Is there really a possibility that a second season of “Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress”, an original anime that aired in 2016 and attracted many anime fans, will be produced?
We’re going to thoroughly examine it from a variety of angles, including disc sales, subsequent developments, distribution status, and games!
Steampunk and dark fantasy by gorgeous staff
The first information about “Kabaneri of the Iron Castle” was announced at the “Noitamina Project Presentation 2015” event held in November 2014, along with “How to Raise a Saenai Kanojo”, “Punch Line”, “Rampo Kitan Game of Laplace”, and “Everything Becomes F”.
At that time, it was thought to be broadcasted within 2015, but since April 2015, the Noitamina frame was changed from two broadcast slots to one, and due to this change, it was broadcasted in the spring of 2016.
Therefore, the title was announced more than a year before it was to be aired, so there was quite a gap, but that didn’t dampen my expectations until the start of the broadcast.
The reason for this is that the production of this anime had quite a splendid staff.
The animation production was done by WIT STUDIO, and the director was Tetsuro Araki.
This combination naturally reminds anime fans of “The Amazing Spider-Man”.
Furthermore, this work is a dark fantasy just like “The Colossus of March”, which caused quite a stir when it was announced.
What drew even more attention was the fact that Haruhiko Mikimoto’s name was credited as the original character designer.
Speaking of Mr. Mikimoto, he worked on popular works from the 1980s to early 1990s such as “The Super Dimension Fortress Macross,” “Macross 7,” and “Aim for the Top! and other popular works from the 1980s to early 1990s, and was the character designer that excited anime fans the most at the time.
In other words, he is a veteran.
Normally, many people would say that his designs are “old-fashioned” or “nostalgic,” but the characters of Kabaneri designed by Mr. Mikimoto at …… are certainly reminiscent of his designs of the past, but with a modern touch. Many young anime fans praised the work.
The series composition was done by Ichirō Okochi of “Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion.
As this is an original anime by eminent members who have worked on blockbuster works in the past, the broadcast started with a lot of expectations.
The story is set in “Hinomoto”, an island country in the Far East where steam engines have been developed. It is a steampunk and dark fantasy that depicts the battle between humanity and “Kabane”, immortal monsters that have a vampire-like habit of infecting people who bite them and turning them into their own kind.
The protagonist, Ikoma, is a young man who has a strong aversion to Kabane and his weakness, having fled in fear when his sister was bitten by one.
He meets a mysterious girl, Mumei, who is a passenger of an armored steam locomotive “KOTETSUJO”, and the story describes how he becomes a “Kabaneri” who is bitten by a Kabane but retains his humanity, and aims to protect the people who ride on KOTETSUJO to reach the biggest fortress in the Shogunate, “Kongo gaku”.
Many anime fans were fascinated by the powerful battles and the royal story of the duo of Ikoma, who, despite her outward appearance, is direct and passionate and shows strong persistence, and Mumei, whose physical strength is unbelievable for a 12-year-old and whose fighting ability overwhelms Kabane, and it became a hot topic as expected.
Success on the sales front! Any chance of a second term?
The Blu-ray and DVD (disc) sales of Kabaneri of the Iron Castle were a hit, averaging over 6,000 copies for all three volumes.
The spring 2016 school year had a lot of high-profile works such as “Macross Delta”, “Re: Zero to Start a New Life”, “JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable”, and “High School Fleet”, so it was not the top of the coolest, but the numbers were enough to produce a sequel.
In fact, right after the end of the broadcast, in July 2016, it was announced that a compilation would be released in theaters, clearly showing early signs of looking ahead to the “next” episode.
Then, in December 2016, news broke that a new work had been decided to be produced, and many fans expected a second season. …… Later, it turned out to be a medium-length movie version, not a second season.
Nevertheless, the film, which was released in May 2019 under the title “Kabaneri of the Iron Castle: Haimon Kessen”, focused on Mumei’s emotions and thoughts that were not depicted much in the main story, and while it was a legitimate sequel, the content strengthened the main story and won high praise from many fans.
However, due to the fact that three years had passed since the broadcast of the main story, and the fact that it was distributed on Amazon Prime Video and Netflix at the same time as the theatrical release, the discs released in December 2019 did not grow much for the theatrical version, and ended up selling between 4,000 and 5,000 copies.
Taking these results into account, we will explore the possibility of a second season of Kabaneri.
First of all, in terms of sales, the disc sales of the main story have been enough to reach the second season line.
However, at that time, WIT STUDIO had a big title, “Shingeki no Kyojin”, so it would have been difficult to make a one-course production of “Kabaneri” with a lot of drawing calories.
As for the disc sales of the theatrical version, it is undeniable that it was at a disadvantage in terms of sales compared to the regular theatrical version because it started its distribution early, as mentioned above, so it can be considered as a reference record.
Kabaneri has been rated very high on Amazon Prime Video, with over 400 ratings for the main story and over 500 for the movie version.
That’s how many people are expected to watch this work via streaming.
On Biribiri Video, more than 80 million views were recorded.
This is high enough for a work of its time and can be said to have been well received overseas.
Looking at these results, I can’t say that it is at a level …… where it would be strange if a second season didn’t come, but I can say that it is a work that is well worth producing a second season.
Especially in terms of distribution, dark fantasy with flashy battles is one of the most popular genres overseas, and considering the expansion of the distribution market, we can expect to see numbers higher than the first season.
So what about the production environment?
WIT STUDIO, which produced the animation up to the theatrical version, has left the production of the 4th season.
Therefore, if they are not working on other major projects, they may have more leeway in terms of schedule than before.