Sunday, December 14, 2014

Akame Ga Kill! Review

"Where there is life, there is darkness. Where there is darkness, there is evil."

This world is not a kind place, we all know that by now. No matter how much humanity tries to improve itself, the outcome is always the same. War is a constant. But both sides of war contain bodies with stories of their own and ideals they hold close. So how does one choose which side of war to empathize with? There are no winners after the fighting stops, just a side with less fatalities than the other.

Akame Ga Kill broke its way into the anime scene July of 2014, and ever since then it has been sending viewers on an emotional roller-coaster as they waver back and forth in an attempt to decipher not only their own feelings, but the feelings of society as a whole. It is directed by Tomoki Kobayashi (Sola/Steins;Gate) and is the first original piece from the writer, Takahiro, who gave birth to the story in early 2010.

The anime showcases terrific use of flashbacks, emotion, and has no qualms with killing off characters in order to advance the story. But Akame Ga Kill is not perfect and does have some issues with it. 

There are countless plot holes brought forth that are quite easy to either misinterpret or just overlook completely. On multiple occasions, characters will engage in shouting matches with enemies nearly a mile apart from each other. Anyone to pick up on the physical distance between the characters during these exchanges will quickly lose the sense of realism and validity of the world within Akame Ga Kill. In one episode, a character yells something from the ground to another character nearly a mile in the air, riding on the back of a flying manta-ray. And the most unrealistic part of this scenario isn't the flying manta-ray, its the fact that the two were able to hear each other from that far apart.

There are many things Akame Ga Kill does right, but there are also many things (Like the one above) that it could have easily avoided had it been given a little extra care. So I'll dissect the show into a few key components to better illustrate these things.

Music: 6/10
Akame Ga Kill paints a beautiful portrait of hope and misery, but by itself that portrait can't carry the rest of the show. One issue I had was the immense lack of background music during situations where it could have easily elevated the emotions of those scenes. More often than not, you will find yourself watching an intense battle between opposing forces with nothing to hear apart from the clash of swords and the characters announcing what move they were going to use next. It created somewhat of a detachment between the show and the audience. Had the creators given a little more thought into each scene, it could have been exponentially more enjoyable.

Characters: 9/10
The characters in Akame Ga Kill, apart from the immensely dense and unoriginal main character (Tatsumi), really sculpt the better part of the series. Each one is a twist on a typical character you can find in almost any action-adventure, but all of these characters are dependent on each other and become more complex throughout the course of the show. Character development is crafted phenomenally and the use of flashbacks provide sufficient background detail on characters in order to help explain why they are acting the way the are. As I mentioned before, Akame Ga Kill is not afraid to kill off characters, which is a feat that many shows struggle with now due to the fear of losing viewers that may only be watching the show for a specific personality. In addition to this, each character's wardrobe color can even tell us more about the type of person they are. Mine, pictured on the far left of the image at the top, wears nothing that isn't pink. In this case, the color demonstrates not just her purity, but reinforces the fact that she is just a normal teenage girl when you take away her gun and tsundere tendencies. One more thing about the characters (And I know I'm dragging on here, but this is really the high point of the show) is that each side of the war has personalities that are basically congruent to another on the opposing side. Because of this, viewers have an even harder time choosing who they want to come out on top and often find themselves worrying about characters on differentiating sides.

Art: 7/10
Apart from the fantastic character design of Akame Ga Kill, the animation of the overall show seems rather lazy and blasé. When Night Raid and the Jaegers aren't fighting each other, it just feels like there is something missing. I'm not sure what that something is though (I might have just been distracted by the intense, heavy outlining of everything). The environment is nice, but it isn't something you can't find anywhere else. Had it been a little more original, I would have had no problem giving it a higher score.

Story: 8/10
War is hard to properly craft within television, but Akame Ga Kill does a solid job deviating from the typical portrayal of it. What's great about this series is that you will have an inside look at both sides and see that there really isn't much different about them at all. And this is great because it is essentially telling you that fighting is pointless, but at many times inevitable. It's very relatable and will constantly have you questioning morality. Any show that is able to have you sympathize with a character known for slaughtering innocent people is doing something right. Akame Ga Kill is one of those shows.

Not very often am I able to find myself completely invested in shows spanning a full 24 episodes. But I kept crawling back to this one each week, worrying about whether or not my favorite characters would be able to make it to the next airing.

If you embark on the journey that is Akame Ga Kill, prepare yourself for intense fight scenes, emotional collapse, and a load of metaphors that apply to society today. But at the same time, you must be willing to tolerate some silly dialogue, nonsensical scenes, and a few over-the-top anime archetypes that I'm sure you've seen before.

This is definitely worth watching, and I highly implore you to give it your full attention. Go Night Raid.

Overall Score: 8/10

No comments:

Post a Comment