First Impressions: Akame ga Kill

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Some of you guys might know that in addition to SAO, I had Akame ga Kill on my “let’s beat up this popular trainwreck” episodic blogging queue. Why? Well it’s a shit manga that has a reputation for being incredibly violent and downright terrible at it, thus attracting a ton of teenage fans who probably think Boondock Saints is a good movie. It’s being adapted by White Fox, who is one of Standing on My Neck’s worst enemies due to their habit of making even the most creative premises completely boring and half the time not even delivering on the visual level like KyoAni and Bones do with their numerous disappointments – stares intently at Super Sonico and Jormungand. Throw in a director who made some terrible anime I watched in my early days and we get “shit + shit + shit = fucking shit!”

The only thing I’ll give this show credit for is that it actually establishes something in its premiere – which is more than I can say for most anime this season or most of White Fox’s usual output in general. It’s a pity that what it’s establishing is pure dung. Even if I didn’t have pre-existing fears, I would have known I wasn’t going to like this when the main dude showed up. Within two minutes, he basically acts like every goddamn shonen protagonist ever – most notably the annoying main dick in Psyren or Jack from Radiata Stories – with how he’s so chipper about everything and never shuts up, but we’re supposed to find this funny. In fact, the entire episode has his goddamn personality: bland and can’t be serious for even a minute before throwing a shitty gag in my face.

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There were two scenes in particularly that really grated on me. I mentioned this before, but that scene when the main dude was cradling his dead friend – who we never got to know, so goodbye emotional impact – only for the next second to be a comedic scene of him getting dragged away whilst whining at how he has to bury his friends, and Night Raid promising to take the bodies later in a chipper manner? Worst tonal shift I have ever seen in a long time. And to make it worse, as I implied in the previous paragraph, those tonal shifts are all throughout the episode. The series can’t decide what it wants to be, and it’s not camp enough to get away with some sort of compromise between the two. Landon complained about how the tonal shifts were as bad as Fullmetal Alchemist’s – and I myself have said the same thing during a previous podcast (go to the 48:30 mark for my exact statement) – but as bad as the comedy was in that show, at least it took things seriously when a death scene occurred.

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The other scene that pissed me off was the reveal of who the little girl actually is – and consequently Night Raid themselves. I have no problem with Night Raid being goofballs or whatever, but it’s the fact that they’re just common mercenaries who only go after the really bad people that really annoys me. All that buildup to their mysterious nature and they’re just a bunch of freedom fighters in the end? Oh, and speaking of bad people, it turns out that their killings of everyone – including the little girl – is justified because they’re a bunch of one-dimensional sadists who get joy out of killing people. There’s literally no other reason. The morality is entirely one-dimensional, it takes the teeth out of the story’s interesting elements, and to top it off, it’s told through clunky exposition like this. Bleh!

Production is terrible too. I guess the fight between Akame and that one guard near the end wasn’t bad, but otherwise they’re mostly done through powerpoint-level presentation and stills. Some people have complained that the digital coloring is fucking terrible and looks like it comes out of the 90s, but I won’t comment on that as I’m not into animation so much that I can’t look past that if the rest is good. Sadly, that’s not the case. I guess the music is a step up from Iwasaki’s mediocre soundtrack for Jormungand, but the opening is fucking terrible and the ending fits, but it’s forgettable.

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You tell me, dude.

So yeah, similar to Sword Art Online, I’ll be beating this up until it gets too boring to talk about. And given that it’s a two-cour show…we’ll see. From what I heard, we haven’t even scratched the surface of this shit when people actually start dying, so hopefully I’ll have some good material to last me for a while.

3 responses to “First Impressions: Akame ga Kill

  1. These ‘trendy’ tonal shaft shows have been bothering me since FMA: Brotherhood. Which I found more vapid than the original series. I’m also too old fashioned to appreciate waify sticks carrying around heavy weapons with deadpan “I’m actually pretty bad-ass” expressions.

    This episode has been fairly well regarded by supposedly astute anime critics fascinated to uncover its depths though. Go figure.

      • Heh, I’d be too troublesome to hang with said critics. Just the usual suspects who curiously have been writing about anime long enough to know better. Glad to know Cart Driver and your circle have sharper sense! You’ll have a blast trashing it.