aNewDomain — Take an action-packed road trip through a mythical ancient Japan complete with giant machines, zombies with steel encased hearts, steampunk, riotously colored 2D and computerized animation, exquisite detail, constant cliffhangers, strongly defined male and female characters, an epic soundtrack, and constant bloody and violent action.
You’ll find all that and more in WIT Studio’s Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress (season one), a 12-episode animated series that debuted in Japan last year and is now available streaming from Amazon.
I know, I know. You’ve seen all these elements individually before in other anime. But their concentrated presence in this production is more engaging and impressive than you would ever expect.
The greatest appeal is how the strong characters are so well defined, drawn, voiced, and integrated with the constantly moving and aggressive storyline.
Others have compared Kabaneri with Attack on Titan, probably because of the role of the walled cities in both efforts.
Still, Kabaneri stands on its own.
Here the human population, under constant threat from a zombie infested countryside, has retreated to giant walled cities interconnected by railroad lines traversed by gigantic city-sized armored locomotives.
Travel between walled cities in these giant locomotives is constantly threatened by zombie hordes that have evolved the ability to cluster into giant centrally-controlled monster-sized assemblages.
All of this takes place in a society where warring families control different cities and rail lines in an uneasy stability overseen by a supreme ruler of questionable character.
Much mysticism and outrageousness are on display.
The strong story and strong characters make it all worthwhile as we careen from one calamity to another. I highly recommend Kabaneri for any and all fans of action, animation and anime. Do check it out.
For aNewDomain, I’m Dennis D. McDonald
An earlier version of this review ran on Dennis D. McDonald’s DDMCD site. Find it here. -Ed