One misconception in the anime industry is that when a show is dark and contains excessive amounts of gore. Many people automatically think the show is deep and thought provoking. The problem is that many anime studios get so hung up with making the show as badass and dark as possible that they forget about the more important problems that might plague the show, like character development and pacing.
Akame Ga Kill is a great example of this problem.
The story follows Tatsumi, a countryside boy that travels to the capital to join the military and earn money to send to his village suffering from poverty.To him the capital is a place filled with opportunities and a happy life. But after reaching the capital he soon realizes exactly how corrupt the capital is. After certain events he is recruited by Night Raid, A group of assassins that wish to overthrow the government and end this corruption.
On the surface Akame ga Kill does seem to be different from other shounens because of it's dark theme and excessive gore. But when you look a little bit deeper Akame ga Kill is actually pretty similar to other stereotypical shounens. You have characters always blurting out the obvious. You have the naive yet strong protagonist that powers up over time. You have almost all of the female characters fall for the protagonist. Akame ga Kill tries to be different show with it's dark theme, but looking at it closer there isn't much difference.
Probably one of the more prominent problems in Akame ga Kill is the comedy. The problem isn't in the comedy itself. (Though I admit most of the humor was stale) but rather the execution. Apparently someone thought it was a good idea to slide in a petty joke in many emotional or dramatic scenes. Probably the best example of this would be a scene where Tatsumi finds out about the corruption in the capital and mourns over his loved ones that died to this corruption. This was supposed to be a very emotional scene but then Night Raid kidnaps Tatsumi and makes petty jokes along the way. It is scenes like this that make me unable to take the show very seriously.
The characters in the show are filled with problems too. Tatsumi isn't really much different from other stereotypical male leads. He's strong, kind, and has a great sense of justice. Something we see in pretty much any other male lead for a stereotypical shounen. The other characters in Night Raid don't fare much better either. You have Mine the tsundere, Bulat the "Aniki" type. Shelle the klutz, Leone the "Onee-san" type, Lubbock the perverted guy, and Akame, the cold assassin. Now considering the show has Akame's name in the title. You would expect Akame to be one of the most important characters of the show. Sadly, the only background we do get to know about Akame is her backstory. She didn't seem to have much development and emotions except for a few scenes.Almost all of the characters feel pretty one-sided and unoriginal. There are two new additions to Night Raid later on in the show. Chelsea and Susanoo. And probably out of all of the characters in Akame ga Kill, I found Chelsea to be the most memorable.Why? Because she actually feels realistic. Although Chelsea seems to be very confident and powerful. She is just like any other girl at her age. She likes to use make up, she has her own beliefs, and she felt like an actual person.
On the other side you have the Jaegars. A special squad led by General Esdeath which goal is to anhiliate Night Raid and any other group that resists against The Empire. The Jaegars seem to be an awkward bunch. You have Bols, who looks like a psychotic murderer with a mask. Kurome, who apparently loves to eat. Dr.Stylish, a crazy mad scientist. That doesn't mean there aren't normal people there. There is Wave who doesn't really have any special qualities and Run, who seems to be the calm and collected person in the group.
And then there's Seryuu...
If there was a person who could embody the word "crazy". Seryuu probably fits the word perfectly. Probably the most hated character in the entire show. Seryuu is a person who has a completely twisted view on justice. She believes that everything the empire does is right and that everyone who goes against the empire is evil. Now although she is indeed twisted as hell and it is a normal response to hate her guts. I find that she brings a different point of view to the word "justice" in the show. To her the empire is her sense of justice. This outlines the different sense of justice between the two groups and what they are fighting for. Something that the show fails to do in many other places.
The characters of Jaegar mostly seemed to be interesting to me, but lack of character development led them to be pretty underwhelming characters. An exception to this would be Esdeath. Probably the most popular character of the show. Esdeath is loved by viewers for her icy demeanor, beauty, and her love of battle. She kills only because of her lust for war and her sadistic nature. She does have a softer nature too, as can be seen when she is searching for love.
One thing that I find annoying with Akame Ga Kill is apart from the Jaegars (which mostly were pretty average). Every other villain was bland,exaggerated, and unoriginal that I couldn't help but laugh when I saw them. Most of the supporting villains are either complete psychos or are so obsessed with power that they don't even seem human. This does get better after the introduction of the Jaegars but is it really too much to ask to get a decent villain that I can take seriously?
The part that makes Akame ga Kill "different" from other average shounens is that unlike other shounens, characters die and although this is apparently what makes Akame ga Kill "special". This is exactly what makes Akame ga Kill fall short. The problem is that characters don't get nearly enough development before there death.It is usually give the character some screen time in the previous episode. Give them a flashback on there backstories, and send them off. Killing off characters isn't a bad thing at all. In fact, this is exactly what I want from shounens with main characters that either get revived or are invincible. But at least give the characters enough development to actually make the viewers feel something, or else the death scenes feel meaningless.
The first opening of Akame ga Kill "Skyreach" is pretty average to be honest. Sure it isn't bad but the song just isn't much better than other opening songs. The second opening is a big step up from the first one with the early part sounding quiet and gentle, but slowly grows into a louder song with guitars and the chorus. Which I found to be pretty fitting to the show. Both the ending songs are pretty good,both bringing contrasts to the opening with softer, smoother tunes.The soundtrack ranged from average to pretty good. The songs in the battle scenes weren't anything special but did there jobs of increasing the tension, but the the best parts are the piano tracks for the moments of death.The piano tracks were pretty simple and weren't complex at all, but the tune the tracks carried brought out the tone perfectly.
The animation is mostly pretty good.I guess the best word would probably be "efficient". Akame ga Kill looks good where it counts and it cuts back in parts that weren't that important. And I respect that. Not every anime has a gigantic budget to work on. (Unless its from KyoAni). The fight scenes looked great and although there were a few scenes that were cut back. Those scenes were mostly negligible and not very noticable.
Now it may seem like I hate the show due to all of my criticism towards the show, but on the contrary. I did enjoy the show to a certain extent. The show isn't terrible by any means, but there were just so many places where Akame ga Kill could have improved on that I find it a shame that it wasn't adapted better. That said though, this show isn't for everyone. If you don't like excessive gore and killing then feel free to steer away from the show. But if you like dark themes and don't have a problem with watching some blood. Akame ga Kill isn't a terrible choice. (Can't say its a great one though.)