Akame ga Kill is an entertaining shonen anime that deals with some interesting political themes with a lot of high stakes action. It centers around a young man, Tatsumi, who joins a secret organization of assassins known as the Night Raid to overthrow a corrupt empire. What I enjoyed about the show is that isn’t focused on typical shonen themes of wanting to be the best but it does focus on themes like government corruption and economic inequality. I am aware the anime was made before the manga was even close to finishing and that the anime has an original ending. I have never read the manga source material so I can only judge the anime on it’s own merits.
I enjoyed the show the most when it did focus on these political themes and I think they did good job of fleshing out all the members of Night Raid. You got to spend a lot of time with most of them and you understood what their motivations were in fighting to overthrow the empire. Bulat was easily my favorite character. Even though he does fall to some gay stereotypes, I appreciated the show treated him as a serious character with his own motivations and interesting past and you could always tell Tatsumi really admires Bulat and cares about him as a good friend. The show tries really hard to make the villains sympathetic,especially in regards to Esdeath, but the villains were just so over the top at times, and there was no way to rationalize their goal of protecting the corrupt Empire that I never really felt sorry for any of the villains. I was especially frustrated with Esdeath who didn’t even try to understand Tatsumi and only seemed interested in her own short-sighted worldview. The show tries to pull off a clash of competing worldviews between the Night Raid and the villains known as the Jaegers, but it never really goes far enough with it to make it feel like it mattered much.
Without spoiling anything, some of the romantic ships in the second cour also ended up feeling out of left field. The animation and music weren’t bad but were pretty standard for a shonen action anime. I liked all the character designs looked distinctive and everyone had their own unique powers and weapons to fight with, but the fight scenes could have used more impressive visuals. I also found the music and theme songs to be fairly average and not very memorable. In spite of being an entirely anime original ending, they do wrap everything in the story up and all the character conflicts feel resolved.
The biggest problem with Akame ga Kill is that it has some unique ideas but it doesn’t explore them far enough to make it feel meaningful. Having not read the manga, I don’t know how much of this the fault of the source material or the fault of the anime trying to complete a story that wasn’t finished yet with their own original ending. If you’re not really into shonen action anime, Akame ga Kill certainly won’t change your mind about the genre. But if you’re a big fan of shonen action and you’re looking for something fun to watch that won’t take up too much of your time, Akame ga Kill is entertaining enough to satisfy your action craving. I give it a three out of five star rating. Akame ga Kill is licensed by Sentai Filmworks and is available on DVD and Blu Ray, digital purchase on Amazon Prime and iTunes, and is available for streaming on Crunchyroll, Hulu, Yahoo View, and HiDive.