Akame ga Kill is an interesting series in that it combines elements that you wouldn’t immediately think to bring together: ultraviolent, gory fights with humor sprinkled in that actually manages to be funny. Many anime series are often rarely actually humorous, so the fact that the show manages to pull off such a serious narrative while still taking the time to laugh at itself should be lauded. That’s why this show following a band of rogue vigilantes should be right up your alley if you’re looking for your latest action fix.
Follow Night Raid, a band of warriors out to take down the Capital along with the corrupt rulers within it (think The Hunger Games, but a whole lot less Katniss Everdeen). The story begins with young Tatsumi, who’s on the road to the Capital to keep his impoverished village afloat. He ends up being taken in by a noble family killed at the hands of Night Raid, led by the titular Akame. Akame divulges a terrible secret about the family that welcomed Tatsumi into their home and Tatsumi makes the life-changing decision to join Night Raid and travel with them, taking down the Capital and its leadership in their own unique way.
Colorful characters like the pink-haired obligatory twin-tailed heroine Mine and the leader Najenda abound, including Bulat, a charismatic openly gay character who doesn’t play up the terrible tropes that many other anime series prescribe. He’s a refreshing change of pace and an awesome member of the team. Night Raid’s adventures lead Tatsumi and gang to use special weapons known as Imperial Arms to fight off monsters known (bizarrely enough) as Danger Beasts.
Bloody battles abound as Night Raid and the Capital face off against each other time and time again, but Akame ga Kill is an interesting specimen in that the Capital’s Jaegers team is comprised of a crew that’s not truly meant for the viewer to hate. You might end up switching up which team you root for by the end, and that’s not typical of these types of shows, so it’s an interesting treat.
That’s why when Akame ga Kill truly goes off the rails and kills off a beloved character instead of making you giggle or getting you hyped up for the next battle, because it makes you care for everyone involved. It paints the picture that, in war, there really aren’t any “sides.” Every single soldier involved in a war has his or her own story to tell, and that’s painfully clear in this deceptively simple shonen series.
Akame ga Kill is an amalgam of comedy, violence, beguiling characters, and a back story that’s beefy enough to back it all up. If you’re looking for a hefty dose of action spliced with a heaping helping of “the feels,” you’ll want to eat this one up right away. Recommended.
This article appears in Otaku USA‘s February 2016 issue, available on newsstands till January 25th, or via our online store. It’s got features on Fullmetal Alchemist, Persona 4: The Golden Animation, and Sword Art Online II and more coverage of manga, TV games, and cosplay. Click here to buy it online!