Officialsubs Review: [Amazon/HorribleSubs] Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress (Episode 01)

Fansub Review, Pass, Spring 2016 — By on April 10, 2016 6:36 pm

This post was written by Dark_Sage. He is Dark_Sage.

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Better than your standard Funimation dumpster fire, I am surprisingly all right with Amazon’s entry into the simulcast scene.

Also, lemme know whether you like the reviews better with spoilers or without. I lose some formatting options, but I think it might be more efficient than just the Table of Contents.


Table of Contents – Mumei Fanart Edition

Introduction: Amazon vs. HorribleSubs

Release Information

Visual Quality

Script Quality




Introduction: Amazon vs. HorribleSubs



Kabaneri is part of Amazon’s “big push” into the anime simulcast scene. But with how well they’ve fucking advertised it (read: not at all), I doubt it’ll do what their corporate PowerPoints promised it would.

Anyway, I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s talk about why I called out Amazon and HorribleSubs in the title when my standard is just to pick one and review that.

Have a waifu to break up the text.

Have a waifu to break up the text.

Normally, HorribleSubs can use secret dark magic rituals to grab shows from official providers as soon as they air. Here the ritual failed, so they had to transcribe it — a process which makes it possible for corrections to be made, but also for errors to be introduced. Overall, transcription tends to be a wash, so I’ll be reviewing the Prime version of the subs and you can take it as applicable to both.

Ignoring the script, I’ll attempt to point out the notable differences between the two releases. There are enough that it should prove useful in determining your ideal choice between the two. We’ll get to the fansubs later in the season, per standards I set in 2011 which clearly in no way need to be updated at all.



Release Information



Episode details.

Release format (Amazon): Streaming (requires Prime subscription to watch)

Release format (HorribleSubs): 720p MKV (415 MB, 8-bit), 480p MKV (210 MB, 8-bit)

Japanesiness: Honorifics. Japanese terminology retained (Bushi, Kabane).

English style: American English.

Encoding details (HorribleSubs):

Speed (Amazon): Simulcast.

Speed (HorribleSubs): Quick (<48 hours)



Visual Review












Rating: Okay.

Functional is about the best you can expect from an official release, but that they actually translated the ED (and presumably the OP, come episode 2) counts for a lot in my book. Guess that’s what happens when you pay your way onto the production committee.












Neither provides exceptional quality, but HorribleSubs at least understands how to present typeset information.




Even without taking into account the annoying broadcast announcements and the ever-semi-visible Fuji TV logo, the Amazon release looks much nicer than HorribleSubs’s.





Conversely, when watching with HorribleSubs, you aren’t incentivized to claw out your fucking eyes whenever you happen to bump your fucking mouse.


Good gods, Amazon.

I’ll give the nod to Amazon here, under the assumption you don’t have a shitty internet connection and can actually stream Amazon’s version in HD.



Script Review





I may be missing a plot point that comes up later, but in keeping with how generic anime music is, this should probably be “friends”.


Main Script.

Though technically competent, a lack of creativity in the script leaves much to be desired.

Amazon_Kabaneri_repe Amazon_Kabaneri_tition

Words are constantly repeated back-to-back like a B-grade middle school essay. This back-and-forth was particularly uninspired:

Ayame: “It’s my father’s steam gun. It’s having some problems, so I was hoping someone could take a look.”

Takumi: “Ayame-sama. She is beautiful.”

Ikoma: “She is the bushi princess.”

That’s not a fucking conversation so much as it’s bits of English splattered across a screen. I don’t wanna belabor the point, cuz then I’d be no better than Amazon, but there are a few other instances of low-quality awkwardness in the script. If you’re conscious I’m sure you can find them yourself.

People deserve better. No– I deserve better. Amazon, get your shit together.



Hey Amazon, go take a steam gun to your temples. Surely you have enough money for a 30-minute QC. And if you don’t, maybe Bezos could cut divert some from his budget for the strap-ons which he is literally fucking me with here.



fewer = things you count

less = things you don’t

This is one of those rules that becomes less and less relevant as time goes on and the language evolves, but here it stepped on my balls hard enough to elicit a reaction.

(Understand my rules are really fucking basic in these posts and that they do not apply to all situations. I could write an entire post about the nuances of “less” vs “fewer” but I’d get bored halfway through, so I won’t. If you want more structure to your understanding, I recommend hitting up Google for dry lectures by people far more virgin than I.)



Unless the crux of the English language has changed since I last checked, this shit is as wrong as diet Dr. Pepper. When you’re referring to a person by a nickname or title that you use commonly, it should be capitalized. Basically, throw it into uppercase when the name is a substitution.

“Almost time, Brother.” = “Almost time, Kabukitero.” (or whatever the fuck his name is)

Now, if the nickname is less a nickname than a reference, you keep it lowercase.

“Almost time, friendo.” (note that “friendo” should never be used in anime subtitles, let alone any human conversation)

Logic jumps are required for this shit, but it shouldn’t take many for the editor here to realize that she probably calls this “brother” of hers the same name all the fucking time. I bet they fuck.



The fuck is this, Zero Wing? I’m trying to jerk off to her porcelain figure like a normal human being and then Amazon comes in with this crotch-killing Engrish bullshit. Not acceptable. v2 please.





Watchability: Watchable.

Overall grade: Pass.

This may end up being my anime of the forever, so when I say you can watch this with the officialsubs without fear of a much-neutered experience, you can guarantee I thought this shit through. The issues I presented aren’t enough to require you to avoid this shit — just keep in mind it ain’t gonna all be perfect.

Assuming you have no other considerations, the Amazon Prime version will be the best avenue in which to get the “official” release. Elsewise, HorribleSubs is still a reasonable choice.

I’ll review the fansub options in-depth come episode 2. Probably. Y’all know listless this Sage can get~



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Shinny says:

Wait, Amazon? Wut.

Dark_Sage says:

All simulcast Noitamina content is now Amazon-exclusive. We are living in a brave new world.

James says:

do you get it with prime, or does it cost extra?

Dark_Sage says:

It’s included with Prime.

bossK says:

But probably only in US and UK.

Dark_Sage says:

Oh yeah, no fucking idea what it’s like outside of the US.

thecowgoesmoo says:

From the description on Amazon:

“During the industrial revolution, mankind is threatened by the sudden emergence of undead monsters who can only be killed by piercing their heart through an iron plate.”

I would pay serious money to watch Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman figure out how to pierce an iron plate with a heart. And I would pay double if they could figure out how to do so without first removing the heart from the body.

I get what they were trying to go for (“Hey guys, how do we fit the fact that their hearts are protected by an iron plate into the very first sentence?” “Uh…”), but still: -1, Amazon. Also, the Industrial Revolution should always be capitalized if they’re pretending that this has any ties to the real world/actual history.

AnonMKII says:

Decapitation seems to work as well, or so the okazu’s sandals seem to indicate.
About as bad as Yen Press’s Overlord description:
“The once popular game Yggdrasil was supposed to shut down that day. Everyone was supposed to be logged out automatically. But the players who stayed online past the moment the servers went quiet found themselves transported to a game world made real. Leading them is Momonga–a man whose love of games in the real world brought him only loneliness, now a skeletal sorcerer. The legends of Momonga and his guild begin here!”

Did the fuckwit who wrote that even read the books?

Solaristics says:

>I’ll review the fansub options in-depth come episode 2.

You mean you’ll be dead :V. Or is sagey going to undead himself?

Dark_Sage says:

No promises, but I’m really liking this season so far.

ZenMorian says:

Are you going to review Kuromukuro’s subs? (Speaking of successful simul-cast shows)

Dark_Sage says:

How about I review Kuma Miko’s instead and we call it good enough?

no says:

Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, I think there’s some sort of mistake here. There aren’t supposed to be any sub reviews on this website, right?

Dark_Sage says:

That was the plan. And then I got bored. So turns out there’ll be reviews this season. ~Sagey surprise~

Terrasux says:

DDY has nice script. Amazon just went full retard with all these random japanese words.

FichteFoll says:

So, you’re showing us a comparison of video quality by the example of one PNG screenshot and one JPEG screenshot, where one can clearly see the Typical JPEG Artifacts?

I mean, I’ve seen this shit ( in DDY’s comments as a reference to how good the TV video quality is, so there isn’t much to expect either way, but that’s just cheap.

Dark_Sage says:

Guess I couldn’t pull the wool over your eyes. You discovered my insidious plot to ruin HorribleSubs’s name. The fruits of your detectivery lie here, Captain Conspiracy:

The discrepancy wasn’t intentional, I just missed the file type difference cuz screenshots default to PNG and MPC screencaps default to JPG. Updated with the PNG version.

Dark_Sage says:

By the way, you weren’t wrong to call me out for something you thought was misleading. That’s why I have an open comments section and reviews that consist of more than a sentence. Keeping me honest benefits everyone.

Just be aware that I don’t take accusations of intentionally lying to my readers very lightly. It’s one of those things that I do take personally, for better or worse.

Period says:

Our encode should look significantly better in static scenes, in any case. And Amazon is broadcasting at 30fps, so by default their video is fucked. And that screenshot was nitpicking. Cheers

begna112 says:

excuses, excuses.

gubruikertje says:

These spoilers are fucking sht

Dark_Sage says:

Point taken, it was a stupid question.

HikariGo says:

I am interested on your take on some of the localisation decisions made by DDY that are causing some debate.

I.e. Translating Bushi to Knight and Mumei to No-Name

Hopefully a review of DDY release coming up soon.

Dark_Sage says:

I’d love to get into it, but Amazon needs to release episodes 2 and 3 first.

Hiroin says:

While you on it, please review doki release.

Both Koutetsujou and Macross.

Dark_Sage says:

Yup, and I have the Macross as more of a priority. Will try to get a review or two out tonight — weekend is packed with normalfag bullshit.

Kristen says:

I’m waiting for Netoge because I heard there are lulz to be found in some releases. :o

Dark_Sage says:

Ugh, that means I’ll have to deal with an LQ yandere. Do not want.

Kristen says:

But it also means cookies.

rsc-pl says:

I think that it’s not that bad for official subs. Definitely better job than Funi in every fuckin’ case.
And I’m glad that they left in terms like bushi or kabane. It’s not a ‘murican series.

moozooh says:

I know, right? Actually, they should have left the whole script in Japanese, because it’s a Japanese series. Duh. Not to mention that the setting perfectly depicts the Meiji era Restoration events in real-world Japan, where the samurai coexisted with armored trains brought forward by the industrial revolution and walking corpses that gave the Restoration its name. These fansub punks have zero respect towards the greatest national culture of all time.

Zop says:

Where’s the upvote button?

dood says:

Any one have an opinion on Doki’s Kabaneri?

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