Blood, Gore, Boobs, and a surprisingly good time. I thought this might just be another hack’n’slash, but it seems I may have been a bit hasty in my judgement.
This is JustintheThief; Here’s my review!
If Quentin Tarantino wrote an anime, I think it’d be something like this. A traveling fighter named Tatsumi easily kills a large Earth Dragon defending a caravan. I want to know how he compares to other fighters in the series, as he’s obviously very strong. He explains to the grateful drivers that he is planning on going to the imperial capital to make a name for himself there.
However, the drivers get oddly serious, explaining to Tatsumi that maybe he shouldn’t go to the capital, explaining that it “isn’t the place of hopes and dreams” as he believes, but that “There are monsters even worse than that earth dragon” there. Not the Danger Beasts, but people who are far worse than monsters faced on the road. That’s not plot point there… But Tatsumi seems to shrug off this warning, explaining that he has to become famous so he can help his village.
Finally at the capital, the entire world seems to open up for our young protagonist. However, heading to join the military, he finds it is overcrowded and that he’d have to start at the bottom, instead of showing off his skills and becoming an officer.
After being thrown unceremoniously (but hilariously) out of the Barracks, he comes across a beautiful woman with large breasts who tells him that if he buys her some food, she can help him get his name out there. During the meal, she explains that everything in the city is about knowing people and money, suggestion the corruption that’s purveying the city, and that she happens to know a commanding officer who would love to have him. So she takes his money, saying she hopes his “encounter with [her] will serve as a valuable lesson.” As he waits for her to return, the tavern owner finally tells him that he’s been swindled. Something you and I already figured out. (I promise I figured it out! It didn’t slip by me! Nope, not at all….)
Deciding to sleep on the streets due to having no money, he is seen by a young woman named Aria and, though skeptical at first, he decides that perhaps he should accept her offer of hospitality (suspicious…). At her mansion, he finds her household welcoming, even finding that Aria’s father promising to help him get into a ranking place in the military. He tells the family about leaving his village with two friends, Sayo and Ieyasu. The village chief blesses then as they leave, giving Tatsumi a small statue and telling him, “Keep it close to you, and God will surely help you.” But Tatsumi then explains that he and his friends were attacked by bandits and separates. Now I want to know what’s up with his village. This is twice now that they’ve mentioned he needs to help it. Aria’s father even offers to use his connections to help find his friends, while Aria, seemingly offhandedly, quips that she’s sure that he’ll “see the two of them soon.” They all go to bed, with Tatsuya worrying about where his friends are. With all that warning about the horrible people in the city, maybe there are some good ones.
The next morning he goes shopping with Aria, who buys great amounts of things at a whim it seems. This however, is inconsequential to what one of the guards confides in Tatsuya. He shows him the imperial palace and explains that the emperor is no more than a boy and that his main advisor, the prime minister is the real puppet-master, painting him as a corrupt tyrant who controls everything. The implication being that Tatsuya will eventually find his way to meet (or more likely, confront) the emperor and prime minister. It seems he is the one that is making life so hard for the everyone and is the reason that the country has become fetid.
The guard also mentions Night Raid, a band of notorious assassins who’s targets are the upper class and the high ranking executives. His implications seem to be negative towards both, but the way it is discussed makes it seem as if Night Raid were more like a vigilante group trying to sway the balance for the lower class citizens. Kind of Anti-Heroes. Aria comes back with a comically huge parcel, thus breaking the momentary tension in a show that seems to be mostly light hearted fun so far. Oh, how wrong I was.
We then see Aria’s mother walking through the hall, innocently talking of her diary, when there’s a cutting sound and she falls to the floor, severed into pieces, while a woman behind her apologizes to the corpse for killing her. Somehow, this wakes up Tatsuya, not claiming he heard something, but talking of feeling a “Killing Intent.” This is probably a plot point that will be brought up later in the series. I hope it’s not something they just throw in and never talk about again. But he gets up, looking for where that feeling came from and finds that Night Raid has come to the home.
He looks on in horror as two of the Night Raid members, one a beautiful, stoic girl named Akane, (we found the Title Girl!) easily dispatch two of the guards. One of the guards, I believe it to be the same one who discussed the capital with Tatsumi, says through a mouthful of blood, “A fitting end for someone like me, whose true nature is rotten…” thus further adding to the feeling that something about Aria’s household isn’t right. He decides that he needs to find Aria and protect her, and runs off.
We then find Aria’s father being killed, lifted and strangled with one hand. He mentions his daughter, though the assassin, a female, explains that he would “be with her on the other side.” confirming my suspicions that they would kill all of the family. She explains that she has no mercy, and snaps his neck.
We then see Aria and one of her guards running through the woods, trying to get to the Storehouse to be safe. The guard tells Tatsumi to defend them while they hide in the Storehouse. waiting for the authorities. The assassin Akane shows up, and though Tatsumi prepares for a fight, she mutters to herself “not the target” and instead of killing him, dashes over him (yes, over) and, dodging bullets, kills the guard. So perhaps Night Raid, or even just Akane, has some sort of ‘code of honor,’ I want that to be explained as well. Obviously they aren’t villains. But Tatsumi manages to stop her before she call kill Aria. Akane, matter-of-factly explains to him that he isn’t a target. But Tatsumi retorts that she plans to kill Aria, to which Akane confirms without a hint of remorse. It’s actually a comical moment, and a well done one. These guys really know how to break the tension in a good way.
Even in the face of death, where he realizes that he can’t win against her, Tatsumi still decides to protect Aria, because, “If I can’t even save this one girl, How can I save an entire village?” Again with the village. I feel like it can’t just be that the village is poor. Is there some kind of trouble there? It has me wondering exactly what Tatsuya wants to accomplish.
The fight is momentary, and Tatsuya is stabbed by Akane. However, he was protected by the statue that the chief gave him, thus fulfilling the promise that if he kept it close, God would help. However, Akane again goes on the attack, but this time they are stopped by the Assassin who killed Aria’s father, who turns out to be the big-boobed chick from earlier who stole all of Tatsumi’s money! However, it isn’t all fun and games, as they enter the storehouse and, to Tatsumi’s (and my) horror, we find it full of bodies, all imprisoned and tortured.
Tatsuya is horrified to find his friend Sayo dead, naked and hanging covered in blood from the ceiling. Aria tries to sneak off, explaining she didn’t know any of it was here, but a voice calls out to Tatsuya. It’s his other friend, Ieyasu, who calls out that the girl tortured Sayo to death. Aria looses it and screams about how the country bumpkins are all just cattle and she could do what she wanted with them, and that she tortured Sayo because she was jealous of her hair and beauty. Tatsuya, losing all emotion, cuts down Aria in one swipe.
He releases Ieyasu, sick with a poison the mother made, who would then write about it in her diary. What a sick diary. Ieyasu tells them about how strong Saya was when she died, and how he wanted to die well too, and dies in Tatsuya’s arms. I had honestly been hoping to meet these characters, but not in this way, but it was a good way to show us a full range of emotion from Tatsuya.
The show immediately lightens up again when the big-breasted girl, Leone decides that Tatsuya should join them, and carries him to the rest of Night Raid, who is waiting on them, she hands him over to Bulatcchi, a huge man in armor who tells him that “It’ll get better” with feeling.Then they all head back to their base, thus turning the now dark and gory story, back to the silliness it had at the beginning. I like the way they splice in the comedy into the dark action. It keeps the show from feeling bogged down in the dark all the time. And the fact that the jokes are good and well-placed instead of stupid and awkwardly-placed just helps the whole feel of Akame ga Kill!
Now, I can say right now, that when Nick told me I was doing the hardcore anime reviews, I kind of wilted inside a little bit. I thought, “Great, half the time, I don’t even enjoy the hardcore stuff, and most of it is just violence with no plot.” And admittedly, that’s what a lot of them are, and let me tell you, most of the time, I just end up dropping stuff like that. But I was doing for Nick and his blog, so I thought, “I’ll just have to power through.” And then I watched the episode. From the title, I was thinking ridiculous violence, and it was there, but the first part of the story caught me off guard. It was funny. Really funny. And there was an inkling of a plot somewhere that they were hinting at, right there at the beginning.
Obviously it’s a first episode, so it’s mostly introduction of characters, and setting up the story, and the next episode will probably be the same for introducing the Night Raid gang, but a good start. I was riveted right from the very beginning. I shouldn’t have been surprised, the same studio, White Fox, gave us stuff like Tears to Tiara and Steins;Gate. So they know what they’re looking for here. And it doesn’t disappoint as a first episode. The OP “Skyreach” by Sora Amamiya (totally rockin’), and the gentler “Konna Sekai, Shiritakunakatta” by Miku Sawai is beautiful. Also, can I say that I thought the voice acting in the episode was quite good. The Seiyuu’s really know how to make this funny, serious, or intense depending on the situation. Quite a good cast. The visuals were very clean and polished, and the artwork was beautiful, especially for the background and cityscapes. And the transitions between the more comical and the darker moments are striking and give a good contrast that shows that this show can play to both of those strengths.
If you watched the premiere of Akame ga Kill, What were your thoughts on it?
Well, this was a wonderful start and I’m glad I’m getting to review with Nick. I can’t wait for the next episode. However, due to my current schedule, it may take another week before I can catch up and get everything running correctly, due to my job and theatrical commitments. However, I can say that I should have everything squared away and running smoothly by next week. As soon as I can, I will get a schedule up for you all. Hopefully I’ll get these reviews running on Mondays, when the subs come out. I don’t know what I’ll be using for the original watch, but I’m using the joint team of Vivid-Asenshi for the review and screenshots. I’ll get my schedule for all this up very soon.
Well, I don’t know about you, but I’m exited for the next installment of Akame ga Kill. I want to know what all is going on. The hints were enticing, but not super informative. Gotta know more. What were your thoughts on the first episode? What do you think is going to happen next? Did you see the ending coming? Let me know in the comments!
And that was Nick with the Pixiv link up there. I’d like to thank him for letting me review here on his blog. It’s great to do this. Hey, if you have any comments or questions or find something grammatically wrong or misspelled in my post, let me know! I don’t mind. Thanks a lot you guys!