Anime Reviews: Akame Ga Kill!

Director: Tomoki Kobayashi; 2014
Director: Tomoki Kobayashi; 2014

CAUTION: Might contain spoilers.

The world is a terrible place. It seems that the only ways to ensure your survival in it are to either come across a great sum of money (or preferably someone else’s), find yourself a nice little town to rule over with an iron fist, or get yourself a fearsome-looking weapon, cast off all delusions of fear, remorse and pity, and find yourself some helpless peasants to brutalize. Otherwise, when you’re not playing a victim of greed, tyranny, or bloodlust, you find yourself outside the city walls where there are horrible monsters known as “Danger Beasts” who would just love to have you for dinner...in the ironic sense.

Enter Tatsumi, a naive country boy who is traveling to the capital city for the first time, sent out with two companions to find their overtaxed village some much-needed financial relief. After a pretty looking girl treats him to a meal (and then steals his wallet) he is taken in by a kind young noblewoman and her family. Little does he realize that his hostess is the latest target of Night Raid, a ragtag team of anti-government assassins who take it upon themselves to eradicate the scum of the town with the help of specialized and highly convoluted weapons known as Imperial Arms. Tatsumi eventually crosses paths with this group, in particular the dark-haired one named Akame as well as the girl who stole his wallet, and by the end of the episode ends up joining up with them when the nice lady he was staying with turns out to be from a family of homicidal maniacs. Also, since it’s revealed that said nice lady happened to come across and also gruesomely murder his travelling companions and he ends up killing her rather messily, there’s nowhere else for him to go, really.

By now you should have a pretty good idea of what Akame Ga Kill! has to offer—it’s a medieval-type fantasy series with lots of girls and lots of action. There are swords, there are fights, and for those of you who are into that sort of thing, there is plenty of blood, plenty of violence, and the occasional decapitation and disembodiment. And the villains (most of them, at least) are of course murderous, psychotic and at times those whom you would least expect—not that our main protagonists are any more noble by comparison. The weapons are nothing to sneeze at, either—complex high-powered instruments of destruction referred to as Imperial Arms which augment each character’s power significantly at their fullest potential. If it’s one thing this show knows how to do, it’s paint a grim, violent, convincing picture of its own little crapsack world.

And that is its main problem, frankly—it does its job a little TOO well.

A word of advice for newcomers—DO NOT. GET ATTACHED. TO ANYBODY. The series is so focused on maintaining its blood-soaked setting that it leaves very little room for plot or character development. Cast additions are introduced and then killed off as quickly as they come on with only brief flashbacks to show for it, and those that are on-screen the longest are only treated with that much more dignity. The most interesting character is Akame, who has a sister with whom she is destined to enter into a death match with; in second place is Tatsumi whose predicament is what starts the show off in the first place, and then at a VERY distant third would have to be Mine, the gun-toting pink-haired one who only stands out because she’s the tsundere and is annoying. On the other side you have a ten-year-old emperor and the Santa-Claus-lookalike prime minister who mooches off his power, as well as the murderous general Esdeath who has quite a large bust and adds a weird dimension to the harem angle by being suddenly overcome with passion for the hapless Tatsumi. And not that the newer characters stick out that much either; partway through the show Esdeath starts her own murder squad similar to Night Raid—the Jaegers, as they’re called—who are all basically carbon copies of current or previous members of Night Raid and aren’t all that deep, with the single exception of one girl with a dog-like Imperial Arms and an unhealthy obsession with justice.

And then you have the writing, which appears to have been done by someone who took pointers from watching the extended fight scenes in Bleach. The setting switches from action to comedy often enough to give someone whiplash, sometimes when we’re in the middle of a battle, and of course, since our protagonist is a guy who’s in a group full of pretty women, there’s fan service galore.

Plus, in yet another instance where the anime is only twenty-four episodes while the manga is still being written, the last five episodes create an entirely new and entirely rushed ending where they ramp up the body count to a ridiculous extent. Then the random character deaths get ridiculous to the point where...well, there was one character death in particular that completely threw me for a loop. It’s at the end of the next-to-last episode, and it’s a character who has had more screen time than Akame, whose name is in the fricking title. I’m guessing you know who I’m talking about by now, which thwarts my attempt to not spoil it. And by that point most of the rest of the cast was already dead anyway and many of the plot points were already resolved, so I ended up watching a finale that I just couldn’t bring myself to care about.

Do you like intense action scenes? Do you like pretty girls? Do you like anime with swords and blades that don’t skimp on the gore and dismemberment? Then by all means give Akame Ga Kill! a watch, as it’s a show that certainly fails to disappoint in those departments. Otherwise, I strongly recommend you find something better, as the battles, the boobies, and the blood are pretty much this series’ major—and only—selling points.

tl,dr:

PROS
CONS
plenty of action, violence, action violence
sacrifices writing quality for setting; serious lack of plot and character development

Akame Ga Kill!: awesome or crap?

  • Awesome
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