♪ these zombies don’t eat braaains,
but they’re still gonna kill us all,
so all board the steam traaain ♬
That’s the general summary for kabaneri or as it was known before release: "attack on titan: trains edition" or as it’s known after release: "Shit: standard edition".
for those of you who followed along with the show on mal throughout its run you may have noticed the steep decline in score after the final episode, though you shouldn’t really be surprised cause it was declining consistently since like episode 3-4 it was just more of a slow decline, if the public opinion on this show was given physical form it'd be that of a half built water slide, some twists and curves but eventually going down and just when the pool is in sight the rest of the slide is a straight vertical dive so sudden you smash your whole body in the water and lose consciousness... tortured metaphors aside I think part of the spite people have for this show derives from just how high their hopes were for it at the beginning, the optimistic suckers.
rather than going aspect by aspect let’s just split this review into the Good and the Bad shall we?
-the animation was pretty good all throughout
that’s about it, and even the animation has to come with an asterisk due to the occasional use of dodgy cg. And of course the music was gonna be good, they had fucking Hiroyuki Sawano AND Aimer, that’s like getting the musical equivalent of a second Christmas with dragons.
if you’re wondering why I didn’t include Egoist above it’s probably because I didn’t really like the OP much, and before you say I’m just some weeby elitist douche with no taste in music I’m only half of that, and I actually really like Egoist, which is why this opening felt so disappointing, I know she can do way better, at least two of the three theme songs for the project Itoh movies are in my phone worn out from replaying them so often. But I guess this is just the best you can get when you force her to work with such lousy material.
Remember how I said this was supposed to be the good section, HA, neither do I.
if this series was an adaption everything wrong with it could basically be blamed on the source material.
SO in no particular order here are the issues I had:
-Bad Characterization: the characters are just so...average at best, in episode 2 or 3 glasses-so-i-look- smart, i.e. ikoma tells his "tragic backstory" ignoring the fact that the question he was asked didn’t justify dumping his entire life story out of nowhere his story is generic, cliché and can be told basically through a 3 second animation of his sister getting bitten and him turning around dramatically, And you know what I find most obnoxious about it? the fact that the characters and indeed the writers seem aware of just how cliché it is since the character he talks to predicts this and flat out CALLS it cliché, and yet still are we meant to care?
another bad aspect of the characters is that everyone besides the main cast seem to have about 3 brain cells between them, they yell, make wild accusations and just generally behave like dipshits, its actually funny how they constantly dis and distrust ikoma and mumei and call them kabane when I’d say the kabane are smarter than they are, please explain to me how these supposedly trained soldiers who've lived their entire lives around kabane can’t seem to tell the difference between a gray malformed lumbering creature incapable of dialogue and a regular dude screaming “DONT KILL ME”. at times they even say shit like: "that’s what a kabane would do" or "in the end, she’s just a kabane"
are you for real you bunch morons?! a kabane is, once again, very clearly visually distinguishable and D-O-E-S-N-T SPEEEEAK, shouldn’t just the fact that they’re telling you to fuck off show that their NOT kabane? I purposefully avoided saying “can't think” because that'd describe 80% of the people in this show pretty well, and at least the kabane can learn sword fighting and boxing, bizarrely.
Let's harp on the characters some more I quite enjoy it, the sheer level of idiocy on display here sometimes borders on self-extinction, honestly these people don’t need the kabane to get wiped out, seems like just five minutes with a sharp object will suffice and I’m not even exaggerating, in one episode one of moss-head's friends pisses of a soldier, and what does that soldier do? he doesn’t let him off with a warning or just arrest him, ya know cause he’s supposed to be an adult and disciplined soldier, no, he literally pulls out his sword and plans to KILL him, and he would’ve done it too if protag didn’t step in, I don’t know who’s dumber, the soldier or the kid who pissed him off cause apparently his plan was to guard against his sword with his bare hands! What’d you think was gonna happen mate? He’d just cut through the fat and get stuck? then you’d have him right where you want him? Mind you this still doesn’t seem as bizarre to me as the fact that he can even be fat when all throughout the show a point is made that food is pretty scarce and you have to ration it.
oh boy I’ve been wailing on the characters for quite a while, and I’m not even DONE. but since I’ve dragged this out long enough I’ll try to summarize the main antagonist as quickly as I can - a huge twat. that should do but if you want a more in-depth description of the scale of his twatiness he’s just so comically evil its obnoxious, if this guy were a video game villain he'd be one of the billionaire morons from the resident evil series who keep investing in zombies and monsters as a brilliant way to take over the world.
-dialogue: mediocre at best, so much so i don’t feel like there’s much to add here really, if that whole "fill belly with rice" line didn’t make your body do a little involuntary “blegh” sound you may want to see your doctor cause apparently your gag reflex stopped working. all its attempts at character's ideologies and philosophies just comes across as generic at best, and just plain bullshit at worst usually whenever stupidly villainous villain guy attempts to justify setting babies on fire and feeding them to their dog, and then him eating that dog.
-kabane: and finally perhaps the most important aspect the show failed at (depending on who you ask) as you may have gathered from the beginning of this review, initially at least, there was quite a comparison drawn between attack on titan and this show, and while many things helped erase that discussion(mostly things like attack on titan not being total shit) the one difference most important between the two is that the titans, while not always, at least at times came across as these truly unnerving, scary fucked up creatures that really helped give a sense of urgency to the show, the kabane on the other hand are basically faster, shoot-in-the-heart-not-the-brain zombies except they’re not even that! cause several times just lobbing their heads off seems to do the trick quite well.
So let’s summarize, at the beginning of this review I said that before its release kabaneri seemed like: "attack on titan: trains edition" but now it can be seen for what it was meant to be and what it ended up being, it was meant to be "Attack on titan-ish: hope you didn’t forget attack on titan exists, here’s something to hold you over till then" and what it ended up being is "Not even really attack on titan-ish: we probably should have just taken the time and effort put into this and released attack on titan sooner huh..." and now that I ranted all over you(and even if you didn’t agree thanks for reading this) i guess I’ll just make like kabaneri and have a shit conclusion, bye.