Akame ga Kill (Collection Two) Review

akamegakill2

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.

OVERVIEW

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?

VERDICT

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.

14 thoughts on “Akame ga Kill (Collection Two) Review

  1. Dear goodness the uk government is a mess! if the south did not abuse the north so bad it would not have gotten into this state.

    Do you remember the punishment tax (democracy! vote are way or die).
    A vote for out is a vote for Putin.
    XD They sent out polling cards where they ticked the IN box as an example of what to do (they wonder why people were resident).

    *O_O It was everywhere! even on the backs of bus tickets (constant computer adverts)*

    Y_Y This is the time where we need anime the most! take us away from this scary world and immerse us in a world of fantasy!

    T_T Them last handful of episode of Akame ga Kill are hard to watch (I’m starting to forget what the good guys are fighting for).

    • I think Brexit is a bit like the US voting between Clinton and Trump. Tough times are ahead, regardless of the outcome. Like you say, good thing that anime exists to keep our minds occupied on less depressing things.

      Yeah, the last few episodes of this show can be tough to get through. There’s pretty much no story, just constant fights and people dying left, right and center. All the losses seem like such a waste given that most of the city’s ills stem from one manipulative minister.

  2. Yeah the second half just cheapend the deaths of the characters. And now the manga – in order to not finish not to differently from the anime is somewhat following how the anime ended.

    • I think the series would have benefited from two seasons worth of episodes. That would have given viewers more time to get attached to the characters, making their sacrifices mean more. It would also have given the writers the opportunity to space out the deaths. When eight episodes in a row have multiple people dying you begin to stop caring.

      From what I hear fans of the manga hated the way the anime played out. It would be ironic if in he end they both have similar finales. Perhaps the studio asked Takahiro what his future plans were, so they would have a rough idea when drafting the anime’s conclusion?

  3. Interesting…. I liked this volume more than the first one. The focused story of the last few episodes (non-canon or not) and the deaths made it something unique and emotionally rich something the show was lacking for me. I didn’t feel the deaths were cheapened in any way, it made for a nice change to see some casualties rather than the usual “all the good guys prevail” scenario.

    • For me both volumes were more or less the same. Volume one started poor, but picked once the action kicked in. Volume two was okay, but I became numb to the cycle of telegraphed deaths towards the end. Pretty much if someone announced their dreams for after the war or fell in love you knew they were be doomed.

      Sometimes less is more. Two popular characters going out would have stood out more than a prolonged bloodbath. I do however agree that it was nice seeing a show of this ilk were battles have consequences. The heroes coming away unscathed from every challenge can be a bore and it’s made even worse when people are resurrected (something that make losses in Marvel comics or Dragon Ball mute.)

      • Yes, I get that they pretty much telegraphed the deaths by sharing the backstories too late. This is why the messing about in the first volume irritated me so.

  4. I love the fact you position your review against a back drop of dead celebrities and political turmoil. A stroke of genius. As for the review itself, I’m nodding in agreement as I read it, and you’ve given me the kick up the backside to get on and write my own review for the second collection.

  5. It’s hard to make repeated deaths impactful. It takes a lot of careful pacing, get people to recover from the last horrible death, get them set to the untraumatized state again, and torque their expectations a bit, then BAM! Get them once more. If you get people to the point that they can predict deaths, however, when they start expecting them, it really loses a lot of the emotions you want wrapped up in there.

  6. Pingback: Review: Akame ga Kill! Collection 2 – little anime blog
  7. I enjoyed this show, mostly for all the violent action and rampant character deaths. I lost any and all emotional investment when the death scenes became so predictable but a few still managed to be effective. I also liked that it had a conclusive ending, even if most characters were dead by the end of it. (Is it just me or was Leone’s death really unnecessary…)

    The best part, for me, was Esdeath though. I guess I just have a thing for crazy, hot characters.

    • Fans of the manga don’t seem to like the ending, but given that another season wasn’t on the cards there is an argument to be made that having a conclusive finale is better than no ending at all (which happens with many other shows.)

      Esdeath was the star of the show and I also liked Leone. Her demise felt needless because the story was pretty much wrapped up at that point. Weren’t all the other deaths sufficient to quell the writer’s bloodlust?

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