Nagasawa Shiina was just your average third year high schooler when her father's company went bankrupt. To ease the strain on her family, she secretly begins prostituting herself. At her first job, a mysterious masked man crashes the party... and it's someone she knows...
Akumetsu is the story of Hazama Shou, who defends his own view of justice in a vigilante manner while wearing a mask and calling himself "Akumetsu."
To me. Akumetsu is everything Death Note should have been (in terms of Death Note's story). I hope I haven't angered anyone by saying that. I consider Akumetsu's story-telling to be wonderful.
The entire philosophy of "What is good? What is evil?" is something that alot of series integrate into their plot.
And so Akumetsu might seem to follow that, it takes a contemporary approach. Featuring science-fiction as opposed to magic.
Story: The details keeps you intrigued. They can be essentially divided into three parts that are all developed as the story progresses.
1. Akumetsu actions and political background of Japan
2. The people trying to understand Akumetsu and/or stop
3. The revelation of who/what is Akumetsu and how he came to exist.
The first part makes up the most of the story. The 2nd part humanizes the story, and the third part keeps you interested.
I give the story a 9/10. I personally never tired of it. But I can imagine that some people will find the repetitive nature alittle annoying
The art is very cool. It reminds me of a a more artistic sin-city. You shouldn't try to find "moe" in this series, but the female characters are still quite beautiful. (10/10)
Characters get 10/10 from me because for the most part they were all hunanized, made sympathetic, and thus had "depth".
-Shou's anger at the system yet his realization that what "he" is doing is evil
-Shiina's sadness that Shou has put himself up to this task
-A police officer who's sense of justice puts him at odds with Akumetsu, but also puts him against his administration.
Enjoyment. I give enjoyment an 8/10 because the mid part of the story is alittle hard to get into. However overall Akumetsu is a manga that will remain with me as one of the peaks of seinen manga.
One way to make sure crime doesn't pay would be to let the government run it.” (Ronald Reagan)
It is easier to commit murder than to justify it. (Aemilius Papinianus)
Akumetsu takes us in post 9/11 Japan, where extreme corruption and hearsay lead the country to a massive economic downfall, increasing the public deficit to an enormous seven hundred trillion Yen. Politicians and businessmen simply enrich themselves amid growing unrest.
What would if you do if you the power to eradicate evil? Do you think crime can simply be destroyed by getting rid of all the criminals? In which
cases, a murder can be justified?
Akumetsu makes us ponder on these questions while bringing the real life examples in front of us. This is not some fantasy shounen series where the hero just woke up one day and decided to change the world. Akumetsu is a long and hard fight against corrupt bureaucrats, politicians, businessmen, higher ups and most importantly it is a fight against the evil that resides at the core of our hearts.
Akmuetsu is a perfect reply to those who think that manga is just a leisure time activity. If we read this series attentively and try to grab the message, it can have a big positive effect on our lives.
The characters in Akumetsu are realistic and can be very easily found in every society.
The main character Shou appears to be a cheesy and goofy teenager at first glance but he has much more to his personality. His idea of destroying evil might appear as delusional but that’s not the case. He knows that evil can’t be completely destroyed but he believes that this fact should not stop us from trying to fight against the evil. With his powers, it is not difficult for him to just simply eliminate his targets without causing any ruckus. But the manner of his public trails and his philosophy of ‘one person, one kill’ clearly shows that he’s not doing this for the sake of personal glory and pleasure. Rather he’s a real hero who wants the citizens of his country to step up for their rights and fight the white collars who are eating his country like a cancer.
The overall cast is planned out well and every character plays a good role to make this series better.
This manga has a dark and realistic art. Comedy, Suspense, Thrill and above all the ‘graphic violence’ have been drawn magnificently. Yugo Sensei has used famous Japanese celebs and personalities as the reference for characters and hence giving them a realistic look.
This manga provides us with facts, figures and explanations about the major types of white collar crimes and frauds committed in Japan. These facts and figures grab the attention of the readers and keep the interest going on.
The dialogues, quotes and statements are nothing short of master class. Yoshiaki Sensei really knows how to create an atmosphere with words and there are countless examples of that in this series.
TARGET AUDIENCE: -
People who love dark and action packed Seinen series will love this manga. Akumetsu is also a perfect manga for Asian (Especially sub-continent) Students and Graduates. This manga will give them a feeling that the story is not set in Japan but in their own countries.
* 1. This manga contains sci-fi stuff in it. Even if you don’t like that part, don’t get disappointed, this manga has much more in it to make it a great read.
* 2. While reading this series, don’t get the impression that the writer is some depressed middle aged Japanese who is fed up with his country. The setting of this story is indeed a messed up country but that’s how it has been with many Asian countries after 9/11.
I started off really liking this manga and as it progressed, it became a little stagnant. It can become a little boring towards the middle as some of the mini-stories can be repetitive. But, I always feel the ending can either make or break something and in this case, it DEFINITELY made the manga.. Those who have not stuck to the end don't deserve to rate the manga. The final chapters leading up to the end were so dramatic and tense. Although the end was rather abrupt, I felt it was satisfactory as a conclusion that left little loose strings and was impactful. That being
said, the story is far from perfect and there are some characters that were introduced then shoved aside without much development (eg. the girl that shou may have liked in the beginning chapters). Now for he actual breakdown of each of the categories:
The art style is stylized and expressive. It conveys the emotions of the characters quite well and is rather good at causing moments of extreme epicness. The artist did a good job in expressing the ugliness of the "evil" through his drawings. I felt a true sense of disgust every time I looked at them. While the literal interpretation that evil is ugly might be over powering in other manga, it works well in this story where evil is shown to be so oppressive and overwhelming. Though, the art isn't especially impressive and detailed, it is well drawn and creative in how showing how the story is told.
The story was rather simple and straightforward but had depth at the same time. It did not try to convince the reader that what the "hero" was doing was undeniably right. The actions of Akumetsu are questionable at best and downright immoral at worst. Though there was a "good" side and "bad" side, the story gave the reader room to ponder the actions of the akumetsu. It allowed us to understand nothing is inherently evil, but will undoubtedly become corrupted with time. There some flaws and issues that I could pick out throughout manga but non that are big enough that would ruin the manga. As I mentioned before, the ending though abrupt was good enough to give a feeling of completion. The story understands that there is no end all solution for "evil" and I'm glad that they didn't pull out some bullshit method to end all evil (I'm looking at you Code Geass R2).
I felt this was the weakest part of the manga. Aside from the main character, the side characters get little if any development. They felt quite two-dimensional and they all lacked personality. An exception might be Katsuragi. Although he character wasn't even alive during the timeline of the manga, the chapters dedicated to him really fleshed out his character as well as the reason for Akumetsu's actions. I actually felt sorry that he had to die. Putting secondary characters aside, the main character was quite delightful and unique to learn about in the story. The reason I'm still giving this section a good rating is because the manga is supposed to be focused on the point of view of Akumetsu as a man that tries to take on evil by himself. The problem is when he begins relying on the power of the side characters in the end. Without much development of the secondary characters, their collaboration felt somewhat hollow. That being said, the finale was still nothing short of gratifying.
Akumetsu is a story of one man. And a horde of his look-alikes who collectively become known as Akumetsu. They are a terrorist group who kill off evil politicians and people ruining the country of Japan and causing it to accumulate around 7 trillion in national debt. After an Akumetsu kills his target, he dies as well.
The story is pretty simple and is mainly divided into arcs centering around Akumetsu focusing on a certain target and killing that target (pretty much always an old, corrupt, male politician) in a flashy way so that more and more people come to know of them and they can
be one step closer to fixing the country. The story can be a little repetitive at times though it always spices up each arc with some new feature (car chase, barricading his target in a room with him, etc.) Akumetsu use the idea of one man, one kill. After they kill an evil person, they die as well because the act of killing is evil in and of itself.
As far as characters go, Akumetsu is about the only important one. Side characters, even if they seem like they will be important at first maybe as a rival to Akumetsu or ally, never become important whatsoever. At most they will pop up from time to time to show how someone with conflicting views on Akumetsu's approach to evil is reacting. The targeted people in each arc get more time spent being focused on than any character who actually survives for more than one arc. Akumetsu, as is shown early on to the reader, is a high school boy named Shou. He is a goofy, geeky, and extremely likable boy that no one around him would ever expect to be a murderer. He is really the only important character overall and gets plenty of development. Unfortunately he suffers from many problems with the biggest problem for me being that his backstory and how Akumetsu began and functions as an organization doesn't even get explained until about 100 chapters into the story. While it does work kind of well on keeping you wanting to know more about the story, that is a huge part of the story and really the only thing that wasn't made clear about how the story would go from early on. The Akumetsu are perfect at nearly everything they do. This relieves any tension the reader has that Akumetsu may fail (aside from only two parts of the story where things don't go as planned). This does still leave you wondering how Akumetsu will actually murder his target which is the main appeal of the story.
As for the art, I'm very mixed on my opinion of it. While it does look very well done for a weekly manga, it suffers from one big problem. It stereotypes things. The evil targets of Akumetsu are always old, disgusting men. Even the one time high school kids are shown shortly to have different views than everyone else, they are shown as disgusting looking people. The good people are not ugly whether they are old or not. However I did like how most of the evil people are created after real people who do look somewhat similar to their manga counterparts (albeit less over-the-top ugly). Still, the art has a very nice look to it aside from this with a style that reminds me more of western superhero comics than Japanese manga. It's got a bit of Batman-like style if you took the superpowered villains out of Batman and replaced them with corrupt politicians.
Despite my problems with Akumetsu, I did enjoy it. It can be very wordy at times about how politics work, and for someone who's not from Japan, can be confusing at times. Still, I found it read fairly quickly and was quite enjoyable especially during the more action packed scenes. In the end, it was well worth the read. Especially if you are interested in political or superhero stories, I recommend reading Akumetsu. Still, if you are looking for a story with a great character cast or an easy-to-understand conflict (one that doesn't involve complicated political views), then I would not recommend it.