*BLOWS DUST* Cough, cough. Hi everyone, it’s been a little while, eh? Yeah, my apologies in regards to that, I put too much on myself this fall season and couldn’t find time to write for everyone I wished to write for. Geekenstein went to the backburner in hopes that I could still do 7-episode reviews in the intermittent times between postings for Laser Time, but then I forgot about holidays and all that junk. Basically, I tried to do too much without factoring in everything in my life, and I failed in being able to uphold my duties. But, I’m back, baby, so let’s do this!
Akame Ga Kill was a series that I had high hopes for in the spring 2014 season, and now that we’re at the end, I still have to say it’s a good series marred with an anime-only ending and barebones, tired premise. The manga is still ongoing at the time of this writing, with an ending seemingly in sight, but around episode nineteen, and the tail end of episode twenty of the anime, it went into anime-only territory. Now that’s not to say the anime’s ending was bad, or not enjoyable, but I’m a stickler for an ending as the original creator intended. Perhaps he’s let the anime team at White Fox in on the plot early, and possibly they followed his design, but the end result is lackluster when compared to the rest of the series. I’ve always praised this series, and similar series, for its use of great tactical and strategic moments. Unfortunately, as the series wore on, the tactics, along with the smart battles, devolved into “my power is better than yours!”
“But wait, I have a Trump Card!”
“Oh no, I’ve lost…not really, I’ll sacrifice in an inevitably vain attempt to stop you!!”
It’s a bummer the series went in this direction, as the manga hasn’t displayed the same ideas or developments. In the manga people still died, yes, but it was incredibly well-thought out, and when they died, there was a reason and justification. Rarely did anyone simply give up too soon to try and edge out the other side, but the anime, given its 24-episode count oftentimes had to do so. It hurts the overall product, but it’s a forgivable inclusion. Akame Ga Kill still does the storytelling and character growth rather well for a series like this, but by the end I just couldn’t bring myself to care for a lot of the characters; mainly because at the rate they were dying off, I knew getting attached meant that they could die the very next episode. It’s the same issue I had with Attack on Titan: slowly introduce a bevy of characters, give them reasons to care about them, and then slowly kill them off. It’s a fine idea…on paper.
The reason deaths work best in most media forms is because they’re not overdone and on nearly every character in the series. Think of a series wherein there’s a small cast (let’s say Firefly) and one of them die. Now think of a show with a larger cast (let’s say Lost). Both shows are cult hits, one more than the other, but when *SPOILER FOR A 10-YEAR-OLD SERIES* Wash dies in Serenity, it is way more impactful than Shannon dying on Lost.
Overusing an idea like death of a character reduces the impact every single time you use it. Knowing that, even when beginning Akame Ga Kill, wherein characters will die on a whim, is still not a reassuring idea to have as you’re watching. “Why should I care about this character, or any of then, if they could be dead at any moment?” Obviously you would never apply this to your real life, because that’s rather sadistic, but for media, it’s an acceptable mindset to have towards fictional creations. You, as a creator, need me to care about your characters before you kill them off, otherwise, when the moment comes, I’m shake it off and simply await the next one to drop and continue on until the end credits. Of course, that’s one person’s opinions, but I like to follow the “less is more” or “moderation is key” tenants of character and world building.
Despite this, Akame Ga Kill never felt like a waste of time, and I enjoyed spending the last half of the year with these characters, I just wish I got to know them all a little bit better; it’s a shame and mark that’s left on the series for its legacy, but not an issue that should keep people from enjoying a solid action-fantasy show. Beautiful animation and crazy action and characters help the pace stay near blazing fast, with only a handful of episodes taking the time to build the world and its characters as best it can in its 24-episode run. It’s not perfect, but Akame Ga Kill is a show that should be at least seen before passing judgment when reading over its synopsis. It’s creative, has an interesting enough premise and full of weaponry that would make Insomniac Games weep. If you’re a fan of shows like Attack on Titan, but want something a bit more lighthearted, but still full of death, Akame Ga Kill is the show for you, just lower your expectations a tad before entering.