“Burning Life”

「燃える命」 (Semejougu Jakusha)

The Three Evils:

There’s plenty of evil to go around here, but the question is who is the most evil of all? The mindless kabane, the corrupt Shogun, or the vengeful liberator? It’s an interesting thing to consider, especially since the past three episodes have established Biba as the personal antagonist to our main crew. But the more we flesh out this world, the more I realise it’s possible to not hate the guy. I still do think what he’s doing is horrible and only mirrors what his father did to him – and is the very reason he hates him – which adds a level of irony to his attempts at vengeance. But after properly meeting the Shogun, he does seem like a pretty horrible guy. We didn’t get too long to delve into his character, so I’m going to assume he’s just as one-note as he appeared in this episode. Basically, this all comes down to complicated daddy issues, which isn’t too surprising. It’s a common trope, but convincing enough that at the very least Biba believes his values are just and his reasons are legitimate.

At the end of it all, however, it is the kabane that are the evil forces that everyone must defeat. They aren’t entirely mindless – we’ve seen those who have retained the skills from their previous life – and with the introduction of the man-made kabaneri wrecking havoc it seems that they are going to be our main source of violence and gore in the finale ahead. I’m both eager to see the kabane armies and Biba’s machinations come together in what promises to be a bombastic finish.

Mumei and Ikoma’s Showdown:

Mumei and Ikoma are both having a pretty rough time, aren’t they? As it turns out, Ikoma wasn’t killed at all, but only mildly injured as Mumei isn’t as far gone as we expected. There were some hints last time with us not seeing her facial expression when she stabbed Ikona, as she purposefully attacked him in a way that would make it look fatal, when in fact he was able to survive. There was no way he was actually going to die like that, but I’m glad that Mumei at least has some humanity left in her, even if that isn’t stopping her from becoming that monster at the end of the episode. At the very least, the scene with the butterflies over the mountain of corpses was touching – poetic in a way I wouldn’t expect from Kabaneri. The Mumei scenes have become the best thing about the show in its second half, which isn’t something I ever thought I would be saying.

As for Ikoma, he got a badass upgrade this week, and it was much appreciated. His new haircut is cool, as is his lack of glasses; he almost looks like a different character. Not only that, but in a scene reminiscent in his desperate attempt for survival in the premiere, he has replaced his right arm so that it weaponised and mechanical. It’s all epic goodness, and his depressive lows were quickly overcome, which is good considering we only have one episode to wrap up this madness.

Overview – What’s Next?:

Biba is still an evil bastard (but understandably so, in a weird way), Mumei showed her last glimmers of humanity before accepting her destructive fate, and Ikoma is looking 500% more badass than he ever has before. Next week promises to be a bombastic finale; I’m looking forward to the blood and glory and the good guys winning in the end. Biba is sure to put up a fight, but I’m eager for Ikoma and Mumei to come through stronger than ever before and prove this journey worthwhile.


  1. The shogun was an incredible idiot. Biba played him like a fiddle, even though the shogun knew he was coming and should’ve been on edge about anything out of the ordinary. The shogun probably was screwed regardless, as Biba’s infiltration via Hayajiro was just the most practical plan rather than the only one. Worse come to worse his troops would’ve just infiltrated as they did in the episode earlier, which would’ve probably caused the shogun to flee or go into hiding. Instead, the shogun bit on every piece of bait Biba offered and he’s dead on top of his city destroyed.

    Also… Steampunk zombie cyborg. Somehow, I’m okay with this.

      1. It had been done before once or twice, Sakura Wars was Japanese Steampunk, main reason i loved the series.

        But yeah, overall and compared to other overused premises Japanese Steampunk is quite original and fresh.

      2. Did not think of Sakura Wars as it was 1920’s Japan not Victorian Era which is were most steampunk is centered. Yes Sakura Wars was good. It the mostly traditional Japanese garb mixed with Victorian Era trains and steam that really got me this time. Have read this story is alternate universe in the later 1800’s.

  2. Justin has really outdone himself this time. Wow! That ayame girl willingly agreed to his plan knowing that it would lead to the destruction of all of humanity? The problem with these character is that their motives make no sense.

    1. No he sold her on a plan to just kill the Shogun and maybe replace him. I doubt she thought he just wanted to see everything burn, I know his men think they are just setting things up to get people on the offensive vs the kabane. The use of kabane at the last town was to force surrender not total killing I’m sure Ayame thinks. Oh and I doubt he even said kill the Shogun or replace, he was just saying visit but I’m sure Ayame assumed the kill part not just the rest.

      Ayame not willing he has hostages.

  3. Hero be like: “I need a haircut because it’s like really necessary right now, but since I’m also kind of a stylish emo, I’m gonna leave out the part that covers half my face. Oh and why did I need glasses in the first place…”

  4. This has been a very fun ride. Like SAMU I realized what type of show I was getting at the start so it has not disappointed.

    “This is the relentless zombie action thriller we’ve all been waiting for. Or at least I have. Is it deep or thought provoking? Not really. Is it especially original? No. Is it subtle in any way? Hell no. Luckily, Koutetsujou no Kabaneri doesn’t have to be any of those things. All it has to do is entertain. If you expect insight into the human mind or are hoping for some transcendent storytelling, then your expectations aren’t aligned with what is intended here. I said it last week, and I’ll say it again: this is probably one of the best action anime I’ve seen in the longest time. Sometimes you just want to watch something that grabs you by the throat, straps you in, and screams in your face for 22 minutes every week. I don’t know about you, but that sounds like pure fun to me.” SAMU episode 2.

    I’ve seen tons of attacks on this mainly on other sites by people who clearly wanted something else then what they were presented with. I know a lot of this is the modern trolling habit of trying to tear down everything in hopes of getting someone upset. But to address points that might be real for some. Most of the problems people have are from a inability to understand a stated 12 episode show can’t do what longer shows can do. Great Characterization takes lots of talking scenes that take away from the action, possible to do in small bits in a huge episode count show not here. This show has done quite good Characterization for the limited time allowed to do that. Others want the quite rare in reality mastermind villain who’s cool, that type of villain needs a much longer show to set up things to really enjoy. As I have said before study current and historical dictators they are a really sad lot in traits and personalities for the most part and don’t approach fictional villains in coolness. So I’m perfectly fine with Biba being a more real driven by revenge type who just wants to see the world burn. As long as you don’t use a crazy villain to put in major twits they work fine.

    Army tests that someone on other site linked to show that it’s a lot harder to derail a train than people think. They blew bigger and bigger holes in tracks and the train did not derail till they got to basically missing a third of a rail on both sides, empty cars much easier to derail than full. I suppose it’s the gyroscope effect lots of turning wheels have along with momentum, they really resist being pulled off of the path they are on, track or no track. It’s curves over speed or taking out track on a curve that will derail easier. So yes a train can bump over rocks and other things on the track the physics of the wheel spin and momentum keep the train going in the same path as the tracks.

    1. Oh good, someone who agrees… Guess he thinks distance, and travel time are a non-issue. (We can just teleport or use time skip to save on the duration of dangerous buff…)

  5. What I found interesting was the guy with the knives in Biba’s crew. He seemed to be the biggest ashole in the group, but he’s the one getting pissed when that guy cut off a man’s arm, and he’s the one who convinced that other guy to leave the mourning crew in peace. Weird…

    1. Yeah, I also found that to be interesting. Since that time when he stabbed a bug when he met the Ayame and her attendant, he’s strangely the most sensible one among Biba’s crew. Not trying to kill anyone for pleasure or provoking anyone, I did not expect that based on his appearance.

  6. I would have cheered for Biba if his plan was just what he did in the first half of the episode, infiltriate the shogun stronghold, pretend to be captive, infect his father and use the irrational fear (which his father often used as an excuse) to make his own subjects kill him, it’s both ironic and to the point.

    Except that alongside that he has a weird obsession with throwing Kabane at innocent people for no reason at all, you won Biba and gave the Shogun the most ironic death possible, why are you still hellbent on killing everybody else, i suppose what he went through messed him up and made him quite a mix of a nihilist and an anarchist, too bad, it could have worked out a lot better if he was less crazy.

    Also, is it me or what!?, that beast form Mumei turned into (with the big butterfly wings) has some really strong Ghibli vibes, specifically Mononoke vibes (always a plus in my book), also the whole scene with the Butterfly symbolism was touching and melancholic.

    1. Am probably thinking he thinks those who live in the fortress capital are as guilty as the Shogun as he only resorted to throwing Kabane at the capital and the Gateway city before that.
      (basically whenever he’s denied entry due to Shogun reasons)

      When he met Ayame and crew at the other station (the one Ikoma said he’d fill Mumei’s Belly with rice was resupplying in) he didn’t bring in the Kabane. (although he did lure them to the outskirts)

  7. I actually think Biba is a good character. He’s not idealistic but a realist. Removing long standing power structure requires a revolution and in turn sacrifices.

    The main character is just an idiot, he’s idealistic naive and would be completely inept in any real position of power. Sad media trope that presents this type of character as heroic but historically being completely naive and idealistic are often a dangerous combination.

    1. Then you must think Hitler was quite heroic then, Biba might have his legit reasons to take out the Shogun but mass murdering people (civilians too) for no reason after completing his plan is just being purely psychopatic and makes him nothing more than a criminal, a mass muderer not that different from Hitler (and no one is gonna argue Hitler was incompetent, he was good at what he does, doesn’t make him any less of scumbag though).

      And heck, i’d liken Biba’s venegeful attitude here to the USA itself too, after pretty much winning WW2 they still went ahead and dropped not one but two nukes delibetately on two cities killing hundreds of thousands in an instant, it’s not that different from what Biba is doing here.

      Naive and idealistic people at worst hurt themselves and at best lead their people to a better place like Joan de Arc did, with her idealism she led her nation to several victories, but her naivety only led to her being used and wrongfully tried as a heretic, besides .. But hey, Ikoma isn’t even a leader nor did he demand any leadership position, his actions are driven purely by his ideals and experiances, his naivety and idealism are actually great traits for someone on his position.

      1. Great post, I’m glad you didn’t let the facts get in the way of a good story.

        There is actual no comparison between Hitler and Biba at all. Hitler was essentially voted into power and in case you didn’t know based a lot of his leadership strategy on blaming the Jews, creating an Aryan race. Biba actually conquered and hasn’t really targeted people based on race or gender but on their actions. You could say that Biba is trying to purely kill the ‘weak’ but he really isn’t. Essentially, he has overthrown a corrupt system in which the priveledged and elite secured their own safety and sacrificed others to do so. Is the best way forward to massacre all those who stood by and allowed this happen, probably not, but at the end of the day they need to build a new society. I mean in case you didn’t realise Anglo Saxons slaughtered a hell of a lot of people and that pretty much gave birth to civilisation as we know it today.

    2. And here I thought that Biba was the one assured to be “completely inept in any position of power”.

      He had the political head of the country killed (and not even by his hand), causing chaos inside the capital, with him inside the very seat of power taking control of the situation and his perfectly trained and armed soldiers opening the gates to get inside. It screams coup d’etat, which, despite what fiction often teaches us, is always the first goal of any intelligent revolutionary (or reactionary) to avoid the pains of an armed rebellion or civil war.

      If he really wanted to remove long standing power structures, a quick coup in the capital will have given him, as any other revolutionary in history, a base of operations, some degree of legitimacy, more forces and more money. Lenin didn’t burn Petrograd to ashes when he stormed the Winter Palace for good reason.

      1. Yes, but he wants to do it without any sacrifice, and has made some terribly stupid decisions that should have sent 1000s of innocent people to their grave if this wasn’t a cartoon.

  8. I guess rather than try to bullshit us viewers with endless excuses to explain away things, they’re just going to go as over the top as possible for a huge bombastic ending.

    No complaints here.

  9. “but the question is who is the most evil of all? The mindless kabane, the corrupt Shogun, or the vengeful liberator?”

    don’t matter to me so long as the animation is TIGHT.

    BROOKLYN otaku
    1. Well the Kabane are not actually evil in that they have no choice in their actions, it’s just the result of their action is evil. It’s only those who can choose between right and wrong who can be evil.

  10. Biba has ignored evil overlords list…
    “when killing a Hero, make sure he is dead, cut off his head, and burn the body”
    also, Ikoma is going Ash-style from Army of Darkness
    good news is Mumei is not entriely, at least, obeying Biba…

    1. Won’t be surprised if Mumei sucks up the Kabane and then takes them out of the city, rather than go wild as Biba planned. Her Nue is so far considerable more stable and quieter than the other two.

  11. I think that the Shogun picked up the idiot ball. The guy already doesn’t trust his own son enough to behave like a proper prisoner and yet thought it’s a good idea to rummage through his belonging and try to kill his son with his son’s own dagger? If he really doesn’t trust his son to behave shouldn’t he just draw his own sword and kill him with it?


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