Akame ga Kill! – Season 1

Akame ga Kill! – Season 1

IMG_0861.PNGAkame ga Kill! is the story of Tatsumi, a young man brought up in a remote village who travels to the capital city to raise money to bring back home. However, he discovers that he has been naive to the sizeable amount of corruption festering here. He is soon picked up by Night Raid – an assassin group of vigilantes who fight with specially-crafted Imperial Arms – who want to lead the fight against the city’s corrupt empire and end its tyranny.

Assassins and the like is a very dense genre in anime, but I have high hopes for Akame ga Kill!. Right from the beginning it sets itself apart from other similar story lines. Tatsumi and his two childhood friends leave their tiny village thinking that they’re prepared for a life in the capital – and they couldn’t be more wrong. Tatsumi finds himself within a whirlwind of intrigue, misdirection and murder and soon comes to learn that freedom and righteousness come at a price – mostly likely a bloody one.

Based on the manga written by Takahiro, Tatsumi finds himself joining Night Raid after finding that he has no other place to go. This ragtag group of assassins are known around the capital, and wanted posters are everywhere, but the true horror in the capital is not Night Raid, but the capital itself. To fight against the corruption that nearly consumed him, Tatsumi must learn to fight quickly to stay afloat.

IMG_0858.PNGNo doubt the best thing about Akame ga Kill are the (literally) colourful members of Nigh Raid themselves. Although they are many, and seem to by quite typical to begin with, they all have their own identity and back-story as well as their own Imperial Arms (weapons created from alchemy and Dangerous Beasts) which impact the way that they fight and deal out justice. There’s clumsy Sheele, the precocious Mine, boisterous Leone, pompadour-sporting Bulat and easy-going Lubbock. There is also Night Raid leader Nadejda and of course, the mysterious Akame. There are a lot of characters to involve in a very short space of time, as no sooner than we see the members of Night Raid, the plot shoots off ahead at a staggering pace.

This is a sort of double-edged sword in this one. It doesn’t get too bogged down with details and explanation, usually deciding to show instead of tell. On the whole, this works really well, and more animes should follow this technique. However, because of this it does tend to rush over some of the things which, realistically, would take more time. For example, Tatsumi trying to get to grips with certain Imperial Arms. In one episode he is really struggling to control it, and the next everything’s fine and he’s suddenly a master. It’s a small critique, but one easily forgotten in the face of more interesting (and shiny, and gory) elements.

IMG_0860.PNGAkame ga Kill is not ashamed to get its hands dirty – and neither are the characters. From the get-go the anime shows just how brutal, bloody and visceral an assassin’s life truly is. Especially the ones that have bigger goals in mind than just getting paid. It’s an interesting twist on an old concept which is really brought to life by Tatsumi and his new friends. They each have their own personalities and all get their time to develop their character throughout the building of the plot. They all have their own motives and reasons for joining and staying with Night Raid, and they are just as varied as the team is.

IMG_0640.PNGThe Imperial Arms are a particularly fascinating concept. Each weapon has its own little powerful quirks and ways in which to wield it. The power of Mine’s rifle is directly proportionate to the amount of immediate danger she is in, hence she has to risk her life in order to do devastating damage; and Akame’s Murasame can kill a person with just one cut. Because of their eccentricities, they each have their own drawbacks, which I am also interested in learning about as the story progresses. The Imperial Arms, I imagine, is what draws the reader in, but the reader sticks around for the intriguing plot and high-octane battles.

Already Akame ga Kill is building a tremendously strong cast of characters, including the main character (which I am always highly critical of) as well as the building list of antagonists. I’m hoping that the bar continues to rise with this one, and that there are more surprises in the pipeline.