(12ish episodes, noitaminA)
What’s it about ?
Steampunk zombie apocalypse, by most of the same people who brought you Attack on Titan‘s adaptation.
Most of the world (as we can see it) has already been overwhelmed by the zombies ; there are only a few pockets of survivors, built like fortresses, and connected only by armoured trains. Even then, they’re falling one by one, and there’s a sense of growing desperation and paranoia among both civilians and soldiers. They’re certainly checking thoroughly everyone who comes out of the trains for traces of infection.
Ikoma, our protagonist, is a lowly engineer working on train maintenance. His pet project, though, is building steam-guns that can actually kill zombies (as opposed to the current ones that only kill people and barely repel zombies). He’s all about taking a rational approach to fighting off the infestation (“it’s not a curse, guys !”), but I have to say that his “cure” method looks really, really dumb.
Mumei looks like someone very important, most probably the daughter of the lord of another fortress. She’s certainly important enough for her and her minder to avoid the mandatory inspection after coming by train. At first she looks like a sheltered free-spirit who’s super-bored about her own diplomatic mission, but when the shit hits the fan she displays some unexpected determination and awareness of the stakes.
On the other hand, I totally understand her disdain for the rulers of this settlement. The local lord lets his paranoid soldiers go way overboard in their paranoia, and his first reflex after a breach is to head for the one available train to escape. (And you just know there’s a fat chance of civilians getting allowed in.) His daughter seems okay, though, if very sheltered indeed.
Budget ! And very bombastic indeed, but then that’s what you get with Araki directing and Sawano scoring.
What did I think of it ?
Warning : this show is very, very dumb. Most of the characters act like morons, and some of the big moments look very silly indeed.
If you can get over that, though, there’s actually a lot to like here. Ikoma’s more brainy and less shouty than your average protagonist, Mumei is tons of fun, and it’s hard not to get swept up in the show’s escalating momentum.
It could very well collapse under the weight of its ambitions, but I’m in for the ride.