Brexit, countless celebrity deaths and No Man’s Sky failing to live up to the hype – by all accounts 2016 has been a rather depressing year. In case those aforementioned news stories haven’t soured your mood enough, worry not because Animatsu Entertainment has just released collection two of Akame ga Kill in the UK. Get ready to put the Samaritans on speed-dial, because this three-disc DVD set is saturated with despair inducing moments. Much like the first collection, which came out half a year ago, this anime adaptation of Takahiro’s manga isn’t shy about killing off its cast of likable characters. Why must you subject us to such cruelty Takahiro? The answer to that question is a mystery, just like why the show is named after a heroine who barely gets any screen time.
Collection two begins with Night Raid’s assassins and The Jaegers temporarily ceasing their hostilities to combat a common threat – namely murderous mutants who are running amok, after their creator met his untimely demise back in episode eleven. During the Death Beast purge Tatsumi and General Esdeath cross paths, before ending up on an uninhabited island courtesy of a third party’s portable teleporter. The unplanned trip gives the unlikely couple some quality alone time, much to Tatsumi’s discomfort. It’s always a laugh watching the sadistic ice queen lust after Tatsumi, even if the script never adequately explains why she is so attracted to him. I guess Tatsumi, like all male anime protagonists, oozes harem magnetism.
After the romantic getaway concludes Night Raid launches an assault on the capital. Standing between them and the nation’s corrupt leaders are the superhuman Jaegers. The stakes are high because, as previously established, when two Imperial Arm users meet one is certain to perish. Several scores are settled in the ensuing duels. Hoping to avenge the death of Sheele, sharpshooter Mine takes on cyborg (anti-social) justice warrior Seryu Ubiquitous and her canine companion Koro. Akame also gets the opportunity to confront her equally gluttonous sis Kurome, who we learn resents her sibling for joining the rebel forces. In a battle between the wielder of a poisonous blade and a warrior, who possesses a sword imbued with necromancy magic, who shall emerge victorious?
My rating for Akame ga Kill (Collection Two) is three stars. Just like the previous instalment, the highlight of the show has to be its action set pieces. Blood soaked Shonen goodness that isn’t padded out with superfluous filler or fifteen minutes of power-up yelling (forget Senzu Beans, give me a lozenge because my throat hurts from all that shouting.) I especially appreciated how cunning/skill determines the victor of confrontations and the importance given to the outcome of each brawl. Unlike Dragon Ball, fatalities matter because there are no golden spheres around to resurrect the slain. If your favourite character is decapitated deal with it, because they aren’t coming back. Shame then that Akame ga Kill’s body count is so ridiculously high.
The excessive carnage made the final stretch a real chore to watch. Eight successive episodes have characters meeting their maker, which cheapened the impact of each death. After a while the writer’s attempts to fish for audience sympathy becomes painfully transparent. Whenever a hero has a sentimental moment they may as well don a red Starfleet uniform, because the Grim Reaper is coming! Years from now people will remember Akame ga Kill’s anime original ending for its repetitive mortality cycle, which is a pity as the show trumps other adaptations by finishing on a conclusive note. With the source material just a few chapters away from wrapping up, it will be interesting to see how Takahiro’s manga will compare to Makoto Uezu’s screenplay. Perhaps the comic will surprise us all with a happily ever after? We exited the EU, David Bowie left us and Sean Murray lied. Please manga, don’t add to 2016’s gloomy legacy.