the suspect up for three days to see if he zombify, so it is already established that the virus could stay dormant for about three days.

      Mumei is pretty much the “speak softly and carry a big katana” type of person (aka Haruhi). When she needs/wants something, she will try to ask politely (sometimes)…and then grab that something regardless of your reply. Not the most likable of character, but so far pretty consistent.

    2. People rarely ever act rationally. Even if they tried, something would hit a switch and they would do something to undo all their earlier precautions. Saying that people should do that and that is a stupid argument unless the character in question is rational, patient and highly intelligent.

      Mumei acts like someone who got tired of trying to hide her nature and now acts out of spite. She is provocative as well, showing that she WANTS to kill anyone who sees her as a monster. Her needing the train is probably the only thing that keeps her from immediately slashing their throats. Even in ep1, we could see traces of this personality, though it would not become obvious until ep2 and ep3.

      As far as Zombie Transformations go, it takes up to 3 days to turn into a Kabane (as mentioned in ep1). This means that the virus doesn’t spread at the same speed with everyone. It might be because of place you were bitten at, the attributes of the Kabane doing the biting, the bitten human’s immunity, etc. So it can take from several minutes to two days.

      As for cliffhanger: we only know she will survive, but survival is the least important issue here. She could be saved or she could be fed upon (after what happened in Valvrave, which had some of the same staff and a very similar scene, the chance she gets bitten is not small). She could remain pro-Kabaneri, but she could also start holding a grudge. She could remain human, turn into a Kabane or turn into a Kabaneri. A LOT could happen, and that is the main point of the cliffhanger.

      I’m pretty sure that Kabane won’t do. Their blood is probably diluted or something. Otherwise, Kabane would be eating one another rather than humans.

      1. I couldn’t disagree more. People seem to think in times of post apocalyptic settings there are only a special few that can think about anything rationally. I’m going to have to disagree with that. And if you can site an example of when humanity was on the brink of destruction and how everyone responded then you can use the “realistic” argument. Since that’s never happened though I’m inclined not to believe that. For example if I knew about awesome superpowered lolis that fight to save humanity (from Black Bullet) I’d think that’s pretty fucking rad. Last thing I’d try to do would be to discriminate against them. But I guess I’m just a special snowflake among the literally thousands of people that would likely share the same opinion eh?

        Mumei did not show this side of her in either episode 1 or 2. True she does not care for what people think about her but she never really wanted to intentionally fight them. Yet this episode she goes full antagonist against them and makes her and Ikouma’s situation worse for no real reason. She clearly goes against her promise to stay in the back car because she senses a Kanabe. The fact she does this indicates she at least cared SOMEWHAT about the safety of the passengers because if she truly didn’t give a shit she wouldn’t have done anything. Yet when she comes out she doesn’t even warn the people that there MIGHT be a kanabe among the people left (which is kind of surprising considering they likely would have done checks on everyone by now but fuck being consistent I guess).

        There is absolutely nothing confirmed the 3 day theory as far the anime has shown. At this point one day has been the max that it has taken. For all we know the 3 day thing is just some arbitrary rule they made up because you know “fear” logic. I mean why would they even need to confine people? If you have people already striping naked when checking I doubt that they will be able to do much to hide a Kanabe bite/mark which from what we’ve seen is very EASY to see. So honestly I don’t trust much of what ANY of these halfwits consider a fact until the anime can convince me otherwise.

        And finally Kanabe aren’t Kabaneri. They are Kanabe that are able to think with human logic. Like many zombie horrors they are for some reason programmed to simply go after other humans and rarely anything else. That being said why would they ever THINK to go after their own kind? They run on pure instinct. The instinct to attack humans. They don’t have the ability to reason with the idea of going after each other for blood because they aren’t programmed to do so. Kabaneri on the other hand DO have the ability to think about such things. I’d appreciate it being at the very least an option that is attempted to be explored since it’s probably the only way the issue could be resolved without some bullshit being involved. It’s not like this would clear them of being seen as monsters either. Seeing them viciously attack their own kind would still likely be horrifying to see.

      2. @leatherhead333
        Nayrael didn’t mention apocalyptic setting specifically, just that people rarely ever act rationally even if doing so is in their best interests. Maybe “rarely ever” is going too far, but there are indeed many, many, many cases of people throughout history shooting themselves on the foot. There are even awards for that:

        I also would advise against saying what we would do in a certain situation when that situation hasn’t happened to us yet. If those lolis you mention were infected with a contagious and incurable disease, I wonder if all of us would be so understanding. It’s not as if people in real life discriminate and marginalize others based on that, is it? Just think of HIV.

        As for the 3 day theory, true, we don’t have enough evidence to suggest it isn’t an arbitrary rule based on flawed data. On the other hand, we also don’t have evidence to suggest the opposite; our PC’s transformation happened in a matter of minutes, but his sister’s in the flashback and the pregnant woman’s in this episode took much longer.

        The moment you can’t be sure of a certain illness’s incubation period (and even today we don’t have 100% accurate predictions), quarantines can make an appearance. In fact, the origin of the concept comes from actual Venetian protocols during the Black Death. So, from the very existence of a quarantine viewers can deduce the reality of different incubation periods without the series needing to spell it letter by letter.

      3. @leatherhead333
        Mumei already beat the crap out of that guy for simply touch her in episode 2, so it is established that she (usually) react with extreme force to any hostility directed at her, and don’t care about the escalation of conflict. In this episode, all of her actions are result from provocative actions from the other party (the samurai guy points a gun at her, the pitchfork and torch civilians, etc).

        (Except the scene where she ‘smell’ the hidden kabane, she does get her priorities right) Her priority seems to be killing zombies, not protecting innocent lives.

        She also forcibly chain the unwilling MC to the moving train without explaining anything to him, so her action of forcibly starting the “training section” is consistent.

        The fact that they have a routine “strip naked and check for wound(s)” inspection, even during emergency zombie outbreak like EP1, is more than enough to proof the “three day” theory. If everyone turns within minutes after zombie-bite, then there’s no need for any inspection at all.

        The MC also said something about the fact that he “does not turn into zombie after three days” in the beginning of this episode. In both instances the “three day rule” was spoken by the MC who studied zombie with the intentions to defeat them, so it isn’t some fear logic.

      4. @Mystic

        Sorry but HIV is a horrible example. HIV patients first of all don’t have superpowers and they aren’t one of the only defense left against the threat trying to wipe out humanity. I don’t doubt that people would discriminate against them for the disease they carry but there are more than enough people smart enough to figure out that killing what basically equals your own army force is dumb as hell. However I will concede to your point on everything else.


        Ikouma didn’t provoke her at all. Yet she still beat the shit out of him for no reason at all. This was before the whole training thing. Also if all she cared about was killing zombies why didn’t she do so the moment they showed up? In previous episodes? It’s clear that when the train was attacked she likely could have taken them out even if she wasn’t equip with all her gear. She obviously did care about having a low profile at that point not just killing zombies so that point is null and void. Now she’s doing the opposite for what reason? Manufactured tension? Probably that.

        Also no the strip naked thing proves absolutely nothing. If someone has a bite mark they would be killed instantly in most cases. This episode is the only one to give proof that it takes roughly 1 DAY for a person to change and no other evidence of any sort has been given. The MC obviously only has theories to work with and nothing concrete. Otherwise he would have known about how the virus/curse not reaching the brain didn’t necessarily stop it. Plus I doubt that he’s ever been allowed observe prisoners considering his reputation as it is. And whos to say these freaked out idiots don’t just murder people afterwards? After all they shot a guy with no bite marks without giving him time in the cell so it’s clear we can’t trust whatever system these people have going.

    3. Historical Human reactions to plagues and other disasters does vary but never bet against how stupid and fearful Humans get because in history they get horribly irrational and paranoid.

      There are a huge number of witch burning down though the centuries sometime because of fear of disease. Also this show is later 1800’s the disease theory is quite new and medical knowledge is much less than now.

      During the Black Plague there were many massacres of Jews into the thousands as Jews were blamed for spreading it.

      Modern day based on one totally fake discredited studies thousands of parents don’t vaccinate their children. The scientific ignorance today is quite bad it gets way worse in the past.

      A three day quarantine and longer times of conversion logically show that conversion can take awhile. Although this is a magical disease it seams to be following the magic type that mimics somewhat natural occurrence because the magic is bound to a natural thing. And diseases can have a wide variation in incubation. The real zombie disease, causes insanity and a desire to bite any animal around is Rabies and once symptoms occur it almost always kills, sound like zombie right? And rabies normally symptoms show up in one to three months but can be as short as one week to as long as a year or more. For fast acting Ebola it hits 2 to 14 days. There are normally rare at the bell curve ends reactions. Probably no one lived more than a day and a half after a bite was noticed in this story so a 3 day quarantine makes sense.
      Of course in this story infection will move at the speed of the plot, most very rapidly but those who need it to linger for hours or a day will do so and seam real to me.

      It ok to hate Mumei she has a personalty type that some people will hate, and like what foods people like or hate I see it as what makes humans different. Now her attitude is not uncommon amongst the gifted, many will be diva’s, and because they are gifted it will be tolerated. Gifted warriors can be diva’s of different types. In WWII ace pilots who had various discipline problems that would have had been locked up if normal soldiers were assigned to a special unit in the Pacific that came to be known as the Black Sheep Squadron. In this story I’m sure the monk with Mumei was in part there to keep her from needing to interact with other people, maybe also supply blood. Now I like Mumei as long as I’m not commanding the group she’s in. Then she becomes a headache I must keep.

  6. Well the zombies have to have a reason to bite but not eat those that they attack. In many zombie stories zombies are like rabies the victim is compelled to bite for the virus to infect. Nice how a virus has the ability to control the victims actions. Rabies the real life zombie disease, even makes those trying to bite enraged strong, and we used to have to kill infected humans or let them suffer a horrible long death confined.
    Here it blood seeking zombies a good way to explain the bite but not eat reaction.

    It real clear now that the shambling of the Kabane is the resting mode as just like Kabaneri they can’t maintain the high speed state that long.

    Game of Thrones has the most traditional zombie the necromancer type raised by evil spell and not actually interested in feeding at all. Game of Thrones also has this newer shamble except in speed mode type of zombie behavior.

    Although clearly having a magic component the Kabane infection sort of working like real infections and having a large variable onset time. Most often supernaturally fast infection but hear the pregnant women dies way slower from it thus the three day possible infection jail rule.

    Really love the drama and love the kid side of Mumei. Defiantly not the all the time overconfident super human personalty found with many of her type in fiction. Now to teach Mumei how to teach and diplomacy. You have to say just a little blood Mumei so they don’t think you have to kill someone to get it.
    Clearly her monk escort had blood providing duty in her travels.

  7. mumei was a bit more bearable to watch this ep but she still doesnt work for me as a character. And yea i agree about the dip in animation quality even tho it was still pretty nice to look at. If anything, i think the pacing and scene construction was a bit iffy but overall not too bad of an ep. We get to learn about the blood lust of the kabaneri and it was nice to see how the people of the train interact with each other

  8. Perhaps Mumei knew Ikoma may bite Ayame at the end hence the reason why she left him with the mob. That way her goons like the samurai would think differently if Ayame turns into one of them. Her insurance to get what she wants at the end.

    1. Caught up with this show and I love it. Such interesting and likable characters, Mumei steals every moment she’s in and I enjoy how dedicated Ikoma is to fighting the Kabane. Even the princess is starting to growing on, the girl has some gumption. Her bodyguard is a butt though, really needs to tone it down a little.

  9. It’s important to remember that the vampire myth is a lot more complicated that Bram Stocker’s Dracula. Before that book the vampire myth much more resembled Kabane than some Eastern European aristocrat.

    I think Mumei’s behavior has more to do with her class standing. She is, as far as I can tell, part of the nobility and is pretty insulated from the ordinary people. She has always been able to do and say whatever she wants. The fact that being a kabaneri means she can’t be physically defeated by any single human has probably made her more independent and less willing to consider the opinions and feelings of others.

    1. Yes, I agree that’s most likely the reason behind Mumei’s behaviour.

      It’s as if people forget her appearance in EP1. She and her partner didn’t care much about the attack on the train, were treated as VIPs the moment the feudal lord reached them and she keeps talking about this “brother” who I guess is a person close to the Shogun or the Shogun himself.

      Also, she’s a superpowered teenager in a world in which only people like herself seem to be able to crush zombies like flies. Young, spoiled, used to classism and to everyone else bending to her whims, and far stronger than the most fearsome bushi. From her point of view, she’s under no obligation to explain herself. She’s “strong” and the others are “weak”, using her own words.

  10. welp, that’s one obvious non-cliffhanger right there. (the preview for next episode’s on Youtube already)

    Anyway, I’d like to think that Mumei’s more of a spoiled teen that had proper combat training and some disciplinary training because she’s not bothering to say anything until it was required to explain (aka. too late for damage control). Good luck to whoever is going to ‘look after’ her in the future, Ikumo – hur hur.

    1. It only the modern Zombie movies that make people think Zombie first with these creatures. But traditional ghouls where demons and more modern version like in Dungeons and Dragons are still undead. This stories creatures seam half alive
      Traditional Zombie stories the Zombies are created by voodoo or a Necromancer from the dead. Voodoo Zombies are particularly very hard to stop basically a flesh golem most attacks do nothing to em, best bet is counter spell or something that can hack em apart but they are resistant to that but not immune, fire will do it but they will be flaming walking Zombie for quite awhile chasing you, unless you use a real fuel firing flamethrower burning to charcoal will do it like with real flamethrowers. Both Ghouls and Zombies in tradition don’t spread by biting or killing victims. It Vampires and Wear creatures that spread by biting. And the lessor Vampires of folk lore sort of resemble the modern Zombie movie creature. Traditional Vampire stories did have a class system in the folk lore the Noble Vampires resembling the modern civilized human myth and the more common lessor vampires quite ghoul or this story Zombie like at times.


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