“The Attacking Weak”
Mumei and Biba:
Poor Mumei. Poor everyone, really. But mostly poor Mumei. I never expected to feel so sorry for her after being cold to her character for the first few episodes, but here I am, defending her from those who initially liked her badassery and are now shifting the blame to her. She’s certainly got a part to play in this horrible turn of events, but I’d consider it minuscule when compared to her brother. Mumei is young, naive, and wants to believe in the best possible outcomes for her friends. We even see her cowering from Biba when he reaches over to her, which is perhaps the most obvious sign that she’s loosening from his grip. After being surrounded by decent people – people who just wanted to survive this chaotic world – she’s tried to do everything she could to make sure they didn’t suffer. Sadly, her attempt at making promises with Biba go sour as he turns against her and forcibly changes her back to that stoic war machine that we expected her to be in the earlier episodes; though this time around she seems to have little to no humanity in her. The Mumei that was grown and warmed to her surroundings is no more. Before I complained that her shifting from personality types felt like the writers wanting her to be every otaku-pandering archetype there is, but in hindsight her development has been intriguing and way smarter than I initially would have given Kabaneri credit for. Her turning against Ikoma was inevitable, but it’s especially sad after watching her relationship with him blossom – now it feels like a proper betrayal.
Let the Bloodbath Commence:
On the flip side, Ikoma and his gang fail at getting back at Biba for the war crimes he committed last week. With two more episodes left to go I knew nothing would be resolved this week, but it was still painful to see them fail so miserably. I called it that there would be a bloodbath ahead, and it makes sense that Takumi would be the first to fall. His self-sacrifice wasn’t unexpected, but it proved that the good guys have well and truly lost (for now). Ikoma trying to fight back was pitiful, but in a believable way that had me rooting for him even more. But I’m honestly surprised at how badly he was beat down – possible even killed if he wasn’t the main character. Getting his arm blown off and then Mumei stabbing him through the chest and sending him flying from the train had me shocked. The silence during that scene was what made itespecially powerful, right up until the credits rolled as they force us to wait another week to see how Ikoma is going to come back from this.
Overview – What’s Next?:
Apologies for the brevity of this post, but this was an episode that mainly spook for itself, but what an episode is was. Things are getting bloody, and it’s exactly what the show needs. We’ve humanised the characters that matter most, have a despicable villain in Biba, and the turn of events we saw here are sure to set up for a dramatic conclusion. At first I was disheartened to know this wouldn’t be full-cour, but it appears we’re going to get more than enough with the 12 episodes on offer. So far the journey has been entertaining and each episode has been tightly written – there’s nothing dragging it down (except for Ikoma sinking into the ocean), so I expect it to be all guns blazing from here on out.