As the world is in the middle of an industrial revolution, a monster appears that cannot be defeated unless its heart, which is protected by a layer of iron, is pierced. By infecting humans with its bite, the monster can create aggressive and undead creatures known as Kabane. On the island Hinomoto, located in the far east, people have built stations to shelter themselves from these creatures. People access the station, as well as transport wares between them, with the help of a locomotive running on steam, called Hayajiro. Ikoma, a boy who lives in the Aragane station and helps to build Hayajiro, creates his own weapon called Tsuranukizutsu in order to defeat the creatures. One day, as he waits for an opportunity to use his weapon, he meets a girl named Mumei, who is excused from the mandatory Kabane inspection. During the night, Ikoma meets Mumei again as he sees Hayajiro going out of control. The staff on the locomotive has turned into the creatures. The station, now under attack by Kabane, is the opportunity Ikoma has been looking for.
A young boy who makes a living as a steamsmith at Aragane Station. He and his good friend Takumi developed a bolt gun-like weapon called a piercing gun in order to defeat the Kabane. When Aragane Station is invaded by Kabane, Ikoma is able to successfully test his piercing gun but is bitten by a Kabane in the process. He is able to prevent the virus from reaching his brain by blocking his carotid arteries, transforming him into a Kabaneri.
A mysterious girl who boards the Hayajiro Kotetsujo and appears at Aragane Station. She is revealed to be a Kabaneri as well as a very strong and agile fighter, capable of killing dozens of Kabane with ease. Constant fighting can leave her sleepy and like Ikoma, requires blood to stop herself from attacking other people. Her birth name is Hozumi.
The eldest daughter of the Yomokawa family, which governs Aragane Station. After her father is infected, she becomes the leader of the Aragane survivors. Despite her noble status, she’s reasonable and understanding, even offering her blood to the Kabaneri.
A young Bushi who serves the Yomokawa family as Ayame’s personal bodyguard. Among Bushi his skill with a sword is considerable. He is usually somber and honest, and he maintains his honor as a Bushi. Despite resenting Ikoma, he eventually recognizes the Kabaneri’s usefulness. He is later given a reinforced katana that can pierce a Kabane’s heart with ease.
Ikoma’s best friend and fellow steam smith, who helped him develop his piercing gun.
Ikoma and Takumi’s friend and fellow steam smith. She takes care of the children that lost their families to the Kabane.
A crew member of the Kotetsujo. A stoic and taciturn girl who, despite being only an apprentice, becomes the Kotetsujo’s engineer out of necessity.
A steam smith who lives at Aragane Station. Despite his aloof personality, he’s a good mechanic and a decent fighter.
A Bushi who serves the Yomokawa family. Unlike other Bushis, he’s reasonable and even friendly to the Kabaneri. He and his fellow Bushi are later given reinforced bullets that can penetrate the Kabane more easily.
The train’s chief mechanic, who’s hair is styled like a 17th century wig and speaks with english phrases. Also served as narrator for each episodes’ preview.
The Captain of the Kabane Hunters and the eldest son of the Shogun.
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