I admit, for the first half of the pilot episode I was fairly unimpressed. Perhaps mildly intrigued at best, certainly nothing warranting an impromptu first impression post – I told myself I’d give this a whirl then head off to bed. But I’m very glad I powered through to the end, where I realized I actually had quite a bit I wanted to say. With White Fox at the helm, I’m confident that Akame ga Kill! could turn out to be something really good. I hadn’t paid close attention to the synopsis or plot line in advance, so initially I didn’t find much of note – our main character Tatsumi is a regular-looking guy from the countryside, who one day decided to head to the capital with a couple of friends in the hopes of raising money, making it big and saving his village. He’s a bit dorky, and is unsurprisingly swindled by the first onee-san with big boobs he runs into. Nothing special there. After being saved by an aristocrat’s daughter, we think that maybe Tatsumi will manage to achieve his dreams through the military after all.
Then the plunge happened. I knew it was going to be dark, but wow, I was really unprepared for that. In a way, you could say that I was completely taken in and was naively fooled by the atmosphere the first half of the episode tried to create – just like Tatsumi was by Aria and the rest of that family. There was some fucked up shit going on in that storehouse. I can’t believe I actually felt sorry for the mother as she died – in fact, all of them are useless pieces of crap, the guards included. I’m actually glad that Tatsumi had no hesitation over killing Aria after seeing how his friends were tortured and killed – that was really, really satisfying, and it’s great that Tatsumi himself did it instead of Akame. Even though he looks and acts like a generic main character for the most part, it’s good to know he has a spine, and didn’t wuss out after learning the truth. Bitch deserved what she got.
So if there’s one thing I’ve learned about Akame ga Kill, it’s that it won’t hesitate in killing off characters – I’m thinking we’ll be seeing a lot more imaginative and gory deaths from now on. While there was hardly any character development for Sayo and Ieyasu apart from a short flashback before they were horribly murdered, a lot of the impact lay in the shock value brought about by their mutilated corpses – I did not know Sayo at all, but I still felt really sorry for her after seeing what Aria had done to her. Also, I’m glad there was no censoring. Censoring would have been a childish move that would have killed the mood. All this fits perfectly well with the cruel reality Night Raid are trying to change, and I think there’s a lot of potential behind a setting like this. Certainly lots to play with over a two-cour period.
One small gripe I feel I have to mention is that the show seems to be suffering from a slight mood whiplash, which was most noticeable after the blonde onee-san decided to take Tatsumi in. He’d been solemnly grieving over the cruel deaths of his friends, and all of a sudden he’s back to arguing with Night Raid and cracking jokes. It seems a bit out of place given the kind of gruesome, violent setting the show just dropped on you like a ton of bricks – but hey, let’s hope it won’t be as bad as Brynhildr’s was at least. There hasn’t been a lot of development for Night Raid or Akame so far, but I’m sure there’ll be lots of scope for that in the future – oddly enough, even as assassins they’re still not as morally bankrupt as the establishment. I’m guessing that they’ve all suffered some kind of personal loss at the hands of similar aristocrats that’s spurred them on to act as assassins, but again all should be revealed in due course. I would be more than happy to come along for the ride!
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