Anime Review | Akame ga Kill! Collection 2 (Lights, Camera, Action!)

By Drew Hurley 03.12.2016

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Akame ga Kill! Collection 2 (UK rating: 15)

After the huge popularity of Attack on Titan, the darker and more violent shonen series of Akame ga Kill! really began to come to the forefront. The first half of the series immediately thrust the audience into a dark world, filled with assassins, super-powered shonen characters, and plenty of viscera. This second collection ends the anime adaptation and contains the final 12 episodes, along with both Japanese and English audio and is out now.

Young protagonist, Tatsumi, and his two friends left their simple life in a remote village in the hope of finding fame and riches in the big city. Lucky Tatsumi found immediate employment in the service to a noble family. There's just the small problem of the family torturing and killing innocent civilians, seeing peasants as less than cattle - including his two childhood friends. Tatsumi realised his dream was simply that - a dream. The empire was rotten to the core. Meanwhile, the assassins known as Night Raid, billed as public enemy number one, are actually fighting against this corrupt evil empire.

The first half of the series saw Tatsumi join the ragtag bunch of Night Raid in its fight against a cliché evil empire, ran by an easily influenced boy emperor and his psychotically villainous Prime Minister. Here, with the Empire on the back foot against the Night Raid, they enlist their greatest general - Esdeath - to recruit a team known as Jaegers to finally bring an end to the rebellion.

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On both sides of the conflict are powerful fighters equipped with super-powered weapons known as Teigu. The series boasts some great character designs that are enhanced with their cool Teigu weapons. The titular Akame is seemingly a cold a ruthless assassin, but actually cares deeply for her friends. Before she joined Night Raid, she was on the other side of the war - once the top assassin for the empire. They bought Akame as a child slave, along with other children to be put through a Battle Royale-esque training system to forge human weapons. Her Teigu is a katana with a deadly curse that ends the life of any even scratched by its wicked blade. Then there is Mine, a diminutive sniper with a bad attitude. The strength of her Teigu massively increases in power the tighter the pinch she's in. On the opposite side, the characters are just as stylish; for example, Akame's counterpart and sister, Kurome, has stuck with the empire. She also wields a Katana Teigu, but one that turns its victims into her zombie minions. There is even a gargantuan and intimidating muscular masked man with a flamethrower, Teigu Bols, who actually has a loving family and acts as den mother to these merciless killers.

The characters are all certainly full of style and quite full of promise, but sadly none really get enough depth or screen time to develop, which is something that causes this second half of the story to fall flat at points. While the story tries to channel George R.R. Martin - delivering fatal blows to any of the cast - it fails to do what the Game of Thrones writer does best, developing a bond between the characters and viewers. There is some fairly prominent characters that kick the bucket in this second half, but it doesn't deliver an emotional impact with the audience - more just a shock. This is mostly due to the fairly disappointing development throughout the series. The violence and deaths at least make for some fantastic fight scenes. The stylish designs bleed through to these scenes - the duels between Teigu users don't fall too much into the age old problem with anime battles where the exposition of each character's move and countermove takes up more time than the fight itself. Instead, there are just action-packed battles, filled with cool twists thanks to the abilities of each character's Teigu.


 
Outside of the action, though, there's a lot of wasted time in this second collection, as the story flounders on aspects that don't really go anywhere and make little sense within the bigger picture of the rebellion. Chief offender is the very silly romance between Esdeath and Tatsumi, as well as the rushed ending. Those who enjoy this would be wise to check out the manga as the series recently concluded this year and delivers a much more satisfying finale.

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

Akame ga Kill! is a solid shonen series that isn't afraid to pull any punches, but it's nothing more than that. Fans will tell you how it's so much more: dark, gritty, complex. However, it isn't. This second half is slapdash and filled with nonsensical moments, especially when it comes to the hugely frustrating ending served up. It's enjoyable to a degree, but the manga is far superior.

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