ONGOING ANIME: Akame ga KILL! EPISODES 1-4
Bloody, violent and visceral- that’s what the newest anime this season by Studio White Fox is all about. If you’re an anime fan that’s been clamoring for some good ol’ sword fighting and covert assassination amongst the hordes of moe comedy in the industry nowadays, then this one’s for you.
Tatsumi is a young traveler heading to the capital in hopes of gaining a high position in the military so he can financially provide for his dying village. However, his display of self-centered bravado gets him kicked out of the registration building right before Tatsumi is swindled out of all his money by a buxom blonde thief. He quickly realizes the capital is a place of political scandals and fear, and his plan to save his village won’t be as easy as originally anticipated.
That’s when the daughter of a wealthy family in the capital stumbles upon our hero-now-turned-street-rat, and offers him a place at their home where he is promised a position in the military and compensation for his village. All suddenly looks well for Tatsumi… too well. That same night, an assassination group known as “Night Raid” descends upon the family’s home and kills off every last person before revealing to Tatsumi that this family was well-known for abducting people off the streets and taking them into their home, where they would torture and kill their victims for pleasure. Coming to this realization, Tatsumi follows Night Raid back to their hideout where he learns of their plans to take out the Emperor and leading officials in order to put an end to the capital’s corruption and its nation’s suffering. Affirming his resolve to kill without hesitation in order to save his village, Tatsumi joins Night Raid as an assassin.
Thankfully, unlike most shonen-style action shows, our main protagonist Tatsumi is not a useless sack of shit. Sure, he’s totally clueless on how the capital works and has a tough time learning the ropes, but when it comes down to combat, we’ve got a hero we can follow. Tatsumi’s skills with a sword are expositioned right away with the opening scene of Episode 1, where he slays an entire beast the size of a building single-handedly. Later along, he manages to carry out his first mission successfully and assassinate Night Raid’s target, a vicious military head named Ogre. Tatsumi’s fairly strong, and specializes in speed, which gains him an advantage against what are usually gorilla-sized opponents. His aerial attacks and quick slashes look especially cool during the thick of a climax.
As for the tone of Akame ga KILL!, it’s a little obvious that this show is trying its best to be ballsy. Or rather, more like edgy. From all the blood splurting sword slashes to having the word “kill” in the title, this show wants to be visceral and violent. And this is great, because honestly, as an anime community we don’t get enough of it these days. It links back to new industry regulations in Japan, but the point is that there’s so much moe and slice-of-life now, that we need a little bit of bloody take-risks action. So while Akame ga KILL! might not be original in its story and perhaps tries a little too hard sometimes to be in our face about its style, it’s definitely refreshing to see a show that delivers action fanservice. Also, there’s no denying the cool factor behind some of these assassins when they take the final strike against their opponent. Akame works so fast you can’t even see her, and her cursed sword makes her immediate and lethal. Leone (the buxom blonde I mentioned earlier) uses her brute strength to practically crush skulls, and the pink-haired tsundere Mine can cleanly snipe a target who is still surrounded by other people.
Speaking of each assassin’s capablities, Tatsumi soon learns of the “Imperial Arms”- legendary weapons forged by the first emperor who anticipated war and hoped to eliminate any threats with these all-powerful tools. 48 in total were created, however half of these weapons were lost during a great war and spread throughout the nation. Every assassin in Night Raid carries one Imperial Arm, which further sustains their reputation as fearsome and efficient.
As Tatsumi’s missions with Night Raid on the capital continue, Akame ga KILL! is shaping up to be quite an entertaining show. Tension-heavy duels between our main characters and their targets, a plot full of covert ops done by a discreet league of assassins, and a generous serving of blood in every episode. There’s also some pretty effed up moments where the capital’s torture of its people are made clear through example (Tatsumi actually witnesses a group of people being crucified in the town square). If nothing else, Akame ga KILL! is a pretty wild ride, and definitely knows how to have fun with sharp objects. We’ll be looking forward to this next upcoming arc where Night Raid faces off against the secret police force formed by the capital known as the “Jaegers.” Check back for our coverage on episodes 5-8, and hope you’re looking forward to this next arc as well!
-The A7 Team
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