- Titles: Akame ga Kill!; Akame ga Kiru!
- Genre: Drama, action, adventure, gore
- Episodes: 16/24
- Studio: White Fox
Justice is a fickle concept. For some, it means obeying and enforcing the rules of the kingdom no matter what. For others, it means rebelling against those rules if they seem unfair. Both sides are in fact fighting for justice but what does that mean exactly. For the Empire it meant powerful armies that put down both criminals and simple citizens with equal ruthlessness if they step out of line. For Night Raid it means attacking both aristocrats and empire forces that prey on the common folk and keep the people down. And for Tatsumi, who has just left his village hoping to find fortune and save his family, it could mean death.
Over the years I have heard many things about Akame ga Kill. That it was wonderful or horrible. That I should watch it if I liked Berserk (which I did), that I should absolutely avoid it if I liked Berserk (which I did). Like for most things the truth is somewhere in the middle.
Akame ga Kill looks and sounds fine. It can on occasion look really good and on other occasions rather cheap. It’s pretty inconsistent. The designs are variations of cool anime character which I guess could become some of your favourites but honestly, I found them a bit forgettable.
This said, generally speaking, the production is decent and even the dub was fine. Can’t say anything stood out as either particularly good or bad aside from Akame’s jammies. Don’t those pyjamas look both adorable and comfy? I really like them. I remember stopping the scene to get a better look.
Considering that Akame ga Kill is in many respects a fighting shonen with lots of blood and lots of flashy superpowers, I think they could have been a bit more over the top with the animation. Don’t get me wrong, the animation is actually quite good throughout but it’s a little understated considering the material. At least to me. I think this was a bit of a missed opportunity to go really ape on the movement but it stays functional and logical. That might be a good thing for some people.
As my title implies I actually dropped Akame ga Kill so take my impressions of the story with a grain of salt as I only got to see part of it. I did make it all the way to episode 16 though so I do have a pretty good idea.
Now you might think that I found Akame ga Kill to be terrible. After all, I almost never drop anime at all and certainly not once I’ve invested more than a season’s worth of watch time. But that’s not it. I actually liked quite a few things about Akame ga Kill. I can say for a fact that I have finished anime that were objectively worse.
It’s just that the story failed to rope me in and after browsing the episode descriptions for what was to come I realized that I honestly didn’t want to see any of them.
First of all Akame ga Kill is a show that kills off its characters. That’s not bad in and of itself but you have to be in the mood for that type of story and understand that you can’t get too attached if you don’t want to run the risk of ending up sad.
Second Akame ga Kill is a very bloody anime. There is some good old fashion sexy lady fanservice but I think it’s dwarfed by the violence fanservice. Glamour shots of torn up bodies, lingering cries of agony. One of my drinking prompts is to take a sip every time someone gets decapitated. That’s because it happens at least once per episode. Again, you have to be in a certain mood for this kind of show.
Don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against gore. When I said I loved Berserk I meant it. The original is one of my favourite anime and I actually own most of the manga. Fort a long time it was my favourite anime and I would rewatch it right now. And Berserk is both a bloodbath and quite cruel to it’s cast. However, there is a right and a wrong way to do gore in my opinion.
Akame ga Kill dives into the bloody and unpleasant scenes right from the get-go. It starts offing characters before we have gotten any chance to get to know them or connect with them. And there’s very little respite. As such, it feels much more gratuitous, what I call violence fanservice, rather than watching a brutal story.
Also, the tone is a bit all over the place. There is like I said quite a bit of good ol’ T&A fanservice which actually looks and sounds like it’s right out of an old school harem anime just sprinkled throughout. However, I would say that half of the show is a gritty, grim and brutal action series while the other half is a slice of life comedy.
On paper that actually sounds kind of cool. If someone was to describe a show like that to me, I would want to watch it. But it just doesn’t work. The drama and heavy scenes get completely undercut by the fact that two seconds later someone is slipping on a bar of soap and everyone is laughing like in an ’80s sitcom but you can’t quite enjoy the carefree comedy because you just watched an innocent person get tortured for five minutes while begging for mercy or death.
It’s not like you can have carefree scenes in a heavy violent drama or vice versa but the balance was just off for me. As a result, I didn’t manage to get into it and spent most of my watch time anxious.
And that is actually why I dropped it. I wasn’t having fun with the comedy in it although I thought some things were downright great. Making the main antagonist also a love-struck deredere desperate to win the protagonists’ heart was just brilliant. It allowed for a lot of great moments and had some awesome potential. I’m actually a little curious to know where that went.
A lot of the villains were actually pretty fun and well thought out. Not all of them but more than in a lot of shows I enjoyed.
But because I was always waiting for the next drawn out painful scene to sneak up on me, I just constantly had my guard up. I was worried for absolutely everyone all the time which meant that in the end I basically refused to get attached to anyone at all.
And when a visceral scene did take place, the story immediately moved on as if nothing happened before it could properly sink in so I ended up not caring that much anyway. What I’m saying is that I, personally, as a viewer, was getting nothing out of the experience. This may not be the case for someone else.
If you don’t have any emotional attachments to anime characters maybe you could watch it as a straight comedy and enjoy it. If you attach yourself more easily, perhaps the tonal shifts won’t disturb your emotional entanglement to the plot and characters.
But in the end, it didn’t work for me and I didn’t want to see them suffer anymore.
Suggested drink: Bloody Mary
- Every time we see Tatsumi’s old friends – take a sip
- Every time anyone mentions auras – take a sip
- Every time Bulat shines – cheer
- Every time anyone goes shopping – take a sip
- Every time anyone gets beheaded – (that’s quite the follow up to shopping) take a sip
- Every time Bulat gets called bro – take a sip
- Every time we see a new imperial arm – take a sip
- Every time Esdeath seduces Tatsumi – take a sip
- Every time anyone is shirtless – just watch
- Every time Nightwatch loses a member – pour some out
- Every time the Boss arrives – take a sip
- Every time Bors is super wholesome – take a sip
In case you’re new here, I have a Pinterest with all my screencaps (there are a lot!). If you can’t find a show you are looking for in my main boards, just go to Anime Screenshots. I move the shows I have reviewed there. Of course, I’m still going to add a few images here!