Alright so Kyle Jones month comes to a close, and thank god for that. Nevertheless it has been great fun and I loved doing this. So now it’s time to cover something that I didn’t figure I would get the chance to cover, but the stars aligned in such a way to allow me to do this. And that would be…
Akame ga Kill (First Look)
Studio: White Fox
Director: Tomoki Kobayashi
Writer: Makoto Uezu
Akame ga Kill is a dark fantasy action series that originally started off as a manga by Takahiro (yes just that). However, last year the manga got an anime adaptation that ran from July to December 2014 for 24 episodes. Then Sentai Filmworks grabbed the license for the anime right around its premiere. I was thrilled about this, being a fanboy of theirs unapologetically (I regret nothing!). Then in June this year, it was announced that Akame ga Kill would be shown on Toonami’s midnight lineup, which I applauded as it was about time since Sentai Filmworks got a show on that lineup, especially one that’s not the typical show Toonami would pick up. I mean seriously, name a show similar to this one that Toonami has aired in their lineup. Yeah, you can’t. That’s what I thought. Anyway, since as of this writing, the first 3 episodes have aired. So I will be talking about those, as well as the dub, of course. Let’s begin!
Tatsumi, the main character, is a rookie swordsman on a quest to the Imperial Capital of the series’ world to be a hero and send some money back to his village. Also, so he can reunite with his two childhood friends Sayo and Ieyasu, who came with him on his journey. However, soon after a couple nights of staying with a nice family that took him off the streets, he encounters the truth about the Capital from members of the infamous assassin group, Night Raid. As a result of his encounter with them, he joins them in their somewhat questionable quest for great justice. For me, this is a nice and suitable introduction and gives you a clear idea of what the show is about: a bloody good time. Now, one of the things I noticed in complaints is about the comedic relief and the tonal shifts that said relief brings. However there is a need for comedic relief, as a contrast to the more dark and violent aspects of the show. Though, I will admit that it is a bit clunky in bits. Another thing that I like about Akame ga Kill is that it doesn’t take itself too seriously and just wants to be fun and entertaining, which is totally fine by me. The world building is rather rudimentary medieval fantasy, but it works well enough.
This episode serves as a proper introduction of Night Raid and its leader, Najenda. There is Akame, the titular silent killer girl with a sword and a big appetite for meat; Bulat the armored muscle (who is also gay); Mine, the proud sniper; Sheele, the meganekko with deadly scissors(Big, big scissors); Leone, the busty young woman who can go into ‘beast mode’, and Lubbock, the other guy who has weaponized wires. Their chief mission is to seek out change through revolution and violence in order to get rid of the old corrupt government of the kingdom. Essentially, they are a group of anti-heroes, though casted clearly in the mold of unlikely heroes for our tale. I like how brutal the story begins, as Tatsumi joins in the execution of a corrupt general (a rite of initiation if you will) and the fact that it’s constant right up to the bloody end, but that’s for later. On an additional note, say what you will about the flashbacks to Tatsumi’s past they are very well-done and, unlike SAO, White Fox actually took some effort to animate new material linked to that as opposed to just using the same stock footage, oh shots fired.
After dealing with some intruders near their hideout, which is quite a nice sequence, they continue on with Tatsumi’s training. We also learn of a critical part of Akame ga Kill’s story: the Imperial Arms, which are special weapons used by each member of Night Raid. Be it Akame’s sword, Bulat’s armor suit or Najenda’s mechanical arm.
The focus episode this week is for Mine, the pink-haired assassin with a 100% precision gun ‘Pumpkin’ that increases in power the more danger its owner is in. She’s the one who is to train Tatsumi, but ends up taking him out on a shopping excursion. While she is a bit full of herself and a bit of a tsundere, Tatsumi learns that Mine is out to prove herself and to also survive in this brutal world they live in. As also revealed, Minister Honest is the true power behind the throne since the Emperor is a young boy, sort of a regent situation not too unexpected in medieval settings like this. Mine does manage to save Tatsumi after another raid almost goes awry. Lastly, the appearance of a new evil guy within the Empire promises of good things to come, providing a chilling end to this trio of episodes.
Now, as a dark fantasy paying some homage to shows like Berserk, the action is both bloody and violent. So if you can’t stand that, then the show may not be for you. Thankfully, the production values courtesy of White Fox are really good. I consider it good that they did the anime adaptation for Akame ga Kill, as they are well versed in fantasy shows like Tears to Tiara and Katanagatari. Akame ga Kill also really flourishes in the action sequences. OP1 is amazing and shows the visual panache this show displays. In addition the soundtrack by Taku Iwasaki (ROD series, Gurren Lagann, Kill la Kill) is very great as well.
Now the English Dub, I must say, is really good so far. Granted I have only seen the first 3 episodes with the english dub hence the caveat. Here are my thoughts on some of the individual actors/actresses. Corey Hartzog as Tatsumi is a very good choice and glad that they took a chance with a relative new talent. Allison Keith as Leone is a bit unexpected. But, I’m glad to see her in a dub, since she’s one of the few veterans from the mid 90’s still working in Houston dubs. I personally find it nice how far she has come from voicing Misato in Evangelion nearly 15 years prior. Molly Searcy as Akame is really suitable for the part and nice to see some new talent get the chance for a leading role. I liked her in Another for both of her roles (heh). David Wald as Bulat can be best described as “hahaha good job there, dude”; also, I commend him for not going all campy with the role and playing it mostly straight/casual. Shelley Calene-Black, Jessica Boone, Tyler Galindo, Christina Kelly round out the main cast thus far and do a great job. I like how much talent Kyle Jones is able to bring to the table, both new and old, for this dub. One needs only to glance at the cast list thus far. It is well-performed overall, though fitting that such a group of mostly theatrically trained actors deal with a show that is in essence very theatrical. The dub is also very aware of the kind of show this is and works to that very advantageously. The dub script is done by Katelyn Barr (with some revisions by Jones) and is very good as well, nice and fitting. There exists a form of distinct character voice present in the dub script, which I find to be a nice touch. There is some profanity that likely wasn’t in the original Japanese dub, but you know that fits this show as well.
So Akame ga Kill should be checked out. I like that this got the opportunity to be on Toonami and gives me some more hope for Parasyte coming in October. It’s not the best story but it is probably the most entertaining thing on Toonami since Space Dandy last year. There are some issues but those only become apparent later on. Also, the title translates roughly to Red Eyed Killer, perhaps a hint on who is the actual main character of the story, nah I won’t spoil it any further here. Anyway, have a bloody good time with this one! If I can get my hands on this next year, I may do a more complete review but will have to see.
Anyway September I will be finishing up the episodics on Shimoseka along with a final thoughts post for that show. Also I will be doing one series review some time before that, a blast from the past if you will. October will be just another series review somewhat linked to the September one and my requisite Halloween review.