Anime: Akame Ga Kill! (Season 1)
Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: February 9th, 2016
Retail Price: $69.98
The anime series Akame Ga Kill begins as a relatively light anime, quickly introducing us to Tatsumi, a young good-hearted man who leaves his impoverished village in the company of two childhood friends. The three head toward the Capital, hoping they can earn money to save their friends, family, and neighbors, but things begin to take a turn for the worst. A family of wealthy and noble backgrounds makes a strike against Tatsumi and his friends, killing both in the process – leaving Tatsumi in shock and grief stricken. The immediate shift in plot is both clever and indicative of the dark turns that Akame Ga Kill has prepared for the first season. Tatsumi ends up being saved by a group of assassins known as the Night Raid, and dives in head first into a revolution he couldn’t have prepared for.
Initially the Night Raid is intended to be feared, but the eclectic group of mysterious rebels becomes the heart and soul of the anime. The squad is made up of Akame, the scissor wielding Sheele, an armored softie named Bulat, as well as Lubbock, Mine, Leone, and Najenda (a former general of the imperial army.) The Night Raid finds themselves up against the Empire, hoping to overthrow the emperor who is misguided by a threatening Prime Minister Honest. The Empire includes armies, police, and a group of assassins created to rival the Night Raid. Like many figures in power, the Prime Minister seeks to strengthen his own status – even if it includes the destruction or downfall of the entire nation. To top off the large world of characters and factions, deadly weapons known as Imperial Arms strengthen those who wield them by tenfold, but can also lead to the demise of anyone using the weapon.
The anime introduces a lot of different additions to the story, but you know within a short amount of time that there will be a payout from Akame Ga Kill – and there definitely is. Before the first episode is over, you are practically guaranteed to fall in love with the Night Raid in one way or another, but it’s also a premise to some series heartbreak from the first season of the emotional anime. You know instantly that many of these characters have committed evil acts, but their desire to bring true justice and fill the role of an unsung hero proves how noble the Night Raid truly is. Tatsumi is a strong protagonist to the anime, evolving over the course of the first season without having to lose the spark of goofiness that signified who he was. In addition to progressing as savvy thinker and fighter, Tatsumi’s relationships with the other assassins ensured that Akame Ga Kill cares about character development. The series may be titled ‘Akame’ Ga Kill, however Akame is a quieter character (during season 1) in comparison to those around her – but that doesn’t mean that she isn’t important, because Akame is still a strong leading character to have beside Tatsumi.
In a surprising way, it’s the supporting Night Raid members who steal a majority of my attention. The openly gay character Bulat is a great LGBT character for an anime series, which often disregard homosexuality as a joke or stereotype. Sure, Bulat has a few of those self deprecating moments, but it doesn’t take away from his importance to the group. His role isn’t as prevalent as others like Tatsumi, but the impact he has on the characters and the audience will be felt for a long time after the anime has passed. In specific, Tatsumi and Bulat share a bond that differs from most characters in the series, whilst defying traditional anime companionships. Another character who was on the outskirts, yet outshined many was Sheele. Her reserved persona proved to be a fraction of what she was capable of, and instantly developed as someone you’d want to protect. Sheele may not have had the same amount of screen time to flourish – but when she did, it created some of the most beautiful contributions to Akame Ga Kill.
The animation took me a minute to adjust to, with certain characters having over the top designs, but I quickly disregarded that by the end of the first episode – growing completely attached to the range of art and the animator’s attempts to diversify appearances. The fight scenes in Akame Ga Kill were far more impressive than I initially expected, turning into high-stakes brawls with each passing episode. Every character seems to have their individual battle in the first season, something worth applauding as some series place the weight on one or two at most. The English voice cast was selected especially well, including Corey Hartzog (Tatsumi), Jessica Boone (Sheele), David Wald (Bulat) and David Matranga (Wave.) There weren’t any weak links in the excellent dub, and the overall quality made the series even easier to enjoy.
The serious approach of Akame Ga Kill made the first season a quick stand-out, and will most likely become known as a classic series for such strong characters, intense plot, and occasional wit that makes the series a solid anime.
Overall Score: 8.5/10
-Akame Ga Kill is an impressive anime from the beginning of the first episode, until the final moments of season one.
-Even when strong characters lost their lives in the process of rebellion, the anime pushed on finding new ways to succeed.
-From a production standpoint, Akame Ga Kill is a well rounded anime that deserves to be enjoyed by every anime fan.
-I can honestly say this series evoked a sense of sadness that other animes can’t achieve easily.
-Tatsumi is such a well-rounded protagonist in the series; this is an example of how to write lead character in a story.
-The entire Night Raid crew brought something enjoyable to the table.