In a fantasy world, fighter Tatsumi sets out for the Capital to earn money for his starving village, and finds a world of unimaginable corruption, all spreading from the depraved Prime Minister who controls the child Emperor's ear. After nearly becoming a victim of this corruption himself, Tatsumi is recruited by Night Raid, a group of assassins dedicated to eliminating the corruption plaguing the Capitol by mercilessly killing those responsible.
Akame ga Kill! has been published in English by Yen Press since January 20, 2015; in Spanish by Norma Editorial since October 29, 2015; in Italian by Panini Comics since October 24, 2015; and in French by Kurokawa edition since September 11, 2014
Author Takahiro stated in Akame ga Kill! 1.5 that the series is heavily inspired by the historical drama series Hissatsu.
One of the biggest problems people have with some stories is that it seems like main characters are invincible. That no matter how far back in a corner they are, they always manage to pull a win out of nowhere through the power of friendship or some new ability they just got.
This is not one of those stories.
Akame ga Kill is an action/fantasy manga that takes place a country with a very long history that has only recently been corrupted by the current Prime Minister. He has complete control over the young prince and has molded him into his ideal pawn. Now, this idea has
been done before, but I have never seen it done to this extreme so well. While similar things like Fullmetal Alchemist have used the idea of corrupt governments well, Akame ga Kill goes beyond just the simple corruption and shows the sins of the world to their fullest extent.
As the name suggests (“Kill” is in the title), this is not a manga to go into lightheartedly. Government sanctioned mass torture, crucifixion, prostitution, assassination, murder, etc. This manga is extremely gory and rivals Elfen Lied in that aspect. However, it manages to pull off all of this amazingly well.
Story – 8/10
The setup for the story of Akame ga Kill is kind like this: take all of the real world society’s problems and amplify them by 20 before putting them on steroids, then give both the good and bad sides 48 mystical weapons called “Teigu” and let both sides fight each other to the death. That’s about as good of a quick introduction of it as I can think of.
Tatsumi, our protagonist, is a boy from a poor village in the northern part of the country. He has come to the capital looking to join the military and earn money for his village. He also came with two friends, but they were separated when they were attacked by Danger Beasts, which are large dangerous creatures that vary in species and power. When Tatsumi arrives, he is taken advantage of by a busty thief (guess how he gets tricked) and left without any money. On top of that, he has trouble getting into the military. He is lying on the side of the street at night in a hopeless condition when he is found by a kind, wealthy girl who offers to let him stay at her house. According to her servants, she has a habit of doing this. At her family’s mansion, the girl’s father agrees to let Tatsumi stay there and even offers to help him get into the military through a connection he has.
However, a mysterious assassin group called “Night Raid” is targeting the kind family that has taken Tatsumi in. Night Raid has been going around killing rich and politically powerful people in this corrupted city. Their ultimate goal is to kill the Prime Minister who is behind everything and, with the Revolutionary Army that they are a part of, return the country to peace.
If you just want to get a feel for how dark this manga is, you need only read the first chapter. I don’t want to give away anything because I think the first chapter is just amazing at how well it sets up the tone of the rest of the manga.
One thing I really love about the story has to do with the Teigu. The Teigu are 48 extremely powerful weapons that were created long ago from some of the most powerful Danger Beasts. They range from a poisonous “one-cut” sword to a cute little dog-thing that transforms into a gigantic dog-thing that has the teeth of a demonic worm-shark-thing to a gun that gets more powerful the more trouble the user is in. Now similar things have been done many times with mystical weapons but there is one addition that Akame ga Kill does that sets it apart from similar situations: if two Teigu users fight each other, at least one of them must die without exception. And the mangaka holds true to this. This creates a much more exciting story when you know that at least one of the people fighting (whether good or bad) will not walk away from the fight alive through some miraculous event.
Art – 10/10
This manga is one of the goriest I have read: blood, bones, intestines, hearts, and people being tortured. While most fights do not always go to the extreme, the real intense ones where someone must die do. And the gore is drawn amazingly. With that dark theme, the emotions of the characters (especially since most characters get extremely angry or sadistic at one point or another) are also extremely detailed. While there are some comedic and fanservice moments, they are few and far between the dark, dramatic scenes. And the few comedic scenes they have are usually a nice, funny change of pace. Esdese’s “unique” behavior (and I’m not talking about her sadistic side), Akame’s love of food, and Braht’s homosexual flirtations towards Tatsumi are all hilarious and really well drawn and executed.
While it does not actually show nudity, the manga does come close at times in some of the fanservice, prostitution, and torture moments. It doesn't get in the way though and for the latter two of the three previously mentioned things, just adds to the dark tones of the story.
The character designs are also unique and interesting. The few color pages show that the characters have one of the widest range of hair colors I’ve ever seen, but even without that, they are all unique. There aren’t any characters that I ever mixed up and mistook as someone else like in some manga with similar looking characters.
Character – 9/10
Akame ga Kill may have the best, most unique, and most depressing character backstories I’ve ever seen. They are spaced out perfectly throughout the manga instead of being clumped together in the beginning so you can remember most of them. Main and supporting characters alike have great and pretty much always tragic pasts. Tatsumi doesn’t have much in his past prior to the first chapter, but characters like Mein, Akame, Bors, Esdese, Schere, etc. have such amazing and memorable backstories that they make up for it. And I’m not saying Tatsumi is boring at all. While he does not have the most creative goals ever, he works hard and is not weak-kneed and afraid to kill like many protagonists.
And those backstories just makes it all the more emotional when characters die (even for the villains). This manga does a great job of connecting the reader to the characters. I won’t talk about the other characters any more than I have because the manga does such a good job of introducing them and I wouldn’t want to spoil any of the backstories.
The only real problem with the characters is that some of the villains, mainly Wild Hunt, are just there to be hated. They do vile and despicable things just to make the audience hate them (and it does work), but to an annoying extent with no motivations or reasons for doing these things other than that they are just disgusting, selfish people. But this is just one problem, and doesn't get in the way of enjoying the rest of the story.
Enjoyment – 10/10
Akame ga Kill is great dark fantasy manga that I recommend to anyone who enjoys violent stories and great characters with well thought out backstories. If you like similar dark manga like Shingeki no Kyojin and Elfen Lied or if you like manga that go into the problems of society like Magi: the Labyrinth of Magic, Death Note, and Shiki, then at least check out the first chapter of this manga. I recommend it all, but the first chapter will definitely decide whether or not you are up for this dark story or not.
Over the time, the term "edgy" has become something that people throw around for just about anything like Halloween candies. Therefore, when people label something as "edgy" these days, the chances are that it's not an appropriate term to describe that something. Fortunately, that term has found a perfect place just recently, and it's called Akame ga Kill. The more of this series I read, the more I'm convinced that the author is working on his 100% run of Shadow the Hedgehog and DMC as he's writing this masterpiece.
The biggest problem with this series already starts with the first chapter- The main character, Tatsumi,
is a rather generic shounen protagonist who starts off with his two best buddies on some unexplained journey. Unfortunately for him, the group gets separated at some point, and when Tatsumi finds his buddies again in the Capital, the main setting of the series, it's shockingly revealed that they have been tortured to death by the very mean woman, Aria. (Don't bother remembering her name since she's irrelevant) Later, she gets killed and Tatsumi joins up with his actual group. What a fake out! Such a ruse! Deconstruction of a typical shounen manga! Now, what's wrong with this? It seems to be a nice introduction to the grim-dark setting the series seems to be going for, and serves as a possible motivation for the protagonist to stop the corruption that festers the Capital. Well, nothing, really. In fact, that's a good thing. So why did I state that the problem starts here?
Because this becomes a gimmick.
The series really seems to like emphasizing that the Capital just happens to be full of terrible people who seem to take their ideas from Comiket guro doujins. Even when the first chapter establishes this idea already, the author just has to beat the dead horse over and over in order to invoke some sort of emotion from the audience. Unfortunately, it's not very effective by the 10th time, and especially more so when the victims are extremely shallow or just so obviously fodder. The extra chapter later in the series is a perfect example of this- Three random girls, suddenly tortured/raped and dead. (one by suicide) What was the point? Nothing. The villains were irrelevant, and so were the 3 girls. The point emphasized? Uh, the Capital is full of bad people? Wait, that was already established by first chapter. It's really just another half-assed attempt to invoke some sort of emotion from the audience, and it doesn't work at all because it's just really trying too hard and eventually becomes just annoying. The author seems completely incapable of portraying something as "evil" unless some gory scene is involved. This baffles me because plenty of shounen manga-tier antagonists are fully capable of murder- But apparently visually showing that process in detail, despite it leading up to the same outcome, makes it any different?
Eventually, the series introduces a rival group called "Jaegers" to oppose the protagonists. Mind you, these characters, unlike most of the random fodder Monster of the Week villains in this series, are supposed to be actually relevant. Now, how would the author try to differentiate these guys from the rest? Give them the panel time instead of the protagonists, and write them just like how the protagonists are written with random SoL segments. Of course. It's sort of already painfully obvious what the author is trying to do here- By humanizing them, clearly the audience will feel some sort of sympathy for these guys when they die, and question the morality of it all. No, it doesn't work that way.
This is a great example of cherry-picking. Just showcasing some moments of these characters being not murderous psychos does not make them any more sympathetic than the rest. No, all that does is show that these characters are human beings, not some cardboard cutouts with the label "I am evil" attached to them. And the last time I checked, a character being a human (i.e. having emotions and personality) isn't an attribute. It's a requisite to even qualify as a character, so this really doesn't do anything to develop them at all either. And as for the central antagonist the protagonists are supposed to be aiming for- He's some overweight guy in charge of the Capital behind the puppet monarch who has a headgear that vaguely resembles devil horns, which I guess it's supposed to be deep and symbolic. And just like all the cardboard cutout antagonists outside of Jaegers, he has nothing going for him other than the fact that he's a dick. What a fucking joke. Of course, you can argue that maybe later in the series, whatever his motivation might be would be revealed or something, but I think it's already far too late in the series to give him a personality.
So while I was busy describing how awfully written the antagonists were and the plot driven by them, I forgot to mention the protagonists in much detail. Well, there's an excuse for that- There really isn't much to them at all either, except maybe Leone, who is one of the first characters Tatsumi meets. First of all, outside of their personality quirks, they aren't given much time to develop as characters. One reason is that some of their would-be panel time is given to Jaegers instead, who are even more shallow. In fact, two of the characters who die later in the series are given some sappy flashbacks (which is an obvious death flag- and this is rather offensive since this shows that the author is at least partially aware that these characters would be too shallow without addressing them before their deaths) and the author calls it a day for those characters- And one other character who dies is introduced much late in the series, only to be killed very quickly. It's like the author couldn't decide to kill off one of the existing characters, so he introduced a new one instead just to make that possible. Again, shallow characters dying to invoke emotions. Nothing could be more forced.
On the other hand, here are some more relevant plot points regarding the protagonists:
There's the whole drama between Akame, the other main protagonist, and Kurome, a member of Jaegers. They're sisters. They also used to work for the Empire/Capital. Akame left because she wasn't brain-dead enough to work for people who treat their comrades like shit. Kurome didn't. Now they're enemies and want to kill each other. Okay. Here's the weird thing- There are few possible reasons as to why Kurome didn't leave the Empire like Akame did. One being that Kurome needs to rely on drugs to survive due to heavy experimentation on her body- So does that imply that she agreed with Akame's decision to leave and that she couldn't because of her physical condition? Considering the fact that they want to just kill each other and neither of them seem hesitant at the idea, that doesn't seem to be the case. Then the other reason must be that Kurome doesn't really care for her own comrades as much as Akame did, and therefore didn't want to bother leaving the Empire, right? No, because she clearly does care for her comrades considering the scene involving her after Bors (another member of Jaegers) was killed in battle. So there's one last possibility- Kurome is being brainwashed to a degree in some form/shape. Or maybe she's stupid and just accepts all the awful things the Empire does. And at that point, it's just forced sibling rivalry. I guess the author really had to check that off from his trope list.
There's also this drama between Tatsumi and Esdese, the leader of Jaegers and the strongest soldier of the Capital. There's supposed to be some sort of romance between the two- No, of course it's not developed well at all. Esdese just outright falls in love with Tatsumi on first sight for literally no reason- What better way to make the main character seem more relevant than forcibly tying in a fairly significant character into it, right? Brilliant, AgK! Truly a sign of a masterpiece in the making.
And the last plot element that warrant mentioning is the Teigus- Most of the time, these are just fancy weapons with special abilities, which seem to be like the requisite for every generic shounen ever, but there is one very important key point about them that I'd like to go over. The author points out that there is not a single Teigu that can resurrect the dead- Basically, this is the author's way of saying "This is not a generic shounen where dead characters can come back to life like dragon ball and therefore deaths are final." However, this is how I see it: "Characters die in this series and if they do, they're likely going to be very irrelevant in the end." Even though this plot point could've been brought up much later in the series, it's introduced rather surprisingly early- Almost as if author is just desperately attempting to show how grim-dark his series is as much as possible. I think the term "edgy" fits in perfectly here.
Overall, this series is just a perfect misunderstanding of what makes a series "mature" and dark- And while it's perfectly fine and possible to make your series mature/dark through some creative writing, inconsequential deaths and completely unnecessary gory scenes leading up to them sure as hell aren't the way to go. So in conclusion- This series is just another overrated generic shounen with completely unnecessary gory scenes and characters to make it seem more mature and dark than it actually is, despite it being an extremely shallow, boring work as a whole. I suppose, in a way, that this series is trying to be really pretentious in that aspect. In the end, it's just one of the flavor of the month series, where after you read it for a while, you quickly lose interest in it because it's far too formulaic and the characters are too shallow to even care for. And then you sort of forget you ever read it in the first place. This is what happens when you focus on one particular trait of your series so much that you forget about everything else that makes a story interesting.
However, even after all that, if you're interested in how this series can redeem itself, I suppose it doesn't hurt to keep up with it. Maybe it will stop shoving forced characterizations, drama, and gore doujin materials down your throat at some point. But I highly doubt that will happen any time soon because this series is all about forcing something up your face while endlessly trying to make a point about how dark and serious it is.
Being a generic shounen manga isn't that terrible of a thing, though it makes the series relatively forgettable- And even then, one could still have a generic setting and make it interesting and fun to read. Akame ga Kill, however, just tries really hard to paddle away from the generic shounen manga territory, while at the same time, not knowing where it's actually paddling towards. So far, it's been a truly revolutionary trainwreck.
First of all, when I picked this manga I though it'll be a typical adventure fantasy, but should still be a good way to kill time. However I'm glad I was wrong...
This piece doesn't look like it at all on the first glance, but be warned it contains a lot of bloody scenes. Men and women sliced to pieces, tortured to death or some other way falling victims to human cruelty in high detail, just like in medieval real life. It does display the world in more mature way, but it's not dark and depressing. Funny scenes and dialogues, interesting characters does lighten the mood
Speaking about characters they are very well-made. Every one of them has an interesting background that is revealed eventually. Protagonist is also nicely designed, he's not some sort of naive idealist who only gets beaten up and defeats enemies by some dumb luck or "nakama powerup". He's still a bit naive and young, but fully understands that he has to stain in blood his hands to reach his goal, he's torn by that but is convicted to do so and does whatever it takes to defeat his enemies even uses dirty tricks. Plus he's capable in combact, not overpowered, but doesn't suck as well to only be toyed by enemies most of the time, like usual protagonists in these mangas.
That being said, battles here are also entertaining, action and top notch artwork ensure plenty of entertainment. And it's especially awesome that scenes are not dragged on like mainstream crap. When the battle starts in a chapter then most of the time it reaches conclusion in that same chapter, same with the flashbacks etc. Author does a great job not making it boring for the reader so far, I really love that.
There are some plotholes which made me to refrain from giving full 10 out of 10. The main one is that the main villain is made perfectly clear, the corrupted prime minister makes the life absolutely miserable for everyone in entire country, so the protagonist joins a group of assassins to take out him and all other trash officials. Thats all cool and OK, but i fail to find the clear reason what's stopping those assassins to simply moving in and taking out that minister-scource-of-all-evil and be done with all that, they seem capable for that, so why have to drag it out moving around randomly killing it's lackeys and simply waiting until all forces will be thrown again'st them only making it harder. I'm sure some reason could be found by speculating, yet such important detail should be made clear in the beginning not left for reader to guess. At least that's what i think.
Overall it's very enjoyable manga with entrancing storyline, and hopefully becomes even better in further chapters.
In case you couldn't tell from the title of the manga, Akame ga Kiru (or Kill) is about killing and contains so called "dark" content.
"Dark" content has always been desired and as a result also quite prevalent in manga. People enjoy feeling "mature" and "grown-up" in whatever they do; reading manga is no exception.
"Only kids read sissy shounens; blood and gore is for the real mature people," is what I've seen probably hundreds of times on the internet. So when people experience "dark" manga, they usually feel like they've grown up. "No more of that silly kids stuff I used to read,
I'm a big boy now" is what I imagine many people feel when they read things like Berserk, Monster, and Akame ga Kiru. These days, with the increasing popularity for series like the Fate, Madoka, and Psycho-Pass (thanks Urobutcher), death has become an idea that many authors seem to enjoy playing with as a result of its apparent popularity. While it is not necessarily a bad thing (there are series that do use it well), it is probably Akame ga Kiru's biggest flaw.
Seeing as Akame ga Kiru currently sits at an 8.59 rating as of this review, I have to say that the series is quite overrated, probably because people seem to believe that it is really deeper than it actually is and it gives them the sense that they have matured and graduated from the "casual" material when really this is not as distanced as people feel it is.
So the story follows a pretty generic beginning; guy from village sets out with his friends to save the village from the corrupt government, and then it gets pretty brutal. I'll be honest, I was surprised when it happened. The story suddenly takes a dark turn from what seems like a normal fantasy setting and you suddenly realize just what a scary place the world they live in is. It was very promising, however, where it goes from there is the problem.
Absolutely nothing changes.
Just as soon as this manga leaves the realm of shounen, it dips right back into it. You come right back to the generic "hero joins a rebel group and tries to save the world" type of thing. The only difference being a massive amount of killing in the series but even this turns out to be a problem. Every arc starts with an evil underling army group doing bad things to the people and then the great heroes of justice come in and stop the baddies, saving the day. And while the large amounts of death in this series are definitely a step away from shounen, it becomes so repetitive and boring that each death no longer holds any value and is only there for the gimmicky shock factor. And then the series can't even do that right. The series becomes so damn predictable. In each fight that occurs, you know exactly who will die because of the massive amounts of cliched death-flags that they raise just chapters before the fights begin. I was pretty disappointed as going into it after the first few chapters, the gore that had made it surprising and hooked me in the first place turned into just meaningless gore with very little actual content.
And then we have the romance. The latter half of the "romantic" sub-plot just ruins the mood of the show. Really it seems like it is just filler. For a few chapters you'll have this action packed fight with tons of blood shed and killing then suddenly it'll become a slice of life. The randomness of this kills the tension of the show and while it starts off as comedic relief and tension building (which I actually rather enjoyed), it develops into what the authors seem to intend as either a serious romantic plot or just set-up for another "tragic" death.
The art may be the series only outstanding feature. The art is well drawn and the fights are well directed. Each fight catches your eye and directs it with the movement of the battle. The art reflects the dark, grim tone the story attempts to create and almost makes up for how badly the rest of the story is written. The death scenes are also well depicted, not hiding any types of gore from the reader and are quite brutally drawn. Characters are all very well drawn, detailed, and all in all it really is very good.
In contrast, the characters in AgK are probably the weirdest and perhaps most horribly done aspect of the manga. By far the most interesting characters are the ones that the story makes out to be the antagonists. The protagonists and members of the protagonist group are mostly flat, holding little to no development, relying on "tragic" back stories to make them seem real. These backstories give little closure and you're really never given any time to sympathize with the characters before they die.
As you go further and further in, it seems like the author just became confused as to who the protagonists were as the manga seems to concentrate more and more upon the villains. Really it becomes about the government groups rather than the flat and boring mc's as you see less of them and more of the antagonists. Wave in particular seems to be a better protagonist than our what we are given. All of our main characters seem to be better supporting characters than they are main characters and I'm really not sure why some of them even exist other than to die a few chapters later in an attempt to make us sympathize for them. As the story progresses, the main protagonist group becomes more of a side-story set aside for relieving tension within the story.
With so much of the manga being wasted on developing characters immediately before they die, the protagonists with their plot armour are given little to no development as a result. With all the time and attention placed upon the dead characters and spread so thin throughout the rest of the living characters, those left alive are uninteresting and one-dimensional.
Furthermore, ALL the characters can be placed into good, bad, and undecided. Well that't not too bad right? Except for the fact that every single evil villain is plain out bad, every hero plain good and for some reason it is only the supporting characters who experience any form of inner conflict rather than our so called "heroes". Every villain is completely sure of their evil deeds and have no problems continuing them; every hero is completely sure of their good deeds and although the story attempts to make it seem like the protagonists are having a tough time accepting the fact that they're killing others, killing them is not a hard decision to make when they are so one-sided with absolutely no redeeming qualities. There is no inner strife or conflict within the protagonists or the totally evil villains and this makes them completely flat and uninteresting. With that, the villains are also impossible to sympathize with (unless you are some type of crazy psychotic killer-rapist hybrid) and the heroes are completely boring to watch when all they ever do is carry out their justice much like your typical shounen character.
Despite the low light in which I see this manga, I actually still found it quite enjoyable as far as its action and fighting. This is definitely one of those series you just have to turn off your brain for (similar to Kill la Kill or TTGL). It is very easy to find entertaining and as long as you can handle the overdone gore in the series, you will probably find it fun to read as well. It's just one of those things that although are simple and flawed, are still fun and enjoyable.
I can definitely see why so many people enjoy the series. The art paired with the mood is definitely a good combo, but if you're searching for a psychological series with deep themes or plot, this is not the right manga. There is absolutely no intellectual thinking that goes on when reading this manga. The countless and meaningless deaths paired with the repetitive plot and flat main characters just ruins the entire thing. It's definitely worth checking out and is interesting to say the least, but the constant attempts to make it seem more mature with all the gore really just makes the gore plain boring gore. Its feeble tries to wow you with the deaths gets boring and the underlying "rebelling against a corrupt government" trope has been done better.
It is meant to entertain and does that well, but the story is weak and holds little value, the characters are uninteresting and even pointless, and most of its value comes from the shock that it brings at first but ultimately grows boring as it continues to try and surprise you with the same things. It contains mature content but at the same time does not provoke any thinking and can be mindlessly enjoyed because of the continuous action.
In some anime series, we have come across protagonists who seem to act like the villains. Could they be considered heroes or anti-heroes? What exactly are anti-heroes? Let's check out some of the iconic anime anti-hero main characters!
Akame Ga Kill! lures us in a world filled with relics that are so powerful, only the best of men can use them. Supposedly, they are all in front of you. Knowing you can only pick one, which one of Imperial Arms(Teigu) will you choose?