“Inescapable Darkness”

「逃げられぬ闇」 (Nigerarenu Yami)

Mumei and Uncertainty:

Kabaneri continues its epic streak, letting us to witness Mumei’s weaknesses for the first time – allowing her to be less than the perfect anime girl creation she has personified up until now. After the disagreements with my opinions of Mumei’s character last week, I thought perhaps it would be best not to discuss her character in great detail again… except this was the most Mumei-centric episode yet, so I can’t ignore the girl who is front and centre in the current drama.

Thankfully, I can be more positive this week, because Mumei didn’t annoy me, and I wasn’t totally confused by the intentions of her character like in the previous episode. Here, she was more grounded and the decisions she made felt personal, and, more importantly, wrong. She made spur of the moment decisions that could have cost her life, even though she’s proved to be a capable fighter. Still, I’m not too keen on her scenes with Ikoma – I just can’t figure out their relationship. Is she just a tsundere to him? Does she have to kick his face nearly every time they have a conversations? I can’t say I’m fond of their relationship, whatever it may be, so there’s still some things that could be improved. But overall, both characters managed to impress me this time around (while Ayame was left with little to do).

The action was ever sweet, with the extra swarms of kabane and the looming threat that the episode ended off on. Ikoma coming to save Mumei from her hasty decision-making felt sensible, even though it would have annoyed me in most other shows. And there’s also Mumei’s past, and the fact that there’s a mission she has to complete. Her encounter with Enoku, the loyal fighter to her brother, was one of my favourite parts of the episode, because it once again showed Mumei at her most uncertain. Does this confirm that she comes from royal blood? I’m keen to find out what her true intentions are, which is more than I could have said after last week. I’d call that progress!

Overview – What’s Next?:

Apologies for the lateness of the post, but I’ve just had what felt like the busiest weekend of my life. My only time to watch anime is either 6 in the morning or just before midnight. In between I’m usually working or sleeping. In a season as impressive and plentiful as this, it’s a shame I’m only able to truly watch about six shows weekly, but I’m glad Kabaneri is one of them. Even I didn’t have to blog it week-to-week, I’d still have it high on my priority list. While I have a few issues with it, overall it’s still one of the best pure-action anime I’ve watched in several years. You may have to turn off your brain when watching it, but that’s not a bad thing – it knows what type of show it is, and it’s proving ever entertaining and the production isn’t dipping as much as I expected. We’re almost half way through now, and there’s no sign of things going sour, and I’m confident that will be the case for the remainder of the series.


  1. Probably next episode will be the one to have the most action scenes (and I’ll even bet that they’ll be epic as hell).

    That amalgamation of Kabanes at the end will probably be one of the greatest obstacles they’ll find throught the series, and I doubt it’ll end in this arc. Honestly, I think it can be the final Kabane boss.

  2. I think Mumei is filled with a mixture of self loathing, despair, and fatalism. Her playing with the children let her forget that she’s Kabaneri for awhile so being brought back to reality made that reality even worse for her. People are afraid of her and even hate what she has become. It was driven home that she is just a tool so she doesn’t care whether she lives or dies, since she has no life anyway. Her actions from this point of view imply that if she dies killing Kabane well and good. If she survives, well there’s always another battle.

  3. I disagree strongly with your earlier complaints about her personality, she’s inconsistent because everything we’re seeing about her is pretty clearly shown to be a mask. I don’t know, some people really need things spelled out for them, but I feel like the anime has done a good job of doing that at this point.

    She’s obviously a warrior and has been raised in a world that is very callous. In one breath, the same people you love and cherish may become your enemy. So while she may smile, laugh, hug, and seemingly care for a person, she can just as easily turn that off and kill them if necessary. She purposefully endeared herself to the women with the intent of emotionally manipulating them into giving her blood. She is flippant in most situations because she can cut her way out of 99% of situations that she winds up in.

    I think Mumei is overall a much harder person and she is trying to force Ikoma away from some of his youthful idealism. She knows the limits of their bodies better than him, and she also knows he can take the beatings and she doles them out because she’s trying to shape him into being a “shield”. It seems like her brother is the chink in her armor and of course her feelings towards the group are becoming more genuine.

  4. Bamboo Blade Cat
    1. Posted too soon damnit.

      Unless you’re this guy, cause he messed with her head good. But that guy’s clearly a badass.*

      Yep, she’s still a badass.

      Imma gonna go ahead and say the shit was gonna hit the fan regardless of what they did.

      You know, it was probably for the best that they didn’t go past that wreckage!

      Bamboo Blade Cat
  5. Mumei must get past her self-identifying as anti-kabane weapon
    Girl you are a PERSON, with all the needs of one, including need for acceptance and happiness
    And Ikoma, you should have removed the wreckage FIRST, then go off recuing damsel in distress – as if she needed much rescuing,anyway

  6. So the instant acceptance of people they tried at any costs to blame and hated turned out to be true. For a show that tries to play up this situation as realistic as possible it sure likes to say “fudge that” when it’s convenient to the plot. I mean those women wouldn’t have even made those remarks had Mumei not said those things. She wasn’t even necessarily right either. A dog makes good bait for the kabane!……..maybe. Do kabane go after animals? Are we going to see zombie dogs and cows later? As dumb as that might be it ain’t out of the question for this series.

    Mumei for most annoying character? I mean like………Jesus. She did like the WORST things possible to hinder the progress of the plot recently. This is what happens when you give bratty children characters superpowers! I mean I guess we’re just going through that whole “moment of weakness for a strong character so they can finally start to trust other people character development” (a mouthful I know) phase but good god it couldn’t have been done in a more irritating way. As soon as she went off on her own anyone who’s seen these sorts of scenarios before would see it was all going to go wrong. You know what would have been more interesting? Having things go right for Mumei’s blitzkrieg attack so Ikouma could learn there is a time and place for tactics and brute force.

    By the way Ikouma is still cool. One character that I will praise as being mostly done well this series. He may be on the overly passionate side but his intelligence keeps that part of him from being annoying. Though I still like Attack on Titan more he’s a much better protagonist than Eren I admit. Though I wonder did he really need to let up the crane to go save Mumei? Sure it’s in his character to do something like that but what danger was Mumei really in? The kabane can’t infect her or anything. The worst she’s going to get out that is a few bites and one can’t say she didn’t deserve it for this episode going wrong. I mean Ikouma managed to survive getting bitten to hell and back in the 2nd episode so I doubt Mumei couldn’t as well. As it turns out it was the right thing to do since the new smoke monster would have been in the way had it came through but that only happened because Mumei disturbed it. See how convenient everything is? ^_^

    That said something about a smoke monster full of kabane weirdly awesome actually but this feels like it should mean everyone is just fucked since it can even move around on it’s own. All it has to do is give the train a big old hug and bam. Series over. Zombies win =P.

    1. I’m pretty sure the conditions of mumeis infection are different to ikomas…
      she definitely seems to be avoiding getting bitten.
      i for one am waiting for her to bust out some major ordanance like in the op…
      as for ikoma… couldn’t he just have wedged the crane on…

      oh and lighting the boiler woke the the smokey bigboy… which was part of their plan the whole time.
      take your point about animals tho.. the kabane only really seem to be interested in humans….. et tut titans….

      1. @Seorori

        Oho, interesting.. that would make what she did to that unborn child a couple of episodes a good a seriously dark peice of character development…

        I’m edging down the weaponised human being from a young age trope.. but the door is still pretty ajar..

        “Titan kabane is the Night Walker (from mononoke hime) with a horrendous hangover.. expecting it could sweep through the town and suck out everyones souls……….”

      2. Ummmm of course she would avoid being bitten. Why the hell would she want too? I don’t think Ikouma WANTS to be bit either. It’s just in episode 2 he didn’t exactly have the strength to fend them off. Plus he’s not nearly as skilled as her in combat yet. So that point doesn’t prove anything.

        Also the train would have been well out of harms way had they went with Ikoumas plan BEFORE the monster would have woke up. Heck they could have gotten out of there with Mumei’s moronic interference had she not inconveniently fell when the train was about to pass.

  7. I have no complaints for Mumei’s character yet, since we don’t really knew who her “master/oni-chan” really is. Her group is basically unknown to us too.
    Looking at the information we have and the flashbacks, it doesn’t sound like she’s on the Shogun’s side either. She definitely has a grudge, but with whom?
    Her character, for me, is understandable though. She’s bound to fail so that her interactions with Ikouma can increase and we’ll get to know her better. Right now, my focus would be on that Titan Kabane… what the heck is that??

    1. Given the timeline and that Enoku talked about the Shogunate as if they were their enemies, I’m wondering if the “brother” is the Emperor and he’s planning some sort of Meiji Revolution.

  8. That scene with the dog says a lot about Mumei’s “family”. Her preconceived expectations and the fact her brother named her as the nameless one probably says she doesn’t have one of the best family backgrounds. Really like seeing her realize her mistake, it means she’s at least capable of seeing another type of family. Unfortunately, I think that actually escalated her stubbornness in executing the mission. I mean, that dog has a better family than her, and she knows it.

    1. It’s not too surprising given females tend to start maturing and developing sooner and/or faster than males do.

      At least she’s not like Yoko Littner (14 years old in the first part of Gurren Lagann) and is actually more realistic-looking.

    2. The problem is authors/artists like to draw characters that look like young adults but label them in the 12-16 age range, which is completely perverted. Break Blade I’m looking at you.

      Bamboo Blade Cat
      1. Eh, Mumei doesn’t really look that young adult to me. She tries to act like one, sure, but appearance-wise, I can buy her being twelve. Look at real life twelve year old kids; they’re certainly not THAT small.

        And if one thinks Mumei does look that old, well…there have been (far) worse cases. As I said, Yoko Littner from Gurren Lagann easily looking late-teens and yet is only fourteen, and that’s just in the first part. Or look at Aki Nijou from Maken-Ki! and see what she looked like at twelve, lol. If Mumei was drawn to look older then they were very tame about it compared to others.

      2. Mumei looks like an older teen, but in no way does she look 12. I was just referring to manga artists/writers insistence on portraying characters younger than they appear to be. While it’s certainly possible, it’s not as common as anime/manga makes it out to be. Or they tend to sexualize twelve year olds with adult bodies or younger characters in adult dress. And this certainly contributes to why anime gets a bad wrap.

        Bamboo Blade Cat
  9. Catching up on anime as well. Pretty solid episode with some needed background on Mumei. I have mixed feeling about her regressing back to “I’m just a weapon” personality after making progress. Plus it leads to her doing stupid things which she really hasn’t done before to further the plot. :/ I do still like her character overall though. Also wasn’t entirely thrilled with the plot crane lever deciding on its own to go back to the “off” position. I guess there’s a spring or something so it doesn’t stay in the on position? Eh, close enough I guess. Have to have some sort of “pinch” for the cast to be in.

    Interesting that there seems to be a time limit with Kabaneri state – at least for Mumei. One thing that’s bugged me about ML is that you’d think the guy would be asking as many questions as he could about his new found status. Say… any downsides like blood thirst or it’s only temporary? Kind of important stuff.

  10. And continuing the trend of humanizing Mumei (pun not quite intended), we get to see her other sides – her insecurities (of being disposed of when her usefulness ends) and overconfidence this week (her guess at her time of combat was WAY off this time around).

    Personal sidenote: it’s funny how a character’s quirks and personalities are always over-exaggerated in fictional media…

    Also, next week’s preview, jumbo Kabane (not my words, btw).

  11. I’m a little concerned about the anthropomorphized kabane aggregate…. I like the ant-swarm idea better because it is brutally efficient. There’s no reason to waste effort making the swarm look human.

    The train’s up in the middle of nowhere. Fifty kabane or so tearing the trestle down would be enough to drop the train. Given the way they fight, it’s probably a reasonable exchange… Though they’d never actually think about that. If the kabane wanted it sufficiently enough the train would just fall. That’s the trouble with a horde of super strong expendable troops with little morality or self-preservation to get in the way of taking the shortest path to their goal.


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