“Begging the Heavens”
A Happy Slice of Life:
Surprisingly, Kabaneri handles this quieter episode just as well as its loud, bombastic ones. This was exactly what we needed after spending so long on that train, watching our characters screaming and killing kabane; and after last week’s dramatic events, it feels earned that everyone who is now working together could be considered friends. I appreciated that we got a chance to see these characters just having a good time, exploring a new city, partaking in festival traditions, and providing some timely comic relief. What’s most amusing is half way through this episode I almost forgot about the threat of the kabane, which I think is exactly what the intention was. We finally got to see what it means to live peacefully in this version of Japan, and things don’t seem too bad. But of course, these are likely to be the final moments of happiness that these characters are going to experience. Dark things lie ahead, and just as I said last week, I wouldn’t be surprised if we start seeing some of the gang getting killed off in the fights to come.
I’d like to take this time to point out that Mumei is only 12 years old! Did any of you know that? While I was looking over the background information of the series, I came across that number and was honestly taken aback. It puts her earlier recklessness into perspective, but I’m glad she’s much more likeable now than she was at the start of this journey. Similarly, I love seeing Ikoma being the dork that he is. For all the screaming he does when he’s caught in his battles, I like that he’s still capable of having fun and enjoying himself, even if he and Mumei have to drink human blood regularly in order to keep themselves sane. Their discussion at the temple was my highlight of the episode (as well as Ayame stuffing her face and Kurusu’s many blushes), as they discussed what it means to be human despite their kabane tendencies. The line about eating rice sounds ridiculous on paper, but given their circumstances it was sweet that that’s what Mumei wrote as her wish.
The Shogun’s Son and the Hunters:
While I would be fine with this episode ending on a happy note, the final minutes saw the formal introduction of Mumei’s brother and son of the Shogun, Biba. His gentle appearance contradicts the menacing figure we saw in Mumei’s earlier flashbacks, so I’m with Ikoma when it comes to not trusting him. I’ve got to admit, however, that seeing the “hunters” return felt very much like a scene from Shingeki no Kyojin. These past few episodes have managed to distance themselves from the show’s spiritual predecessor, but this was basically Levi and his gang returning from their expedition. That’s not a detriment to the series, but rather a reminder of Kabaneri’s origins, in case you had forgotten.
Overview – What’s Next?:
I’m glad things are moving along nicely, as Mumei’s brother has now made his grand entrance, which is sure to shake up the peace this episode established. It was fun while it lasted, but drama, death, and despair lingers on the horizon, so I won’t be expecting many smiles or goofy gags from these characters in the weeks to come.