By way of a friend, I was able to see Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress, and I absolutely adore it. But I think I adore the anime for some of the same reasons it gets a lot – a lot – of bad reviews.
It’s not epic.
And it’s not really horror, zombie-vampires or not, and there’s not really fanservice, but… mainly, it’s not epic. It is, specifically, action-adventure on a very small, personal scale. Think Firefly on a train with a bigger cast of characters, you won’t go too far wrong.
Which suits me just fine. I’m kind of burned out on epic. There’s only so many times a writer can go, “The fate of the world is at stake!” and still not leave my suspension of disbelief spindled, folded, and mutilated.
(Dresden Files, I’m looking at you. And don’t get me started on the Wheel of Time. I gave up on that series… five or six books in, I think.)
Epic fantasy and SF fills the bookshelves in stores. It sells. A lot of people like it. More power to them.
I want something smaller. Something quieter. Something without vast Armies of Evil moving across the helpless towns of the kingdom, or thousands of faceless souls dying to show how depraved and evil the bad guys are. Something where it’s not the fate of the world at stake, it’s the fate of the characters’ personal world that’s at stake.
You might say I want something cuddlier. People caring about each other. Fluff.
Andre Norton stories; P.M. Griffin’s Star Commandos, Susan Dexter’s Wind-Witch. Those are the stories I come back to, again and again. Stories that are about people, and how they dig deep to find the grit needed to keep going, whatever the world throws at them.
Kabaneri’s going in that pile.
(Also, the art is made of Awesome. Seriously, the sky-scapes in Kabaneri ought to be framed.)