EPISODE REVIEW: Akame ga KILL! EPISODE 23
Night Raid leads a full-scale siege on the Capital to kill Minister Onest and bring their empire’s corrupt system to justice once and for all in what is ultimately the series climax of Akame ga KILL!
Carrying the weight of their fallen comrades’ hopes on their shoulders, only four members are left in our infamous league of assassins–Najenda, Leone, Akame, and Tatsumi. Rebellion has already sparked from within the Capital, and the townspeople have turned their streets into a bloody frenzy. The Resistance uses this opportunity to deal the last lethal blow to the Empire by sending an army led by Najenda to attack the city walls head on, while our latter three protagonists sneak into the Capital and fight their way past the Royal Guard towards the Emperor’s room. As always, Akame ga KILL! provides us with a plethora of suspenseful action, and finally getting to see Run clash with Night Raid while using his Imperial Arms’ trump card, the “God’s Wings,” was quite a treat. But that was nothing compared to the Emperor’s unveilng of the ultimate Imperial Arms and the Capital’s hidden weapon, Shikoutazer, which is basically this world’s version of a gigantic Megazord that can shoot hyper beams from its mouth and obliterate mountains. For a show so well known for its weapons of mass destruction, they pretty much saved the best one for last.
Tatsumi steals the spotlight in the final decisive battle against Shikoutazer by fighting it one-on-one, which reminds us how ballsy our main protagonist is and why he holds that role. However, Wave joins Tatsumi in the fight after being shown by Kurome’s death that he must switch sides for the sake of the people he wishes to protect. This is a big pay off for many fans who hoped Wave, a character so similar to Tatsumi that his Imperial Arms is an iteration of Incursio, would come to his senses and join Night Raid. During the battle, we even get some slight backstory on the Emperor thanks to Minister Onest who, during his insane ranting, actually reveals that the Emperor’s parents died in “a tragic accident.” Hmm, quite suspicious that the king and queen of an empire would just die in some freak accident without the proper protection, which implies Onest had a hand in their deaths. Onest’s provoking of the Emperor simply drives the child into destroying more of his city, drowning out Tatsumi’s attempts at reasoning with him and striking down any attempts by Incursio or Grand Chariot to pierce Shikoutazer’s armor.
Wave is blasted through two buildings by Shikoutazer, Leone and Run call a truce to evacuate the Capital, and Akame is forced to take on the Emperor’s Elite Guard by herself, leaving Tatsumi with no choice but to pull off a miracle. Incursio evolves into a new form that grows a pair of fucking dragon wings and becomes entirely sheathed in gold. Its power level also becomes equivalent to how cool it looks, and Tatsumi is able to punch straight through Shikoutazer’s armor and defeat the Emperor. However, the skyscraper weapon begins to collapse on the town, forcing Tatsumi to break Shikoutazer’s fall and ultimately sacrifice himself for the townspeople. It’s a brutal moment to see our main character die, knowing that he definitely won’t be coming back–not in a show like this that’s willing to murder its characters left and right. But damn, in that tragic moment of Akame holding Tatsumi’s blood-drenched body as he stands covered in battle-worn Dragon Incursio, our hero never looked so cool. A fitting end to a protagonist we can confidently label as a badass.
There wasn’t a single missed note in this climax, and the writers made it clear that the episode was meant to focus on Tatsumi for his final moments. That, and the immense amount of destruction Shikoutazer caused during the Emperor’s rampage. The Minister did not die though which was a little disappointing, but we still have one episode left to see Onest get what he deserves. Akame’s reaction to Tatsumi’s death also proved how close the two had become since the beginning of the series, when she had doubted his determination as an assassin. Personally, I feel there wasn’t enough interaction between the two since the series’ early episodes to evoke sympathy from viewers for their relationship, especially since Mine began to receive more of the spotlight later for being a love interest. Regardless, it’s no secret they cared deeply for one another as comrades, and the tears shed were as much the audience’s as they were Akame’s.
That leaves Esdeath as the last villain of the show, and despite the Empire now defeated by Night Raid and the Resistance, she still possesses enough God-level ice magic to reclaim the entire Capital single-handedly. This means we still have one last blowout battle left, and no matter what happens next, rest assured it’ll be a damn good finale to one of the best anime shows this year.
-Andrew (Head of A7)
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