Too much death! Akame ga Kill! when assassins get over excited


Way back when last summer someone show me the first episode of Akame ga Kill!. Sentai Filmworks’ dub had just started showing on Toonami and having missed the original sub run in 2014, it seemed like a good excuse to watch a new show in English – something that I can’t remember doing for a while. It’s probably worth saying now, I don’t intend to be explicit, but I will be alluding to some spoilers.

Though she takes the title role, Akame doesn't hog the spotlight.
Though she takes the title role, Akame doesn’t hog the spotlight.

I can’t say I particularly have an issue with watching shows on a weekly basis – most are designed to be watched that way just because they air weekly in Japan. For the first 15 episodes or so of the show this was working fine for me, the show was by no means perfect but considering it’s a standard shonen type, it was pretty enjoyable.

One of the biggest problems you will find in anime and TV in general is the safeguarding of characters against death, and this cannot be truer than in the shonen genre of anime. It’s frustrating and unrealistic to see characters get out of impossible situations because they are supposedly important the shows overall plot.

The original Night Raid.
The original Night Raid.

This is not one of the problems suffered by Akame ga Kill!.  For those of you who have seen the show in Japanese or are watching the dub as it airs at the moment, you will know that lots of people die. Now I don’t want to come across as the kind of person who can’t cope with his favourite characters dying because that’s not it at all. Ignoring a couple of deaths in the first half of the show, the final quarter of the show seems to have a main character death in every episode. I know what you’re going to say – ‘Hey Sam, surely that can’t be sustainable, there can’t be any characters left by now?’. Well, you’re right. With only the final episode to go, the surviving cast can be counted on the fingers of one hand, and I wouldn’t put money on someone else dying before the conclusion either.

On a side note, food is a big theme.
On a side note, food is a big theme.

The most frustrating part of this isn’t even the fact that there aren’t many characters left. Really, the issue is that after spending so much time getting to know all of these characters (I started this show in August dammit), their successive deaths don’t really serve a purpose; for the last two or three episodes I haven’t even been shocked by the deaths.

It's important you see the armour twice, it comes up a lot after all.
It’s important you see the armour twice, it comes up a lot after all.

I’ll go into the final episode hoping for a typical shonen finish with last episodes apparent death undoing itself and the good guys coming out on top. But this is Akame ga Kill!, the show that has tried so hard not to make the typical mistakes of the genre, it’s made some that are arguably even worse and because of that I’m sure the ending will be a disappointment too.

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One thought on “Too much death! Akame ga Kill! when assassins get over excited”

  1. I have watched the first twelve episodes and enjoyed them. Sad to hear that the finale goes on a killing spree. The series did use shock factor to ensnare audiences early on, but overusing death in a story lessens its impact after a while.

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