Mar 29, 2014
Po_and_Dong (All reviews)
Right off the bat I will say this manga is extremely similar to two others of note, number 1 Death Note and number 2 Sanctuary. Akumetsu is at its core, a vigilante story starring the protagonist Shou, and his somewhat superhuman exploits. Shou wants to change Japan for the better, and does this with a series of assassinations against politicians and the like who he deems within reasonable thought that they are corrupt, but outside the normal law. Sounds in theory similar to Death Note in the assassination aspect, and Sanctuary in the reform part, but in my opinion Akumetsu is better than both. To start off I like the main character Shou, who is a shit eater to his very core, always smiling in seemingly ever horrible situation only for the audience to find everything going to plan (most of the time.) Maybe I am just naturally inclined to like the trouble maker protagonists, although Shou is not an immature character, in fact he takes his job very seriously. So serious and entrenched in his personal justice that he will literally DIE for it..... somewhat literally.

Beyond Shou there are some other characters, most notably the fictional Prime Minister of Japan. Besides that there arent alot of recurring characters, but there are a few. Akumetsu always has an audience though so it is not quite like he stares his enemy down and tries to morally break them in a 1v1 converation, there are always other characters around. Recurring characters are found in flashbacks as well. However, Shou is absolutely the star of the show, and he is just a really fun character, everything he does is interesting. If you are a thinker reader, you might find yourself questioning the validity of Shou's justice and logic, rest assured the author was prepared for this, or rather Shou himself was prepared for this. While Shou may seem like your typical Machivillineastic excuse me spelling, character a la Light Yagami, this isn't quite true. I wouldn't be fooled by the smirk, to put it simply.

Shou drives the entire story of course, this is not a saga following a plethora of perspectives, its definitely Shou's story and he is at the center of everything one way or another. The story is, basically, his long attempt to reform Japan in a bloody way. The chapters are heavily driven by dialogue, in fact Akumetsu has more words per page on the high actions pages than I have ever seen on a manga, sometimes something like 70 words on a page, you can see the translators need to use a narrow bold font to make up for this. There is some sarcastic banter on Shou's side, but during his engagements it usually involves him revealing the very, very extensive crimes of his targets. He doesn't mince words, but he also makes sure his speech is never under 1000 words, HOWEVER, its not a bore by any means. In fact, since the political crimes of his targets are usually very realistic in nature, it is interesting just by it's factual accordance, or rather its attempt at looking like a factual accordance. It's always interesting to hear what Shou, or Akumetsu, has to say, and what bizarre and corrupt crimes his target really did. He doesn't choose his target without a reason for sure. Moving on from his explanations, the presentation of his explanations are always absolutely absurd and entertaining, I thought every single one was awesome. There is always some ridiculous infestation of the host building he is doing this in, whether in the form of him hiding himself in a funeral casket, or bombs wired to windows for dramatic effect. There's a reason he is capable of all of this though. There is also alot of action in Akumetsu though, particularly toward the end where things get a little closer to warfare. In the beginning Shou is unstoppable and it is hard not to have fun on the ride. To pull it off to such a degree without going into the territory of thoughtless entertainment, which Akumetsu obviously is not, is a feat of sort. Good fun.

Art is nice in Akumetsu. Nothing out of the world but you even the most fervent manga art critics can't find a substantial issue here. The scenes are creative in what I would call, "scene choreography" and you will find your epic and overwhelmingly cool spreads here as well, which most manga of note have at least a few as well.
One last thing I want to mention is that this manga is pretty funny at times too, the nature of Akumetsu's exploits in detaining and executing his targets are intentionally absurd and over the top. And although there is no breaking of the laws of physics etc, this manga is fiction, albeit realistic fiction. There are also a frequent amount of references to Tezuka era anime/manga.

All in all, one of my absolute favorites, I am really glad I read it. If it means anything its a top 5 for me. Definitely give it a try if you are interested in it.