Back when I first started watching anime in July I was only watching one anime that was still airing, Jojo’s Bizarre Adventures: Stardust Crusaders. I liked watching an anime while it was airing and decided to take on some more. I looked into what a couple of my friends were watching and one that stuck out was Akame ga Kill! (it was also suggested by one of them so I decided I should watch it anyway.). At that point I only had Clannad, Angel Beats! and Jojo’s BA: SC under my belt so a violent, gory, action anime seemed like a bit of a leap for me compared to those 3 but I decided to give it a try and fell in love after the first episode. Now that the series is over let’s see how good it really is. Keep in mind, I have not read the manga so this review is coming from the perspective of an anime-only viewer. I have heard some issues manga readers had and I’ll mention them but obviously I won’t be rating it on how good of an adaptation it is but instead, how good of an anime it is.
The story follows a boy coming from a small poor village named Tastumi. We see from the very start he is very skilled with a sword as he kills a Danger Beast fairly easily saving some civilians. We learn that him and two of his friends are coming to the capital to join the army and protect their village. He isn’t accepted as they have a lot of people trying to join because of the Danger Beasts but at a bar he meets a woman that tells him to join the army you need to know someone and luckily she does so she offers to take his money as payment for getting him in. He stupidly accepts this offer and she runs away. He ends up on a street and is picked up by a nice girl named Aria. He tells his story and her parents allow him to stay. He learns about a group named Night Raid that is trying to ruin the peace. Unluckily for him Night Raid decides to attack Aria’s house tonight. They assassinate her parents while he tries taking her to a barn with a guard to protect her. Here they get cornered by two Night Raid members. The title character Akame and the girl from earlier, Leone. Akame decides she’s going to kill Tatsumi if he won’t let her just take out Aria but Tatsumi decides to protect her as she protected him. Leone decides this isn’t the best way and shows Aria’s family is actually corrupt by opening the barn and showing him a room full of tortured and dead humans including Sayo and Ieyasu (his friends). Ieyasu is barely alive and confirms to Tatsumi it was Aria before he passes. Tastumi is pissed and kills Aria himself. Leone grabs him and takes him to the rest of Night Raid which he eventually joins.
Night Raid has some interesting people in it.
First off we have Akame who is quiet, a good cook and eats a lot. Leone, the typical alcohol loving woman that treats Tatsumi as if he’s her younger brother. Mine starts off as a stereotyped teenage girl but ends up growing out of that. Lubba who is a ladies man and tries spying on Leone in the bath among other goals. Sheele who is a klutz and a bookworm and Bulat who takes a liking to Tatsumi and helps him train (it’s also heavily implied he has a crush on Tastumi). The leader’s name is Najenda and she does a good job fitting this role. Other characters that end up joining Night Raid after Tatsumi are Chelsea and Susanoo. Chelsea is kind of a rival to Mine although she was never as stereotyped I found, and Susanoo is Najenda’s Imperial Arms. Imperial Arms are a major element to Akame ga Kill!. They are super-weapons created long ago and it is told that if two Imperial Arms users fight one will die. Each member of Night Raid, except Tatsumi, has an Imperial Arms. It becomes a goal for a few episodes to get him one before he eventually finds one (not going to spoil it as it’s the result of an important event).
The other side also all have Imperial Arms. While we don’t see the Emperor’s or Prime Minister Honest’s until near the end of the series we do know they have one. For the first part of the series they are fighting members of the government but they aren’t really collaborating. About halfway we get a new group introduced called the Jaegars. This is run by General Esdeath who had been introduced prior as one of of the Capital’s strongest generals. Other members include Wave who has a similar past to Tatsumi but never learned of the corruption, Bols who is a pyromaniac but loves his wife and daughter, Run who we really don’t learn much about until late into the series, Seryu who is another teenage girl but is pretty much the exact opposite of the stereotypical teenage girl, Dr .Stylish who likes experimenting with dead bodies and lastly, Akame’s sister, Kurome. Again they all have their own Imperial Arms and they have their own reasons for joining the Jaegars. One thing I really liked was a lot of the characters have goals that could be achieved from either side. Both Tatsumi and Wave want to protect people from their village but happen to be recruited by opposite sides and I think they would have been just as happy to join the other side if given the chance. Most are like that but some have a bias that would stop them from joining the other side.
The sound was all really good. Emotions were conveyed great by the actors. The music always fit the mood and the second opening song, Liar Mask, is one of my favourite songs and I’d give it my favourite opening song too. The animation style is also really nice to look at. It has vibrant colours at times, while at others it’s dark grays and browns. This always fits the mood and it and the music work together perfectly.
Now onto things I didn’t like. Akame ga Kill! seemed to set a lot of things up just to either rarely use them or use them at all. One example is the Danger Beasts. I thought with you seeing Tatsumi taking one out before even meeting Akame they’d be important but aside from it being mentioned that Imperial Arms are made out of them they only really appear when the plot requires them. If they’re really that much of an issue that they’re described as at the beginning I think we should at least see them more often. Sometimes we’d go quite a few episodes without even seeing them, let alone them causing any problems. Another is how in the first episode before Tatsumi finds Ieyasu and Sayo are dead he imagines how they’d react to a couple different situations he finds himself in. These were pretty humorous and they happen one or two times after he finds them but then stop. I wish this had continued as it could have helped the comedy, which while good, wasn’t as good as it could have been. The last five or six episodes also seemed a little rushed. I read on different sites that the anime was often skipping chapters at a time (I think one of them was around 18 chapters or something). I feel at that point it would have been better to try negotiating a two season contract instead of cramming everything into one season. Even the final battles were fairly rushed through.