Produced by White Fox Studios as 24 episode series, Akame ga Kill! is the anime adaptation of an unfinished manga that follows the exploits of an assassination group looking to overthrow the corrupt empire. While it doesn't even have good writing or the proper foundations, there is no denying that this show takes its audience for a wild ride that is filled with bloodshed and explosions.
Set in a fantasy world, Akame ga Kill! begins with a talented but rather naive swordsman named Tatsumi, arriving in Empire's capital city and dreaming of making a name for himself. He quickly finds himself being stripped of his meager savings by a certain feline-looking women called Leona but comes across a wealthy family who decides to graciously shelter him. That very same night, a group called Night Raid hits the household with the intent of assassination. Through a series of twists that exposes the family's atrocities, Tatsumi accepts the offer to join Night Raid and starts on the path towards to assassinating those who they deem to be responsible for plaguing the Capitol with corruption. However as he and his teammates continues their campaign against those who stand in their way, the Empire responses by creating their own unit of elite soldiers called The Jaegers to hunt down Night Raid.
Within each of their own respective arsenals are incredibly powerful weapons called Imperial Arms that were forged in the early beginnings of the empire. From suits of armor to hand-held weapons and gears, the power within each of these Imperial Arms is unique and the main element to the fighting is countering each others power. Tied in with the usage of Imperial Arms, the primary feature that set Akame ga Kill! apart from other action shows is the alarming frequency in which notable characters are permanently killed. As a general rule, when two or more imperial arms users enter into a fight, at least one of them will die giving the show an huge amount of tension when battles do occur.
With a focus of ridding the Empire of its corruption, Akame ga Kill! is a very edgy show with that knows no bounds when it comes to displaying the appalling crimes and cruelty that exists within the series. However, the tone that is given doesn't lend itself to be a mature analysis of the mankind's darkness. More time than not, it comes off as being cheap and I found myself laughing at the sheer ridiculousness of it all. The underlying reasons are mere context and background to the real draw of the show of how the bloody battles unfold.
For all the horrific violence that the characters commits, the regular cast is a rather likeable bunch. Named in the title of the anime, Akame is the beautiful wielder of the Murasame, a sword that is guaranteed to kill its enemy with a single cut, and is a rather cold individual from onset. Once the series get underway, she does have some genuinely assuming moments and actually cares deeply for her friends but usually adopts a stoic demeanor during operations and for much of her downtime. Tatsumi, being the gullible and starry eye swordsman from the countryside , is the audience's introduction into the rotten and oppressive Empire and the fight bring about revolution. He starts off as fairly generic but develops into a much more powerful fighter with strong relational ties to others. Opposing Night Raid is the head of the Jeagers, General Esdeath, who is a very voluptuous and sadistic women that enjoys the thrill of the hunt. Believing in a very Darwinian principle of the strong devouring the weak, she is a very formidable foe and yet, is a little ditzy when it comes to the matters of the heart.
There are too many other characters to list off and go into details but they all share the common trait of being immensely brutal in their fighting while having comical elements attached to them. They themselves are representative of the strange dichotomy where scenes of slaughter, sexual exposition, and torture are offset by their playful comradery. While they don't having the most compelling back stories or development, the cast of Akame ga Kill certainly doesn't shy away from making their presence known by any stretch of the imagination. I would like to give a particular mention to Akame's VA, Sora Amamiya, for continuing to have an astonishing start to her career. In addition to her main role in Akame ga Kill!, she has taken on no less than four main character roles in Nanatsu no Taizai, Aldnoah.Zero, One Week Friends and Tokyo Ghoul. While her time being Akame has come to an end, I look forward what other roles she can play as she moves through the anime industry.
Visually speaking, Akame ga Kill! is an above average effort with a very modern style, vivid colors and a few special effects thrown in for good measure. It does rely on conventional animation when going through its action sequences so there's nothing that makes it stand out in that aspect. Otherwise, the quality remains consistent throughout the entire series which is more than I can say for other series airing at the same time. In fact, one area that Studio White Fox have done a tremendous job on improving is rendering the background. While the manga does a decent job at framing its own surroundings, the additional detail and polish put in really elevates an aspect where the source material was lackluster.
Taku Iwasaki, known for creating the soundtrack to Gatchaman Crowds, Noragami and Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, is responsible the music behind Akame ga Kill!. Judging by his other works, he has been consistently been able to produce music that a bit quirky to listen to but still be able to enhance whatever show he works on. For this series, he incorporates a variety of musical styles from jazz to rock to orchestral music and he does a commendable job of engaging the audience with his music, no matter what the scene called for. I especially like the OST being played during the action scenes as a combinations of drums, tribal chanting and rock goes with perfectly with the unhindered primal violence being shown on the screen.
As with almost all adaptation from manga to the anime, some things are bound to get lost in transition and Akame ga Kill! is no exception. Character interactions that gave depth to their relationship are left out but those scenes didn't really contribute in significantly in altering the core plotline. It is only towards the latter half of Akame ga Kill! that readers of the manga will notice that that the rather straightforward adaption will suddenly veer off into the original anime ending territory that leaves behind an entire arc unanimated and takes several liberties with the story. If you are only familiar with the anime TV production, it is unlikely that you would notice much of difference other than the accelerated pacing and build up. At this point, the manga remains unfinished and if the show decided to stay its original course, it would have ended in an awkward state and would have had to wait years before additional material would be available. For a show to tell a complete story in an age where anime shows are mere primers for the source material is a rarity indeed.
In the end, Akame ga Kill! sets out what do what it promises and that is to smother the audience with super powerups, violence and death up until the very end.