Akame ga Kill! – Anime Review

Synopsis: After a brutal assault of his benefactors reveals a darker truth of corruption that engulfs the whole city, Tatsumi, an eager fighter who dreams of glory, joins the Night Raid to help put a stop to the wicked ways of the Capital once and for all. (Official Anime Strike Synopsis)

Boy! Dragons sure have changed these days.

Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):

Tom: Akame ga Kill! starts light-hearted, but quickly abandons that facade for a dark and edgy atmosphere that remains throughout the entire series. It periodically tries to do the very anime thing of snapping between its more dark/edgy content and bringing some levity to events, but often does so at the most inopportune times, making the shift jarring and off-putting. Trouble conveying its tone aside, a YMMV element, the show early on insists that the world is gray, that there’s a level of moral ambiguity to the series. No one is truly a good guy, and no one is truly a bad guy. That’s perhaps the series’ greatest lie, as Akame ga Kill! is perhaps one of the most obviously black and white anime.

Linny: For all of its constant insinuation that the world is gray, Akame ga Kill! keeps maniacally shoving the most comically demented and depraved bad guys in your face while our heroes are portrayed as out and out good people, suffering and fighting for justice at all costs. Even if the good guys are shown engaging in anything dicey or questionable, it’s either turned into a comedic skit or never really addressed as a bad thing. Akame ga Kill! tries to be deep with its whole ‘nobody is truly good or evil’ lines but ultimately is just your typical show of good guys killing some really insane and depraved baddies. If there’s one thing I could suggest looking forward to with genuine sincerity, it’s the humour, both intentional and unintentional. The intentional humour and charm comes from certain characters, such as Bulat whose personality and mannerisms are portrayed in a style that’s adorably over the top, though I would like to point out that some audiences might find parts of it offensive as they do seem to play upon his sexual orientation. Moving on to the unintentional humour, there’s a chance you might find yourself amused by observing just how ridiculously depraved and over the top each new villain of the week/episode can get.

That is an extremely wrong and rude way to remember someone.

Tom: There are also a few interesting, if underdeveloped ideas hidden throughout Akame ga Kill! Such as characters who turn out to be ‘humanoid weapons,’ or old mentors and siblings actually working for the evil rulers of the kingdom. There’s even some fun to be had with the Young King of this troubled kingdom, who has no idea he’s actually being manipulated by corrupt political leaders. Sadly, the show never really develops or expands on any of these concepts. Despite this, Akame ga Kill! at least consistently delivers on crazy action episode to episode, so even with all the flaws, you still end up with a fairly entertaining half hour watch.

Linny: Despite what redeeming factors we just laid out, it’s hard not to harp upon how the show does such a poor job of maintaining its tone and attempt at having ambiguously morale characters, villains and otherwise. Akame ga Kill boasts some of the most comically absurd evil villain stereotypes ever. They’re all sadistic and twisted, with absolutely zero redeeming factors, making it impossible to see how they could be considered as gray characters to any degree. Same goes for our heroes and their character development of which there’s none. Things are always black and white in this show when it comes to good vs evil and the injection of awkward humour into all the wrong moments means that you might find yourself struggling to take the show seriously. That would be fine if this show were aiming for that, if it would cast off its pretenses of being a cerebral and morally elevated story and just embrace that it’s an action packed fun watch with no aspirations other than having its audience enjoy watching some really hammy and cliche villains getting their just desserts. But it does not, and that ends up being a major negative point against it.

Innuendo bingo time!

Tom: While Akame ga Kill! is flawed to all hell, it’d almost remain watchable, perhaps even rise up to a recommended, for the over the top action alone. But the series is notorious for an anime only ending, which completely unravels what little good is left in the series. Unlike Manga faithfuls, we didn’t have an issue when the anime diverged from the manga at Episode 19, but what follows eventually tumbles into perhaps one of the worst anime original endings available. Hell, the series’ own main character, Tatsumi, isn’t even part of the final episode. Instead things refocus on one particular character, Akame, who was never really at the center of the series’ focus (despite her name featuring in the title). It’s unsatisfying all around, even for a series I felt mostly disconnected with. Fans of the manga, conversely, were even more dissatisfied with the direction the anime chose to go. Akame ga Kill! isn’t a total wash, and if all you want out of it is edge and cool fight scenes, it has that, questionable ending or not. But if you’re looking for quality entertainment, this isn’t truly it.

Linny: Like Tom just explained, the ending to Akame ga Kill! is riddled with all sorts of issues and only adds to the problems the show struggles with throughout. Even though it features a rather visually impressive and epic showdown, there’s a sense of detachment as there is no well developed and personal story leading up to it. But a disappointing and senseless finale seems rather apt for this equally disappointing and senseless show. So maybe, in that sense, this was the perfect ending for the series. If you’ve been debating going back to check out Akame ga Kill, I would suggest you pick it up with the intention of watching it as nothing more than a fun action packed series of showdowns between good guys and cliche creepy villains. Pay no mind to the show’s attempts to be deep and maybe if you dislike the sound of a rather poor anime only ending, pick up the manga instead. 

“Not Recommended: Akame ga Kill! offers little more than solid action wrapped inside an edgy, black and white narrative that fails to grab.”

“Not Recommended: A disappointing anime only ending combined with over the top villains reduces Akame ga Kill! to offering enjoyment only as a shallow stream of action filled showdowns.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Akame ga Kill! is available for streaming via Crunchyroll, Hulu, HIDIVE, and Amazon’s Anime Strike Channel.

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