To All,Story: 8/10
I am unable to deny that this storyline is better than the usual harem-related shows studded with fanservice scenes to satiate the viewer's needs for something light-hearted and fun.
Koutetsujou no Kabaneri is undoubtedly one of the finer shows with a firm foundation for plot. In fact, the plot itself might remind you of Shingeki no Kyojin (Attack on Titan) or Sidonia no Kishi (Knights of Sidonia) where humans are threatened by a more dangerous existence and have holed themselves up in an environment which is considered "safe". In this aspect, it might be better to compare it to Shingeki no Kyojin as both titles have an invasion into these safe zones by those dangerous creatures.
However, instead of glorifying this anime, I must mention that though I enjoy it, I do not think very highly of the anime, and the reason or this is due to the script. This is actually a point which I would cover later as well.
The art is more than acceptable. The movements are fluid and well-animated. The trains are nicely detailed and the characters designs vary greatly from each individual to another and represents every one of their personalities well. It would be better if more effort was put in to animate the Kabane as well as they might appear a little stiff in some battle scenes. This is especially so for the Kabane in the background as compared to those in the foreground.
The backgrounds used fit in with the atmosphere and in fact, they are very pretty. Kudos to WITT studio for this!
The opening theme is something I can't stand, and by that I mean that the dialogue before the song actually begins is overly cheesy for me to handle. Though I understand that it does hype up the anime and gives it something more connected to the actual show itself, it doesn't stop me from cracking up whenever the opening theme plays at the start of an episode.
OST-wise, this series is pretty solid. There is actually no OST that I particularly like or dislike, and none of them stand out to me as a wrongly-placed OST, so in that aspect I actually do find that the use of OSTs to be quite reasonable and acceptable.
Ikoma, the male main character, is a Kabane-Human hybrid, otherwise known as Kabaneri. Kabaneri are stronger and hardier than your average human, but putting the Kabaneri aspect aside, Ikoma is a headstrong and firmly believes in science and that the process of changing into a Kabaneri could be stopped.
He might remind quite a few people of Eren Jaeger, but I do find them quite different. However, that being said, I do not find him likable as a character as I can't stand how oblivious he is to everything except building a weapon to kill the Kabaneri. Such a scene was in Episode 1 where he attempted to leave work directly after making it there to test how increasing the explosives in his weapon.
That being said, the point that I'm making is not that Ikoma is a bad character, but more that his personality is crafted well enough, however that personality is not one that suits my tastes.
Mumei, is another Kabaneri, that in my opinion, lacks the gift of gab and EQ. This is obvious in two different settings.
First, the moment when Ikoma was revealed to be a Kabaneri, Mumei also revealed that she was one nearly immediately after, despite how she was considered to be a "savior" by the humans on board at that time for having led them to safety. I felt that though this helped save Ikoma from being slaughtered as a Kabaneri, she didn't actually explain what Kabaneri were and how they weren't actually Kabane. Her actions increased the doubts and uneasiness and when the frightened humans who take them as Kabane were rioting for tossing the two Kabaneri off the train, Mumei threatened to take them on (and gave the vibe of slaughtering them) instead of giving any attempt to talk them over.
Second was when Mumei got hungry and required to drink blood to ease her hunger. Unwittingly, she told the humans that she "needs blood". This made the fearful humans misunderstand that she was going to attack them and turn them into Kabaneri. At this particular moment, I thought that Mumei was going to mention that she needed to "drink some blood" instead of "turning/killing humans" but all Mumei replied was "It can't be helped since I'm hungry, right?" No, girl, that's not how explanation goes.
Other than her obvious lack of EQ, Mumei is one of the most badass females in anime history and she prides herself on this by her constant threats to the humans on board. The anime also rides on this fact well, showing off her prowess right from Episode 1 where she beheaded a Kabane.
Yomogawa Ayame, is one of the most respected females in this setting. She took charge of Koutetsujou and functions as the leader. Though trusted by most of her subordinates, there are other lords on board that doesn't seem to enjoy being under her leadership and plot ways to get her to give her role up. Ayame is a character both strong and weak at heart, and lack confidence in herself. She is probably one of those who will develop in the series to become a stronger woman at the end of the course but for now, she is still severely lacking. Ayame is bad with words and her persuasion usually falls flat. She stands on the side of Kabaneri and believes that they mean no harm to the humans on board and that the humans need their protection. However, it took quite some time and effort on her part to lower the humans' guide to Kabaneri, though that whole course still didn't stop some individuals from attempting to toss the Kabaneri off.
The pacing is generally great for me, except the scenes where the humans fuss over the Kabaneri being on board as they usually spend much time emphasizing the same point. Though I do understand that they are attempting to show the fear humans have for Kabane and the reluctance to accept them, it gets a little too much at some scenes.
The show starts out fast but the pacing is gradually moving slower and slower to accommodate more time for viewers to immerse themselves in the situation and sympathize with the characters and their plight. I find the current pace much more enjoyable than the initial one, but I'll appreciate if it could be a little faster at times.
There is still quite a bit of room for improvement for Koutetsujou no Kabaneri and it could possibly grow into one of the top shows of this season, or even this year. However for now, the flaws are still very significant due to the lack of information and I do hope they'll be quickly answered as the plot thickens in the episodes to come.
From Your Fellow Anime Fan