Review of Akame Ga Kill (Collection One)

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When Akame Ga Kill begins viewers are introduced to a plucky swordfighter named Tatsumi. The young blade master, who is able to topple colossal beasts with the aid of his steel weapon, is on a pilgrimage to the big city in search of employment. Tatsumi seeks coinage to help alleviate his village’s financial hardships, but sadly for him finding a job isn’t easy (I guess the recession’s effects can be felt even in animated fantasy worlds.) In episode one poor Tatsumi is left out of pocket after a buxom blonde swindles him out of his savings. To make matters worse his hopes of enlisting in the army are promptly rejected. Oddly enough, recruitment officers dislike applicants who demand that they should commence their armed forces career at the rank of captain. Go figure.

OVERVIEW

Akame Ga Kill is an anime based on Takahiro’s ongoing manga. The series chronicles the adventures of Tatsumi who, after the events transcribed above, is forced to band together with a group of assassins named Night Raid. Presumably, if you can’t make enough scratch to save your village, you might as well join the rebels who are plotting to dethrone the corrupt officials responsible for taxing your homeland into poverty. Although Night Raid is outnumbered in terms of manpower they pose a threat to the land’s immoral government, as they possess an arsenal of Imperial Arms. These mystical weapons confer their wielders with all manner of powers. The Spectator headpiece for example can read minds whilst the Phantasmagoria cosmetic kit could make someone like Steve Buscemi look beautiful, given that it can alter a person’s appearance.

Night Raid’s ranks consist of seven colourful characters. Najenda is the silver haired leader who sports a prosthetic arm. The titular Akame, who is awfully possessive about her food, carries a poisonous Katana that can slay any assailant with one swipe. Mine is a twin-tailed sharpshooter whose firearm deals damage proportional to the peril its owner is facing. Leone, who conned Tatsumi out of his cash in episode one, is able to transform into a beefy cat girl. Sheele is a clumsy bespectacled beauty that wields giant scissors, which can slice through anything (even the annoying plastic packaging ink cartridges are encased in.) Lubbock is a womanizer capable of manipulating enchanted threads and last, but not least, is the armour-clad homosexual known as Bulat. I’m sure gay guys find his combo of muscular torso and an Elvis hairdo to be irresistible.

VERDICT

My rating for Akame Ga Kill (Collection One) is three and a half stars. I almost dropped the series due to its mediocre start, but thankfully things got steadily better as the story advanced. Part of the improvement can be attributed to Night Raid tackling mightier foes, in the later instalments, which resulted in some exhilarating (and rather visceral) action sequences. My interest in the show was also fuelled by morbid curiosity. Who will perish next? Much like Game of Thrones, Akame Ga Kill’s cast is not protected by plot armour. Villains and heroes can meet their demise at any moment; so don’t get too attached to anyone. If a minor character begins to recount their tragic origins do beware – fishing for audience sympathy is normally an indicator that the death flag is about to be hoisted.

Perhaps Akame Ga Kill’s biggest failing is how it careens between comedy and tragedy. Using levity to make a sombre plot more palatable isn’t a bad thing per say, but Akame Ga Kill’s writers don’t seem to know when it is appropriate to deliver a gag. Tatsumi engaging in slapstick can really kill the mood, when you consider that the preceding scene had him tearfully lamenting the passing of his friends. Hopefully the script will improve in that regard come collection two. From what I have heard the second half of Akame Ga Kill diverges from its source material, resulting in a definitive finale. I’m all for avoiding an unresolved cliffhanger, but let us hope that the anime original content doesn’t signal a dip in quality. No one wants another example of Incognito replacing Nazi vampires or the Gate of Alchemy leading to Germany, when the comic book alternative was so much cooler.

35 thoughts on “Review of Akame Ga Kill (Collection One)

    • So far I have only watched the first twelve episodes so I am probably not the person to ask. Although I enjoyed what I saw the series could turn into a train wreck during the latter half for all I know. I think the show started to improve by episode seven so if it didn’t wow you by then I’d say it is safe to assume that Akame Ga Kill is not for you.

    • Same, although I didn’t get nearly that far. I should have known better, you always do need to invest the time to figure out if you’re going to enjoy most animes, but it just didn’t grab me. Maybe worth another try, if I find myself in the mood.

  1. I vaguely remember seeing an episode of this on Adult Swim, and not being able to get invested. I’m glad to know I’m not the only one. I thought It might have just been me.

    • The series seemed to be popular, back when it was airing, but a lot of people didn’t like how it ended. I suspect that the constant killing of popular characters meant that you weren’t the only person to give up on the show.

  2. It certainly does like to think of itself as “the game of thrones” of anime. The problem I have with this show, is that it kills off characters way too quickly. It doesn’t allow you to invest in any of the characters, except the core ones. I pretty much finished this show a while back. The show does follow the manga as closely as it can. But as it gets past certain episodes (due to the lack of material at the time), put it this way. The ending……..

    • yeah this is how i see it. i was shocked when the first two died and then it was just kinda like “really? another one?”
      the only characters i was even slightly invested in were akame and tatsumi.

  3. I was expecting Akame to be quite a b. I was actually surprised she didn’t fall into the usual female tsundere category. Bulat is pretty entertaining too. The deaths though…like you said, makes it hard to know to really get attached when there’s a high chance they’ll be killed.

  4. This is a very polarising show. I’ve seen some five star reviews, a few middling ones (like mine 😉 ) and a some out and out hatred for it. Animatsu have given it the Special Edition treatment so they clearly believe in it.

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  6. I finally saw the anime, so now I can visit here. I noticed that this anime play a little bit like Game of Thrones, even though I don’t watch. It was quite difficult to get attached to people knowing that they would get killed. Anyway, nice review. 😉

      • Hello The Otaku Judge,

        I am sorry to jump in again, but I am surprised that you have not seen Game Of Thrones yet. 😮

        I was like you once, I kept hearing people mention it so I watched a trailer for the first season and I was not impressed, the trailer made it look boring so I expected to hate it; but I decided to try the first season anyway.

        It started slow but I was hooked by maybe the 3rd episode, my brother GC watched it with me, and we got caught up with the show and we have kept up with it ever since.

        During the break between seasons we even watch some lore videos:

        I liked the earlier seasons better than he last season or two, but the show is still definitely worth watching.

        -John Jr

      • To be honest, I never seen Game of Thrones, but I heard it does mention a lot of deaths and plot twists. In Akame ga Kill, I ended up getting attached to characters.

      • Hello Matthew,

        Game Of Thrones is like its own little world, I recommend at least giving season 1 a try to see if you think that you want to continue watching it or not.

        -John Jr

      • You are welcome Matthew.

        The new season is probably not going to air this year at all and may air next year, and so that should give you even more time.

        -John Jr

      • Hello Matthew,

        Yep, this is the first time since I started watching Game Of Thrones that they are supposed to skip a year, which is unusual.

        -John Jr

      • Hello Matthew,

        I missed the first few seasons when they first aired and I had to go back and watch them so I am not sure about that period of time, but this has not happened before since I first got caught up with the show.

        -John Jr

      • You are welcome Matthew.

        I think this possible last season is possibly going to be the shortest as far as number of episodes, but the episodes will possibly be longer; my guess is that they want to end big so they probably need more time to set everything up (hopefully quality over quantity), and maybe they want to film during a certain season so that the weather matches.

        -John Jr

      • Hello Matthew,

        You are probably correct about that, I imagine that they have an epic conclusion planned with huge set pieces and battles with many extras, et cetera.

        -John Jr

  7. Hello The Otaku Judge,

    I saw Akame Ga Kill when it aired on Toonami a few years ago, but for some reason I can not remember much of it even though I saw all of it and I did not hate it or anything; I possibly saw this and Kill La Kill about the same time.

    I do not remember ever wanting to give up on it, like I did with Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn (which should probably be called Mobile Suit Gundam Convoluted) which is the only anime in the Toonami lineup that me and my brother GC stopped watching in the last few years, but I could be wrong.

    Thank you for sharing your review,
    -John Jr

    • I watched a bit of Gundam Wing back in the day, but didn’t stick with it. Looks like I am more of a Robotech (Macross) man. Kill La Kill is much better than Akame Ga Kill. This anime was okay, but nothing special. Perhaps that explains why you have a tough time remembering it.

      • Hello The Otaku Judge,

        I watched a bit of Gundam Wing back then too, but I probably did not get to see it all either (I probably missed some episodes).

        I do not think that I have seen Robotech (Macross) before, but I could be wrong.

        You are probably right about that, and I possibly liked Kill La Kill better as well.

        -John Jr

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