One thing to say about Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress: With all the moments for the first two episodes alone, it's off to a great start.
- First, Ikoma manages to break out of the cage he's been locked in, and runs right through the Kabane infested station to his workshop, stopping only to spill his blood and bait a Kabane.
- Next, he preps his Piercing Gun, and when caught in a melee with his baited Kabane, is able to overpower it, and succeeds in blowing its heart out, a supposedly impossible feat.
- And finally, Ikoma sees that he has been bitten, but is undeterred. He straps himself into a machine that will choke blood from his brain, and basically hangs himself, succeeding with sheer force of will and technical know-how to defeat the Kabane's disease.
- The machine itself is an incredible feat of intelligence. The restrictive society means Ikoma had very little means to discover the mechanism of zombification, but he nevertheless found its connection to blood and the brain. On top of that, the machine used to cut off the blood flow to his brain was so dangerous that he couldn't have reasonably tested it before use, but it was still constructed well enough to fend off the infection without killing him.
- And then Mumei tops all of this by decapitating a Kabane in one blow with her own bladed sandal, without a single finger laid on her.
- Episode Two affirms Mumei's status as a Badass Adorable. In what is best described as a rampage, she effortlessly cuts through dozens of Kabane and single-handedly saves almost a hundred people.
- Takumi really gets a chance to shine here. He runs through the flaming, Kabane-infested city to help his friend out, and throws a lifeline out to his friend, who for all anyone (except him or Mumei) knows is a zombie infectee.
- After being thrown off the train due to his apparent Kabane infection, Ikoma follows the train, to a point where it gets stuck due to the arm of Ayame's father-turned-Kabane, getting jamming the track switch. He blasts through hordes of Kabane with his bolt gun, not stopping until he's made it to the switch and managed to flip it. His speech during this segment stands out especially, showing that he's Defiant to the End.Ikoma: Being saved by someone you've thrown away, I hope you will live with this shame for the rest of your lives. I will laugh at you from the other world! Just wait and see!
- Essentially, he saved the entire Koutetsujou... out of spite. And it worked.
- Ayame shows that she can be just as big of a badass as everyone else on the show. When an angry mob goes after Ikoma and Mumei, she goes to defend them, but doesn't stand up for them unconditionally she takes out a knife and tries to stab Ikoma through the heart, demanding that he prove that he's not going to be a threat to the humans on the Koutetsujou. The mob backs down almost instantly after he promises.
- Kurusu vs Mumei. Kurusu is demanding that Ikoma and Mumei get off of the Koutetsujou. Mumei takes a ball bearing and throws it hard enough to pierce iron, and accurate enough to hit Kurusu's gun. Kurusu doesn't flinch: he just makes sure that he's still on target.
- Even better, she aims at the barrel of Kurusu's gun but he moves the gun just a fraction at the last second to redirect the ball and save his weapon. Even Mumei is impressed.
Episode FourDear god, where to begin...
- While the Koutetsujou is through the mountains, dozens of Kabane manage to board and attack the civilians inside, quickly taking over all cars behind the seventh. The Samurai mount their defense, while in the back Ikoma and Mumei move forward and clear the top.
- Ayame decides that she's going to fight alongside the samurai, even if the battle is hopeless. She grabs a steam bow and kicks ass.
- Ikoma and Mumei battle it out across the roofs of the train cars, taking down the Kabane in their first team outing, basically slaughtering the Kabane wholesale. Even when Mumei collapses from exhaustion due to lack of blood, Ikoma vows to fight on and kick ass.
- Kurusu vs the Kabane. For the majority of the show so far, the only sensible method of combating the Kabane was at range with Steam Rifles. Kibito prompts Kurusu to get his katana, and Kurusu proceeds to do what only the Kabaneri have done so far: kick ass at close range.
- This episode is so badass even the Kabane get their own awesome moment: the Wazatori. A Kabane who through experience taught itself to fight with weapons. It goes against Kurusu (who has slain several Kabane at this point) and runs him through. It kills innocents and kicks a lot of ass.
- Because the Wazatori fights purely on instinct it does not show any emotion (or, in some cases, even glance) at it's opponent, and gives off the impression that it doesn't give a shit. This is in contrast to the humans, who are terrified of this unstoppable juggernaut.
- All of this culminates in what can best be described as the crowning moment for... everyone involved so far. Ikoma, desperately weakened by a lack of blood, reaches the car where the samurai and Kurusu are holding off the Wazatori. Too weak to fight properly, Ikoma makes a declaration: it doesn't matter what happens next, if they give him blood, he will defeat the Wazatori. Ayame takes him up on that offer, cutting her forarm open and offering him her blood. The Wazatori, drawn to the blood, tries to attack her, but Kurusu, with a broken arm and a sword wound to his stomach, leaps into the air and tackles it down. Ikoma, replenished for blood, arrives and demonstrates that Mumei isn't as bad a teaching as he thought, using her forms to drive the Wazatori to the ground, and kick. Its. ASS.
Episode SixAfter a bit of a slump in episode five, where a good part of the cast was exhibiting Too Dumb to Live tendencies, Episode Six comes back swinging.
- Mumei, having been wounded and pinned underneath a rockslide at the end of the previous episode, has a Heroic BSoD, calling herself weak and spouting self-deprecation and saying that she's weak and should not live. Ikoma's response? Essentially, he tells her to get over herself... while he's bleeding from the stomach.
- The aforementioned stomach-wound was caused in a fight between Ikoma and several dozen Kabane. When he and Mumei are recovered, Ikoma is surrounded by Kabane corpses.
- The entire cast once again shows what happens when teamwork prevails over the hot-headed conflict and personal squabbling too often seen in zombie shows:
Kurusu: I'll be using the sword you made.Ikoma: If you die, don't blame it on the weapon.Kurusu: Very funny.
- Takumi's put in charge of manning a giant freaking cannon (which would derail the train if fired in real life but DAMN it's cool) to blast apart the Black Smoke/Fused Colony. He gets startled and fires too early, which makes Kabane fall onto the train, leading to...
- Ikoma and Kurusu fighting Kabane on top of the train, given covering fire by Kibito and several marksmen. "But wait", you say. "Kurusu broke his arm!" Yes, yes he did. He fights despite it. Dunban would be proud. This exchange between the two shows how far they've come:
- Following up on that: Ikoma's sword works. There's a beautiful shot of the sword being driven into a Kabane's heart and breaking the iron cage on the way through.
- It ends with the two pulling an epic Back-to-Back Badass moment.
- As the Fused Colony catching up on the train, Yukina tries to undo the pressure limits on the boiler to essentially supercharge the train... but there's Lord Kensho's arm jamming a gear. She tells Sukari to climb under the train and unjam it, which could cost him An Arm and a Leg. It doesn't, and because of it, the train is able to speed the hell up.
- Takumi, firing the aforementioned giant-ass cannon right at the Fused Colony's chest, exposing the Kabane at its heart. Mumei leaps in and impales the central Kabane, causing the entire colony to explode into a rain of Kabane. The rest of the cast can only stand and look impressed.
- Finallly, after they Koutetsujou is seemingly safe, the train makes a sharp turn, and is in danger of derailing. Ayame gets on the tube to the rest of the train, and commands everyone to get on the train's right side and push. Every single passenger on the train is seen pushing against the wall, and the final shot of the episode is a magnificent shot of the train, having righted itself, blasting out of the station.
- And finally, finally, mention must be made to the Awesome Music that plays in the background of all this, KABANERIOFTHEIRONFORTRESS, which climaxes with a triumphant belting of the ED theme as Mumei stabs the Fused Colony through the heart.
- Ikoma managing to convince both Mumei and the rest of the Koutetsujou's travellers to have hope for the future is both this and a heartwarming moment
- The introduction of the Hunters, a team of soldiers led by Biba (Mumei's brother, the shogun's son) that reclaim the land taken by the Kabane. They're on screen for all of one minute, but every step oozes with badass.
- On a more meta side, this episode proves that while the anime is pitch perfect with combat and action, it can handle character development, small moments and slice of life humor with equal grace, a rare duality.
- Kurusu turns up again after seemingly falling to his death back in episode 9. He's apparently been following the Koutetsujou all this time, and presumably fighting the Kabane every step. He's still in pretty good shape and manages to snap Ikoma out of his slump.
- In a villainous example, Biba's plot is horifyingly effective, and executes flawlessly. In just a few well planned moves he turns the entire capital on itself and throws it into chaos, clearing the way for him to take revenge and destroy everything. And that was before he brought in the Kabane, or Mumei's Black Smoke transformation for good measure.
- Ikoma deciding to use the black blood serum, despite being warned it will kill him, and that he only has enough antidote to save Mumei.
- The entire Lock-and-Load Montage at the end of the episode is pretty epic. Ikoma rigging his piercing gun into a makeshift Arm Cannon and pulling off his neck restraint after using the black blood makes for a pretty dramatic sequence just on its own, and that's before you factor in the Awesome music playing over it.
- Black Blood powered Ikoma versus an oncoming train. Ikoma wins. He flips the entire thing over.
- Mumei finally kills Biba while trying to defend Ikoma, throwing off all her fear and doubt in the process:"I'm Hozumi."
The Battle of Unato
- The movie starts off with Mumei butchering a whole roomful of Kabane Grammaton Cleric-style. And on the frontlines, she continues to prove her One-Man Army credentials, singlehandedly protecting the rifle factory and racking up more kills on the battlefield than anyone else.
- The feral-like Wazatori in the second part once again brings back the Kabane as a seriously dangerous threat as opposed to the previous Wazatori in the latter half of the TV series. This beast's first move is to disarm Mumei of her rifle, and without a weapon her Waif-Fu is of little effect and she is forced to run. The monster very nearly crushes her to death... until Ikoma comes crashing through the ceiling and blasts the abomination to death three times in the heart with a large-caliber lever-action rifle.
- The final fight between Mumei and the corrupted Lord Kageyuki, where she scales the height of Unato Castle from the ground to the top in ten seconds and renders his Sniper Rifle useless by forcing him into a close-quarters bayonet fight.