Tatsumi is a bright eyed, bushy tailed, country dweller that needs to go to the capital to send money back to his village. After a band of assassins called “Night Raid” free him from a conniving wealthy family that lured him into their home, he joins them in their mission to usurp the current ruling family who are ignoring the pain of their people.
Tatsumi is naive and weak, oh so naive and weak. His village is poor and starving so he sets out with two friends to move to the capital in order to make money and send it back to the village. Simple enough plan. But what complicates it is that the entire capital seems to produce all kinds of monstrous people who torture, kill, and plunder anything weak enough to let them. So “Night Raid” finds him interesting when they meet him at the home of a target. He joins them and realizes why he is so weak compared to most, they have these things called Imperial Arms. Imperial Arms are just long lost technology that are super powered weapons of one form or another. Is he given one? Not right away. Thinking back, I found Tatsumi pretty unremarkable. I enjoyed that how he was treated caused him to grow a little colder and to mesh with “Night Raid.” But beyond his love for his team, I struggle to point out any distinguishing factors. There was even a point in the show where he was indifferent to what he ate. It felt like there were so many chances to give personality to Tatsumi, but he really just inherited from other characters.
Never before have I thought to myself, “You know what is missing from the anime universe? A caveman assassin waifu.” Akame is a long-time Drake listener with not a lot to say. She is strictly carnivorous and not just because she has a taste for blood. Abducted by the empire and trained with her sister to be a master assassin, Akame turned against the empire, took her demonic sword (her Imperial Arm), and began executing people in the name of “Night Raid.” For being the title character…the show really isn’t about her, which is weird. I could never really get a grip on how I was supposed to feel about Akame and because of that, I never really felt any way about Akame. She is presented as someone cold, but we soon find out that she is anything but. She cares deeply for the people around her. Yet, how does that affect her? How does that change what she does? I really couldn’t tell you, even after the show. If you watch to the end you can understand why I was disappointed that this element didn’t mean anything for her character.
If you like the small, high pitched, lolli-esque girl, you found your favorite character. Mine is the group’s sniper. Her Imperial Arm is a sniper/machine gun that feeds off spiritual energy. So it’s only natural that she would be feisty and loud. I grew more and more fond of Mine as the show went on. Normally these kinds of characters are relegated to a role where we never care about them too much, but they are around just enough to be annoying. Yet, In Akame Ga Kill, we got to see Mine explored a little more. I feel like out of any of the characters that we got the best view of who she was, what she wanted, and how those affect her actions. I loved that her gun worked based on how desperate she was. As Night Raid gets closer to overthrowing the government and facing harder and harder enemies, you get the sense that she is indeed getting more and more desperate.
Leone was the catgirl of the group. Okay, so maybe she was supposed to be a lion but she looked like a catgirl. Leone was very flirtatious towards Tatsumi for someone who insisted he call her “sister” and I would be hard pressed to say she was not a fan service character given her outfit and catgirl features. I kept feeling like I should be more interested in her than I was. I wish I had a good reason for why she didn’t resonate for me. She seemed like a potential love interest and I had a strict Esdeath only policy for this show so when she disappears bizarrely at the end of the show I was confused but not mad.
Bulat is the best male character in the whole show and was done dirty. Basically the Japanese Johnny Bravo, this man not only stole my heart but then put it in his hair with all the other hearts he has stolen. You will have to enjoy the rest of him for yourself because I don’t spoil.
All hail ice queen, Esdeath. I loved her and her bizarre shift from dishing out murder darwin style to trying to find the love of her life, which she attempted to find through a fight to the death tournament. Needless to say, casual inquiries need not apply. After handing the king a detailed list of all the qualities she wanted in a lover, which mostly described a trainable gorilla that she could dominate, she naturally found that our kind-of-not-really-maybe-sort-of main character, Tatsumi, fits the bill. How else would we connect, effectively, the main villain to the main protagonist other than a romance? Esdeath is just fun though. She really doesn’t care about anything. She likes to kill people and the empire lets her do that. She likes Tatsumi so she chases him to the ends of the world. Esdeath is like those girls that drop out of university after a year to backpack Europe, if Europe was still Feudal and instead of backpacking it was a war campaign to rival Rome in its prime. Esdeath found her calling and she was really good at it so can we really blame her? I don’t think so.
So the first take went up on TikTok and I got so much more engagement than I normally do on first takes. I was told I was in for an emotional time. I was told that the ending was sad. I was told that I would leave hurt. Sadly, none of those things happened to me. Did I get sad during the show? I mean… I got disappointed when people died, but there were a lot of deaths. The show actually did a terrible job with their foreshadowing and made everything more obvious that the weatherman telling you it is supposed to rain today as water is currently coming through your open windows. Not to mention that half baked characters, a cup of terrible foreshadowing, and a metric butt ton of death was not a great combination for me to experience deep emotional moments. On the flip side, the development of characters like Mine, Tatsumi’s during the final campaign, the connection between Bulat and Tatsumi, and any scene with Esdeath really overcame a lot of the bad elements of the show.
Probably the best idea to come out of the show is that someone will die. It is a saying in the world that when two Imperial Arms users clash, at least one will die. Doesn’t that make sense? Forty-eight of the most powerful weapons in the world and there has to be a death. Thank goodness for approaching powerful weapons intelligently. Is this deep? Not at all. In fact, it just seems like something that should happen. But it causes so much more tension. Who will die? The characters I am rooting for, or the other one? Even if I was not a huge fan of most of the characters, I could at least appreciate the dilemma that was caused.
You have to wait for this idea until the very end and squint to see the development. Where do you make change? There is obviously a lot of discussion about this in America right now. Many people say that change is made from the inside. Become part of the system and change from inside the confines of what you want to change. Others say that the system does not want to change and it needs to be forced to change, from the outside. Therein lies the difference of approach between “Night Raid” and another character. Me? I would be hard pressed to sit here and tell you that I would be part of overthrowing a government. I am still trying to understand what the Bible says about such things in the context of the insurrection at the capital. Either way you look at it, things needed to change in the show and it was odd, but realistic, that one approach would resist the other.
Before TikTok, I had never seen those sushi conveyor belt restaurants. Now, I have first hand experience. Naturally you and I, the viewers, sat down and took a good look at that conveyor belt. This is when we take a whole bunch of dishes and drool over our food for a minute before someone awkwardly suggests that we dig in. So once we start eating, we figure out that some of the dishes are way better than others. Naturally we take a look at the conveyor belt for more good dishes, but wait… the dishes changed! Not only that, but we get fewer and fewer dishes. Now, take this same conveyor system, and picture it as Akame Ga Kill. We have a rotating set of characters as they are brought to the table, brutally murdered, and more characters are introduced. The first half of the show felt very directionless, we were just eating for the sake of eating. Targets seemed important at the time, but ultimately seemed meaningless once the group started campaigning towards overthrowing the government. While I praised the “Someone will die” idea, it did start to feel a bit repetitive that there were these one on one duels that there was so much build up for. So you got a classic build up to fight, someone died, team gets angrier and sadder, add new teammate, repeat. I would have loved to see some change ups. The best fights of the show were team fights so it was a bit disappointing to see them lean so much on this solo fighting trope.
I was so happy that I guessed the age range that this animation was from. I was talking to Randy about it when I told him that I guessed that Akame Ga Kill (2014) was from 2005-2015. He looked away quickly then back at me before not saying anything. Then it dawned on me. That is a very large range and not a very impressive guess. Here I was thinking that I had the thick black edge lines pinned to a specific time and all I was doing was guessing a ten year gap.
Regardless! I liked the style of Akame Ga Kill. Thick lines really gave a solid feel to the characters. It feels a little dated given the style that we are used to seeing from anime from this decade, but it was familiar. There were no scenes that stood out to me as canvas print worthy or that I could see making a montage, but it was just solid. Good use of style for humor, lots of blood, interesting single frame paintings. I have to say some of my favorite animation happened in fights that Seryu Ubiquitous was in. I won’t say too much because it spoils but I love how crazy she was and how the animation around her fights were action packed and just absolutely explosive.
You all might not know it yet, but there is a specific setting that annoys me beyond comprehension. It is the generic desert mesas that just have tons of circular platforms raised above the ground. This is the laziest and most uninteresting setting ever. Ninety percent of the time it makes zero sense contextually and is almost never important to the story. But that was the story for most of the series. I never felt like the locations were important to the story. At one point “Night Raid” had to leave their stronghold, which was very obvious and out in the open by the way, to go to another stronghold that was exactly that same… There were two coliseum scenes. The first one made a good deal of sense, felt like part of the city and fit in. The second one felt like it was conjured out of the air. Beyond locations feeling discontinuous or out of place, there just wasn’t a lot of interest generated from the world.
Danger beasts were these odd monsters that kind of played a role in the show and kind of didn’t. None of the people in villages seem equipped to deal with them… at all. Not that this is surprising because they were often tens of feet tall and able to knock over buildings with a single swoop, but it begs questions. How did humans survive with these beasts around? Why do none of these villages have people who defend them? Why do humans not all live in walled cities? None of that really makes sense to me. Also they should rename them to something cooler and not so… straightforward.
Let’s talk about the Imperial Arms. There are forty-eight of these weapons. These weapons have amazing powers from suits of powered armor to regeneration powers. Technology such as this is presented to us as beyond the limits of the current world. Yet, I felt so confused by this. How is it that the empire had people who could turn emotional energy into projectiles but they are still running on horsepower, literally. I get that the king died, but if people are making these weapons I feel like they could take some ideas from their weapons and maybe… make a gear? Perhaps they could power other things with spirit energy?
It’s hard for me to be immersed in a world where I have so many questions like this. Not good questions but questions like, “Did they not think of that? Did this make sense to them? Where do they see this location in their world being?”
I am not even going to lie, I determined this score solely on a gut check and a single detail. Why? Because it’s my blog, dang it. It was like the first or second episode and Tatsumi was in a bar with Leone. The bar music actually sounded like it was far away. Like if I turned to my right and looked down a set of stairs I would see some old guy with a greying beard sitting on a stool with some people behind him playing for me. I can not get this detail out of my head. It has made me reconsider all sources of music as ambiance. Other than that, the music did it’s job. I can’t imagine the score won awards but that one detail stuck with me enough to give it a decent score.
|Category||Points Given||Points Possible|
|I am interested in the characters in the story||4||6|
|I liked the emotion the story made me feel||4||6|
|The story brings up interesting ideas||3||6|
|I felt the pacing of the show was appropriate||3||4|
|The animation in the show is beautiful||3||4|
|I am interested in the world that the story takes place in||2||3|
|I felt that the music added to the story in a meaningful way||2||3|
Akame Ga Kill had a great concept with straight to the point fights. Some characters were interesting but too often the focused characters seemed to lack ramifications of their personalities and the world was terribly underdeveloped. Akame is just outside of a show that I would recommend but would certainly confirm someone’s will to watch it if they asked.