(Note:I wrote this shortly after the series came out but I just discovered it was incorrectly posted under an audio cord I had bought so I've moved it here as almost everything about the review still stands.)
This is one of the most incredible animes I have seen in a long time. Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress is a stunning blend of the steampunk and zombie genres by director Tetsurō Araki and producers Kōji Yamamoto, George Wada, Yuka Okayasu and Yōhei Shintaku. Inspired by Attack on Titan, it surpasses the earlier work with its breathtaking 80s-style visuals and gripping story, penned by Ichirō Ōkouchi. The music is lush and inspiring, even in the anime's darkest moments. I give the anime five stars. As for Amazon Prime's straming of the series... I'll explain later.
Tens years after a mysterious virus transforms infected humans into Kabane, Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress's industrial revolution-era Hinomoto is overrun by the undead. With the only method of killing them being to shatter the kabane's hearts, guarded by an iron ribcage, the uninfected retreat to the relative security of train stations that they have fortified. The stations become city-states ruled over by noblemen. Travel and commerce between these fortresses is accomplished by armored steam engine-powered trains, called Hayajiro.
One day one of the Hayajiro, the Kotetsujo (Iron Fortress) arrives at Aragane Station with two mysterious passengers, Shimon and Mumei, who are allowed in without the required inspection to prove they are not kabane. A steamsmith named Ikoma is detained for insubordination after a guard summarily executes a passenger who refuses the inspection but is visited by Mumei, a young girl.
Another Hayajiro arrives before schedule and rams the defensive wall of Aragane Station. It is filled with kabane that have overrun the train to use it to gain access to the fortress. Ikoma manages to escape his detention cell with the help of Mumei and returns home to test the newest version of his kabane-fighting weapon, a bolt gun. He is successful in killing a kabane but is bitten in the attempt. He manages to stop the virus from infecting his brain but turns into a hybrid, the Kabaneri of the title. He manages to make it to the Kotetsujo , which evacuates those that it could, and is allowed on when Mumei vouches for him. Soon after, he discovers that she is also a kabaneri. thus starts their adventures as the crew and passengers of the Kotetsujo attempt to find sanctuary in the capital of Hinomoto, the shougnate city of Kongokaku.
Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress is what Attack on Titan should have been. I stopped watching AoT after two episodes for many reasons--the gratuitous nudity and gore (even for an anime series), the plodding plot and the way the producers and writers couldn't decide if it was a horror series or a comedy series. This series, however, avoids all of those pitfalls and is a gripping story that moves at the pace of the Kotetsujo at full speed.
I wish I could say as much for the quality of Amazon Prime's video stream. Whether in 1080P HD or 480P SD, Amazon's streaming quality was lackluster at best. The 1080P HD stream suffered from constant stuttering that bordered on buffering and the 480P SD stream was reminiscent of the bad old days of YouTube. I don't think that it's a problem with my system (HP Elitebook 8540w with a NVIDIA Quadro FX 880M video card running Windows 10 and fed by Cox Cable 100 MBs internet) as I have little to no problem with Crunchyroll, Netflix or YouTube's 1080P content. Even with that, the 480P SD version of Crunchyroll, Funimation, The Anime Network, Hulu, Netflix and YouTube all stand head and shoulders above Amazon Prime.
To top it off, you are unable to choose to fix the stream on 1080P. The Amazon Prime player's setting are either SD or Auto and trying to get it to display 1080P when it has selected 480P is nearly impossible. I expect more from the streaming service that costs to most to subscribe to annually (even if it does come come with free two day shipping!) Jeff Bezos, you need to have your Amazon Prime streaming player improved!