Akame ga Kill! (Volume 4)

Akame ga Kill Title

Mine has recovered from her fight with Seryu and is itching to get back to action, but it would appear that’ll she’ll have to wait some more. Tatsumi enters a martial arts tournament to get a better look at Esdeath…

What did you read?

I’m back with another volume of the Akame ga Kill manga, and like the last one, this covers two episodes of the anime. Also, as you’d expect from the cover, we finally get to spend a lot of time with General Esdeath. Well, Tatsumi does and it would appear that he can’t appreciate a good thing when he sees it. Anyhow, let’s dive straight into the review. Just so you know, this post is almost all Esdeath as if you needed a reason to keep reading…

Akame ga Kill Volume 4 Cover

What happened?

Esdeath finally got to meet the six Teigu wielders that Minister Honest had gathered together for her and they are an interesting mix of characters. The first to arrive was Bols, a member of the Incendiary Squad with a flame thrower Teigu and a nervous disposition. Wave, a navy officer with an armour type Teigu, was the second member of the team. Shortly after him, Akame’s little sister, Kurome showed up from the assassination squad. Then the team was joined by Seryu Ubiquitous and Koro. They paved the way for Dr. Stylish who took an instant shine to Wave. The final member of the team was Run who uses a winged Teigu.

No sooner had they all arrived, but Esdeath entered the room with a mask and gave them a rude awakening. She’s not one for boring formalities and decided that they should meet the Emperor first so that they can get on with hunting Night Raid. The Jaegers had been formed and even had a spare Teigu, if only they could find a suitable user. Esdeath decided to host a martial arts tournament to find someone, but she hadn’t expected to have her heart stolen too.

Tatsumi entered the tournament as a way to win some money for his village and get a close look at Esdeath. When he won, his smile made an impression on Esdeath. So much so that she decided to enter the arena and reward him personally. Then, to everyone’s shock, she put a shackle around his neck and took him back to her room! There she revealed that he was to become a member of the Jaegers and her lover…

Esdeath took Tatsumi along with her as the Jaegers took out a group of bandits. It was the ideal opportunity for Tatsumi to gauge their strengths. That night, Esdeath attempted to seduce Tatsumi, but he tried to use the opportunity to shift her allegiances. That didn’t work, so Esdeath took Tatsumi to hunt Danger Beasts, hoping to impress him, but once partnered up with Wave, he escaped and was promptly rescued by Akame.

Akame ga Kill Volume 4 Esdeath Attacks

How was it different from the anime?

So, this volume was even closer to the anime than the last one. There were very few changes and the ones that were there were mostly cosmetic and small shifts in order. We did get to see Esdeath’s list of what she’s looking for in a partner. Also, weird observation, but doesn’t Esdeath look a little like Koko Hekmatyar from Jormungand in the image below?

Akame ga Kill Volume 4 Esdeath List

What was your favourite element?

I think having Esdeath fall for Tatsumi is the cleverest idea this series has. However, I am aware that it’s a bone of contention for those that criticise the series and I think that is unfair. Creating a situation where the lead villain falls for the lead hero is great, especially at this stage of the story where it gives us a chance to get to know the villains from Tatsumi’s situation. It also clouds our feelings of Esdeath. We’ve already seen that she is cold and brutal, but this changes that somewhat, or at least the way we feel about her. It is a fascinating dynamic to create and I don’t think Takahiro, the writer, gets enough credit for it.

Akame ga Kill Volume 4 Esdeath Falls for Tatsumi

What was your least favourite element?

Did Akame ga Kill break a significant rule when it comes to Teigu wielders? Well, not really. I’m talking about the idea that when two Teigu wielders fight, there will always be one death. The actual rule mentions that the two Teigu wielders must both fighters must enter with the intent to kill and since Tatsumi repeatedly tells Wave that he has no intention of fighting, he’s kind of found the loophole. Admittedly, Incursio has invisibility which makes it possible for Tatsumi to escape and I doubt many other Teigu would have created an opportunity like that. It was also interesting to see that Wave has a similar Teigu to Tatsumi since they are basically the same character.

Akame ga Kill Volume 4 Wave grand Chariot

What have you learnt?

It has to be the idea of creating conflict with a reader’s perceptions. Conflict with characters and the world they exist in is pretty standard, but to create a situation where the reader is conflicted with how they should feel about a character is incredible. With Esdeath, you know that you should hate her because she is clearly evil. She enjoys torture and killing, but seeing her actively pursue love makes for a rather unusual feeling. Basically, by giving a character a relateable trait can change the perception of the character and it’s interesting to see how much a reader would be willing to overlook. To this day, Esdeath is still one of my favourite characters and I’m not sure how I feel about that or what it says about me…

Akame ga Kill Volume 4 Esdeath Kisses Tatsumi

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  1. “Basically, by giving a character a relateable trait can change the perception of the character and it’s interesting to see how much a reader would be willing to overlook.”

    Very true. Despite how warped her ideals are, her desire to love and to be loved makes her feel human, just like us, despite her sometimes demonic nature. Is she really that different from the good guys? Maybe she’s just acting on her flawed beliefs because that’s all she knows how to do? Can you really fault someone who’s so deeply rooted in the wrong path that she’s helpless to figure out what’s right and what’s wrong?

    By having Esdeath portray similar characteristics as we ourselves have shown, it becomes difficult to simply condemn her as a horrible beast when we’re not all too different from her.

    Esdeath aside, I still can’t overlook the poorly set up deaths of some of the assasins, despite how much I enjoyed the show. I wished the anime had done more justice to their deaths but hey that’s just me.

    • That’s one of the things with this series. The “good guys” are a team of assassins. They’re murderers whatever way you look at it, making everyone in it of questionable morality. I think that’s what makes the comparisons between Night Raid and the Jaegers really interesting. They’re basically the same, just working for a different boss.

      I’m curious which deaths bother you.

    • I just didn’t like how the anime drafted most of the Night Raid deaths. We’re both emotional guys, so I’m sure we can appreciate the sentiments of a sacrificial death. It’s kill or be killed, I get that.

      BUT, I completely disliked how almost every episode you just can expect that one of the Night Raid members would die. The anime creates a trend where the audience knows someone will die, which to me diminished any sorrow I might’ve otherwise felt.

      Since I knew they were going to die anyway, I was sort of hoping their deaths would be more tasteful. But to me it just felt like the writer forced the “Good Guys” into unfavourable situations just to kill them off. It felt like their characters were downplayed just to write their deaths.

      I wanted the fear of death, not the expectation of death. I wanted to hope that they would live, not be resigned to an obvious outcome of someone else dying again. I don’t know, It’s just disappointing to see how they died. I’ve never had qualms with almost every other show where characters die.

    • I appreciate what you’re saying and these are arguments I’ve seen over and over again, but I didn’t feel that way watching it the first time and I’m not seeing them this time either.

      It’s easy for these moments to stand out when thinking back at the series and it may certainly appear that there is someone dying all the time, but it wasn’t that way. Eight Night Raid members died in twenty-four episodes. Two of which in the final two episodes.

      As far as predictability. Tatsumi went on missions with Akame and Mine before Sheele died. There was a point where it looked like Leone had been killed and it was only believable because of the previous deaths.

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