The new noitaminA anime, Koutetsujou no Kabaneri (Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress), has already been dubbed by many as a steampunk-meet-zombies version of the famous Shingeki no Kyojin (Attack on Titan) - both series being produced by Wit Studio and having several similar aspects.
Though only two episodes have been released so far, Koutetsujou no Kabaneri is already ranked #97 with a score of 8.50 on MAL, making it one of the most promising anime of late. But if it is so popular, then why are there so many fans outraged with its lack of originality? In this article, we will take a look at some obvious similarities between the two series to see whether or not Koutetsujou no Kabaneri can really offer as much entertainment as the titular AoT, and maybe even someday surpass it.
Kabane vs Titans
In both the world of Koutetsujou no Kabaneri and that of Shingeki no Kyojin, there are monsters that present a constant threat to the human race. These evil creatures are aggressive and possess an unswerving hunger for human flesh. In Kabaneri, they are zombie-like humanoids called Kabane that hunt down people and infect them by biting or scratching them, transmitting a virus which turns the victim into a Kabane. These zombie-like monsters are dark grey with red eyes, crimson lines all over their bodies, and pulsing fiery hearts that are hard to destroy (left picture). They also seem to be faster and more intelligent than the Titans (right picture). However, as we already know, there are several different types of Titans, whose intelligence and skills can vary. Titans, on the other hand, are not as scary-looking as Kabane, and instead, they resemble humans - extremely huge and destructive humans, that is.
- They're similar because of: their insatiable hunger for human flesh, mysterious origin, and humanoid physique.
Stations vs Walls
In order to protect themselves from these monsters, people have built stations (left picture) and walls (right picture). It's impossible not to compare them since their purpose is the same. However, stations are connected to the outside world by bridges crossed by trains, while walls in the AoT world do not have these bridges since they are higher (they do have gates and watch towers). In both cases the world inside these stations/walls present the only safe haven for people brought to the edge of extinction.
- They're similar because of: their construction style and the same purpose.
Tsuranuki Zutsu vs 3D Maneuver Gear
Tsuranuki Zutsu (left picture) is a weapon which is a combination of high pressured steam and gunpowder. Ikoma, the protagonist of Koutetsujou no Kabaneri, invented it in order to finally be able to pierce the iron hearts of Kabane. 3D Maneuver Gear (right picture) is not really a weapon, but more like gear. It allows soldiers to move fast and use blades at the same time. Tsuranuki Zutsu uses steam while 3D Gear is powered by gas. These two are similar not only because of the way they are carried, but also because they are apparently the only available means of killing both Kanabe and Titans.
- They're similar because of: their uniqueness and the way they're carried and powered.
They're completely different in appearance. However, these two protagonists share many personality traits - they are both stubborn, determined, foolhardy, passionate and impulsive. Additionally, both Ikoma (left picture) and Eren (right picture) witnessed their loved ones being murdered by Kabane/Titans. That only fueled their determination to kill these monsters. Ikoma seems more capable due to the fact that he invented the weapon, but he also seems to have more sympathy and less hatred towards Kabane because he mentions saving already infected victims instead of just killing them.
- They're similar because of: their personality traits and reasons for vengeance.
Kabaneri vs Titan Shifters
Another obvious similarity is that people in both anime can transform into their enemies. Kabaneri (left picture) are people infected by the Kabane virus who manage to stop the virus from going to the brains and thus becoming something between a human and Kabane. Titan Shifters (right picture) are people who can transform into Titans by suffering an injury. One huge difference between them is that Kabaneri cannot transform their state, while Titan Shifters can switch between their human and Titan bodies.
- They're similar because of: their enhanced skills, regeneration, self-control, and state of exhaustion after using their powers.
Yes, it is clear as day that Koutetsujou no Kabaneri and Shingeki no Kyojin do have a couple of things in common. However, that doesn't mean that they're completely the same and that the first should be regarded as a copy of the latter. Instead of focusing on the similarities, perhaps it would be better to pay attention to the uniqueness of Kabaneri which takes a bit of a different steampunk approach to dealing with both an outside threat (monsters) and the threat within the society (lack of empathy, fear, etc).
Having in mind that there have been only two episodes released so far, we can only wait and see whether this anime will prove to be an attempt at stealing AoT's glory, or perhaps even something better than it.