Kabaneri are a hybrid race of human/Kabane people.
Kabaneri are neither fully human nor Kabane, but rather individuals with Kabane bodies who have managed to save their minds from entering a Kabane-state by preventing the virus from entering the brain, usually by using an asphyxiating restraint. Because of this feat, Kabaneri are able to continue as Kabane/human hybrids, possessing drastically enhanced speed, superhuman strength, reduced sensation to pain, high physical resistance, and rapid healing.
Visually, they can be distinguished from humans by their glowing heart and sometimes exhibit pulsing crimson lines under their skin, which resemble the glowing cracks on a Kabane’s skin. In some cases, such as that of Ikoma, the color of one’s skin and hair can undergo changes, which may be side-effects of the virus having spread further before being stopped.
Mumei and Ikoma both possess restraints around their necks. In Mumei’s case, removing the restraint grants access to physical power closer to that of a Kabane’s, but she becomes exhausted from fighting without it for long periods of time and must rest after that. Additionally, due to their Kabane bodies, they require blood as nourishment and are still at risk of succumbing to the virus without having a restraint on or not receiving enough blood to drink.
In Episode 8, it was revealed via flashback that Mumei transformed into a Kabaneri via Blood Injection with the help of Biba. The difference between Mumei and Ikoma is that Ikoma became a Kabaneri after being bitten, and managed to stop the virus from reaching his brain. Mumei says that she has never been bitten by a Kabane.
In Episode 10, one of Biba's men have stated that male Kabaneri are hard to find, it is currently unknown why this is the case. It is likely that surviving the process requires a high tolerance for pain, as they also assume that Ikoma's must be quite high. If so, this likely borrows from a common belief that women are genetically acclimated toward bearing acute pain for short periods of time.
According to Mumei, Kabaneri has the abilities to copy techniques.
List of known Kabaneri
- The word kabaneri is composed of the words kabane (カバネ) and hito (人), meaning human. Here, the word hito (人) is pronounced as -ri. When employed as a suffix, hito can also be pronounced as -nin, -to or -jin like in nihonjin (日本人) for Japanese people, but -ri is actually the less commonly used pronounciation of them all. It has still be chosen surely for its better sounding with the word kabane compared to the other more widespread pronunciations and also for the fact that this pronunciation doesn't have the connotation of people belonging to a coherent group (e.g. a nation) contrary to what -jin would imply.
- Enoku mentions to Mumei that she should complete her mission "While she is still human". This would imply that the kabaneri will eventually turn into kabane. It is unknown if Enoku said this to provoke and motivate Mumei to complete her mission, but Mumei's reaction seems strongly lean toward the fact that this is true. (Note: Mumei's way of making fights "timed" would support this theory that the kabaneri act on "borrowed time".)