Pushing the edge of violent carnage is not something we get to see very often in anything these days, and for good reason. They are criticized as a mishandled and cheap way to distract us from the inconsistencies in the writing and characters. The only problem with that argument is that, these days, animation studios edit any sort of blood on most action anime to appease for higher BD sales. Now, when you have an anime like Akame ga Kill to do away with that, it is a refreshing mix into the blender; even if the overall taste may be a bit lukewarm.
I love my action shows to take more chances with the violence rather than the usual Hollywood-esque tricks that try to make everything clean so it can get a passable age rating. There is none of that to be found in Akame ga Kill, and I’m very happy to see something like it to exist. This also helps from the fact that the art and animation is rock solid and colorful. Character models all feel vibrant and unique based on their appearance rather than all of them looking like the same bland boy or girl in armor. Fighting scenes are handled with greater tenacity and wit than what you typically see in many shonen shows.
As I’ve mentioned how the characters are unique and great based on their aesthetic looks, the same can’t really be said with their personality or memorability, for the most part. The characters that possessed any of these qualities are Leonne and Esdeath, simply by the fact that they at least have an alluring presence that’s both charming from Leonne and deviant from Esdeath. The rest fall into the pit-trap of being stereotypical just for the sake of being stereotypical. Not to say stereotypes are bad in general, they’ll always be a staple that we get used to. Nevertheless, nothing was added to the experience negatively quite like the stereotypical presentation.
An issue like this could easily be forgiven if they are given enough material for us to see past it. Most of it is just pointless filler that feel tacked on or they’re just decent character arcs that give off some laughs for me. However, there are some characters that seemed to have supposed to give an important role in the story but they are just killed off in like one or two episodes before we can even start to get to know them. This, in turn, makes the death scenes lack any sort of empathy for the sadness that the main protagonist, Tatsumi, goes through. As gruesome as some of the deaths are, they don’t add to the melancholic nature at all. Which is a huge flaw in its part because the story is centered around our characters and their arcs that don’t really amount to anything in the end.
Notably, this anime decides to deviate from the story by actually killing off certain characters that weren’t supposed to die in the manga. A large number of fans will write off the show as a negative, but that is not a sufficient way of critiquing it. An adaptation will always do changes to the story to make it more unique than just a point by point adaptation. If it didn’t, you’d be better off just reading the manga at that point. In regards to the context of the anime, the changes at least didn’t seem out of place in terms of pacing, which is often the case for many poor adaptations.
Along with its characters, the story that goes with them details the various aspects of their journey as Tatsumi joins a group of assassins, called Night Raid, that seek to stop the corruption that plagues their country. What is strange about how the story is presented is how it doesn’t always seems to be there half the time. When you think about it, all the story is is Tatsumi going through Scenario A, Scenario B, and so on. None are really connected very well and you almost forget about what the underlying nature of the Night Raid’s main goal after the halfway point. They don’t make them as poignant gears to the narrative system that keeps the story focused.
So it can be made a case that, narratively, the show falls short on that level. That can’t be said with the action though. With all that’s said and done, Akame ga Kill’s main reason for even existing is to show bloody carnage into its action set piece. That’s not to say I’m suddenly going to throw all the narrative problems out the window and give this an A or 9, but for what it’s worth, the action is quite enjoyable to watch. Its fast-paced and is very easy on the eyes, thanks to the art and animation. Although it isn’t going to break any molds in how strategic our characters fight one another, its nice eye candy to make any shounen fan’s hairs stand up.
By and large, Akame ga Kill is the prototypical junk food anime, nobody can deny it. It has all the makings of how we all watched the colorful action animated shows we watched as kids, just not with all the horrific violence. It definitely does do justice with dark humor between the characters and various actions that take place. Other than that, its not offensively bad on any measure. What little plot or character growth there is to be had in Akame ga Kill, there’s at least one charming moment within every loose end that makes you pay no mind to it, only by an inch.