The world is cruel: only the powerful can survive. This seems to have leaked from Akame ga Kill!, anime based on the homonymous manga by Takahiro is Tetsuya Tashiro, published in Italy by Planet Manga. Fascinated by the themes he proposes, we certainly could not miss this study series White Fox (the same as Steins Gate) of 2014, which arrived only last March on VVVVID, in the original language and with Italian subtitles.
Net of the interesting assumptions, Akame ga Kill! has left us somewhat uncertain, due to a plot with numerous defects, but with as many merits: this creates a balanced engaging shonen that tries to be fresh and original.
Kill the darkness
From the beginning we noticed how Akame ga Kill! is a battle shonen that deals with issues that, even years after the publication of the manga and the anime, are still current: the power that corrupts people.
Tatsumi and his two best friends decide to move to Capital of the Empirefull of hopes and dreams: they want to join the army to help their village, oppressed by constant taxes. During the journey, the three are forced to separate after being attacked by a group of bandits. Tatsumi is determined to become a high-ranking soldier and earn a nice nest egg, but is immediately rejected on enrollment. Later, the protagonist is robbed by a woman who promised him that he would help him solve his problem: he learns that in the capital you must always be careful. With no more money available, Tatsumi is rescued by a family of nobles who goes out of their way to help the most needy. The truth, however, is far more terrifying: aristocrats just want to satiate their sadistic pleasure of torturing and killing the poor, just because they are powerful and untouchable. The Empire only thinks of helping the rich, who act undisturbed and unpunished, while citizens live in poverty, in a climate of hatred and constant terror.
The serious situation facing the kingdom is due precisely to the governors: the Prime Minister manipulates for his own shady ends the young emperor, who still does not distinguish good from evil, and who cannot manage such a vast territory without the help of a faithful adviser.
L'Revolutionary Army tries to oppose the established dictatorial regime, and to win the fight against evil he founded i Night Raid: chosen assassins who act in the shadows to obtain information and to eliminate prominent people who abuse their position, so as to make the power of a corrupt Empire waver from within. Just the Night Raid save Tatsumi from the clutches of the sadistic nobles.
After opening his eyes to the capital and discovering the tragic fate of his friends, the young man decides to join the rebel struggle and free the Empire from corruption and poverty. Soon the hero bonds with the various members of the group, among which the lethal stands out Akame.
Following two twists in the initial stages, the warp gradually takes shape and is enriched with the addition of new characters: the assassins must face the Jaeger, expert soldiers led by the general Esdeath, who have the task of eliminating the deserters. The two sides fight each other using the Teigu, particular weapons of various sizes and shapes and with high destructive power.
From the introductory stages, Akame ga Kill! looks like a battle shonen in which the dichotomy between good and evil takes on more mature nuances.
The criticism of the powerful who sometimes abuse their power to get rich, at the expense of the weak, is not very veiled. The initial episodes allow us to know the world drawn up by the authors, not only dwelling on the origin of the Teigu, but also on how the empire went towards decline; we are also offered the opportunity to perceive the climate of hatred and discrimination, showing us greedy and evil nobles on the one hand, and on the other hand harassed citizens forced to starve. As the story unfolds, new cultures emerge that expand the fantasy universe, although we must highlight that they are not numerous and that they are not very thorough. It is perceived, therefore, how the Empire, in addition to having to face resistance, must contrast other kingdoms that are a threat to the dictatorship established by the Prime Minister: although they are never shown openly, it is clear that the Empire is devastated by continuous wars. In these situations, we understand how Akame ga Kill! also make a criticism of how in war there are no winners, but only losers: often innocent people are hit, with the often unfounded accusation of being traitors.
These types of reflections manage to give vigor to a screenplay that would otherwise be unoriginal. Continuing with the narration, the cardinal themes are put aside, to give way to nature battle shonen the anime: the clashes between Night Raid and the Jaegers.
We believe that the authors should have dared more and dwell on the criticisms proposed, finding a fair compromise with the daring fights, making the work even more raw, so as to leave a strong impact on the viewer; only towards the final bars do the considerations that the production takes on seem to return.
Although the initial charm almost completely disappears, there are new elements that have made us look with different eyes a script that gradually loses its initial determination: an exhaustive analysis of the entire cast, well characterized and multifaceted, creates a work that we could define choral, in which, however, Tatsumi stands out.
On several occasions the narration focuses on the various actors, with a good analysis of their tragic past, marked by the climate of terror of the empire, which outlines their personality. Minefor example, she had to endure many discriminations, because she came from another country, and this pushed her to dream of a world without racism. This information, in addition to embellishing the cast, makes us understand how in the Empire there has always been a climate of hatred, which degenerated when they began to govern the new Emperor and the Prime Minister. Among the various roles, Tatsumi is the one best developed, as there is a slow evolution and maturation linked to the events he is forced to live: he goes from being bold, who does not fear anyone, to doubting his certainties and abilities, but determined to improve, because the opponents he faces are far stronger than him.
The Jaegers, also charismatic and well delineated, appear no less fascinating: they perceive themselves as enemies, even if they have to carry out the orders, they are first of all human beings and not simple war machines, as if they want to justify the actions they perform; yet, when we convince ourselves that the elite of the Empire shows an almost compassionate humanity, it becomes the protagonist of inhuman actions that remind us that it often struggles in the name of a justice born of fear and hatred.
You can notice a parallelism between the Night Raid and the Jaeger, both because some members of the two groups are similar to each other (like Tatsumi and Wave, or Akame e Kurmone), both because there is a strong harmony in the factions, and because the assassins and the military follow similar but different ideals: the former fight for a better future, without corruption; the latter execute orders, and fight against those who dare to rebel against the Empire, with actions that they believe are right.
The construction and evolution desired by the authors, however, seemed subdued to us, to the point of do not feel particularly involved nIn the various dynamics between the protagonists: we have not been able to empathize and bond with them when they face dramatic situations, even if these moments are built to be able to move the spectator's soul.
To counterbalance, the good study of the characters highlights another key concept: the "dualism". The individual actors, from the main to the secondary, have a side that contrasts with their facade personality: for example, Akame appears detached, but in reality, besides worrying about her allies, she has an almost childish character, always being hungry, to the point of stealing food from comrades too. The concept of dualism could be a reflection on the dual nature of people. Sometimes, the ambivalence of the actors brings with them a humor that breaks the gloomy atmosphere, but without ruining the most tragic moments: there is a perfect harmony between comedy and drama. At other times, however, it highlights the most cruel side of people, as can be seen in the first bars: when the true nature of the corrupt comes to light, they take on monstrous appearances. This reflects a world populated by a few threatening creatures, suggesting in this way that the most dangerous is man.
Red Eye Killer
As we said, the screenplay by Akame ga Kill! puts aside any criticism offered, to give space to the spectacular fights. The series boasts a solid manual stroke, even in the most agitated circumstances, with small smudges, and fluid and well-made animations, so much so that they manage to capture the fastest movements; these characteristics make the duels impetuous and galvanizing, to the point of involving the spectator.
The disputes are fast, not taking up more than one episode to end, but still leave a strong sense of exaltation and satisfaction. Sometimes, when a fight ends, the graphic style changes: the drawing becomes similar to that of a comic, reminding us of them splash page, so as to be able to better highlight the grandeur of the scene.
The clashes are seasoned with a good dose of splatter elements, in perfect harmony with the brutal nature of the production, and they are full of pressing tension, because the outcome is never taken for granted: when two Teigu owners face each other, one of the two is destined to die.