When Tatsumi left for the big city in order to save his home, he never expected to become a part of a feared group of assassins known as Night Raid! No! Tatsumi is for more than one surprise, that’s for sure.
What did you watch?
Back on January 2, 2020, not long after relaunching my website, I decided to revisit one of my favourite series and work out what it was that I enjoyed about it. I was going to rewatch the entire series and reread all of the manga. It was to be an epic undertaking. So epic, in fact, that I had to put it on hold when the pandemic hit just so I could keep up with the seasonal shows. Well, I can now say that I have finished the entire series – all twenty-four episodes and fifteen books. So, the big question is what did I think this time around? Danger, spoilers beyond this point!
Tatsumi is from a small village that was struggling under heavy taxation, so he set off with two friends to make it big in the Capitol and save their home. On the way there, they were split up. When Tatsumi finally made it to the Capitol, he was alone and didn’t know where to start. Then, he met a cute girl who had a connection to the military. She took his money and disappeared, leaving Tatsumi to sleep in the street. Luckily, a rich girl took him in and gave him a place to sleep. Her father even had a friend in the military. Things were looking up.
However, Tatsumi was woken in the night and found that the house was being attacked by the notorious assassins, Night Raid. He ran to protect the girl that had taken him in. The assassins ignored him, saying he wasn’t a target, but he wouldn’t stand down. After a very close call, the girl that took his money earlier stepped in and showed Tatsumi exactly what had been going on at that house and across the Capitol. Tatsumi was horrified, even more so when he found his friends. One had died and the other was close to death. He swore there and then that he would avenge them and clean up the city.
What did you think?
I first watched Akame ga Kill in the summer of 2018 and at that point, I was fourteen books into the manga and waiting for the fifteenth to be released. Needless to say, I loved it then, and I still love it today. It’s a pretty standard story, but I think it has some truly fascinating ideas and uses some incredible techniques that I think are often underappreciated. This is a bloody and violent series with a fast pace and a colourful cast of characters. If you’re looking for villains, Akame ga Kill has you covered with everything from one note lunatics to intriguing sociopaths with dark pasts. It offers a variety that is rarely seen. Usually, it’s one or the other.
What was your favourite moment?
There isn’t a single moment that I think stands above them all, but there’s a thread that I absolutely loved and that was the Tatsumi and Esdeath relationship. For Esdeath, it was love at first sight. He ticked all of her boxes, quite literally, so she kidnapped him and took him back to her room. This situation opened up another truly inspired aspect of the series. We got to see the villains, or rather the Jaegers. The Jaegers were pretty much the opposites of Night Raid. When you really look at them, neither was particulary “good”, but it was just a matter of perspective.
The idea of mirroring characters is pretty common in the series with Tatsumi and Wave being my favourite comparison. Wave was Tatsumi if he had come to the city and not been taken advantage of or taken in by a family of lunatics. It was awesome being able to see how things would have turned out for Tatsumi had things been slightly different. The relationship with Esdeath opened up this world to us. It also made her an incredibly interesting character. At the end, where she embraced Tatsumi’s lifeless body and froze them both together, before shattering into thousands of pieces was the perfect conclusion for their arc.
What was your least favourite moment?
This one was actually pretty easy. So, we had Night Raid and the Jaegers, two similar teams acting on the opposite sides of the law. It was great, but then the manga went a step further and brought in Wild Hunt, which was yet another team run by Minister Honest’s son, Syura. They were the chaos to the two sides, giving them a common enemy, although they would never work together. Wild Hunt was a group of monsters. They were truly despicable but made an incredible addition to the story.
However, they didn’t join the story until after the anime had been made and while they were added in, it was a toothless and lacklustre attempt. Syura was a joke in the anime and his death showed that. The Wild Hunt arc could have given the show another twelve episodes at least had they waited and developed it all. It was a real missed opportunity and I can remember just how disappointed I was when I realised they cut it down to next to nothing.
Who was your favourite character?
This is a really hard decision. It was an image of Leone that made me pick up the manga, which I read the first fourteen books in seven days. However, it was Esdeath that caught my attention and her love story that really made me fall completely in love with the series. She is so cool and calm, but also a little demonic. Raised in a tribe that literally subscribes to the survival of the fittest, she never really had a chance to develop in any other way. Without her, Akame ga Kill wouldn’t have been a fraction as good. She opened up the entire world to us and in the episode where she was trapped on an island with Tatsumi, she was the epitome of cute.
Who was your least favourite character?
Well, this was the easiest decision in the world. It’s not that Seryu Ubiquitous is a bad character, she’s actually fairly well developed and an interesting and conflicted character. No, it’s because she is an absolute monster and the only person that I didn’t care about one bit when she died. If anything, seeing her and Koro blown into thousands of pieces was a highlight. Good riddance, you crazy bastard!
Would you like some more?
In a sense, I would, but only to see them fill in the Wild Hunt section. There are some elements about the ending that needed improving, such as the attack by the rebel army should have been massive and more in the lines of Lord of the Rings level of epicness, however, the actual end where pretty much everyone died, unlike in the manga, is a better and more impactful ending in my opinion. They’re a team of assassins trying to create a world where they aren’t needed. Of course, they’re all going to die. They know that they are muderers, regardless of the target. It’s hard to come back from that.
What have you learnt?
I loved the way the characters were mirroring one another and giving a glimpse at how things could have been different. This is a great technique and can be used in all manner of ways. Another thing that I really enjoyed was how some of the villains were just bad people and others were bad because of their association or the side of the law that they found themselves on. To suggest that all villains must have a backstory that shows us why they’re like that is exhausting. Sometimes, people are just crazy because that’s all they know. Like most things, it’s all about the variety and how you serve things up.
Other Posts in the Series
- Episode 1 – Kill the Darkness
- Episode 2 – Kill the Authority
- Episode 3 – Kill Your Cares
- Episode 4 – Kill the Imperial Arms User
- Episode 5 – Kill the Empty Dream
- Episode 6 – Kill the Absolute Justice
- Episode 7 – Kill the Three Beasts – Part One
- Episode 8 – Kill the Three Beasts – Part Two
- Episode 9 – Kill the Lust for Combat
- Episode 10 – Kill the Seduction
- Episode 11 – Kill the Mad Scientist
- Episode 12 – Kill the New Recruits
- Episode 13 – Kill the Hindrance
- Episode 14 – Kill the Giant Dangerous Beast
- Episode 15 – Kill the Religion
- Episode 16 – Kill the Dolls
- Episode 17 – Kill the Curse
- Episode 18 – Kill the Demons
- Episode 19 – Kill the Fate
- Episode 20 – Kill the Pandemonium
- Episode 21 – Kill the Despair
- Episode 22 – Kill the Little Sister
- Episode 23 – Kill the Emperor
- Episode 24 – Akame ga Kill!