I initially passed on Akame ga Kill when it aired during the summer and autumn seasons of 2014 because of the negativity surrounding the art direction. I now realise that I shouldn’t have let that bother me as I had missed out on a pretty great series.
Akame ga Kill is an anime adaptation of the manga series, of the same name, written by Takahiro and illustrated by Tetsuya Tashiro. The adaptation is handled by White Fox, the studio behind awesome series such as Steins;Gate, Jormungand and The Devil Is a Part-Timer!. The series is being made available to the UK by Animatsu Entertainment in three different editions. There’s your standard edition Blu-ray and standard DVD, they’ve also have put together a Deluxe Collector’s Edition.
The story follows Tatsumi as he travels to the capital in the hopes of joining the imperial forces to earn money to send back to his poor village. He’s very quickly made aware of the evil and corruption that overflows from the empire and eventually joins the assassin group Night Raid to fight against the corrupt empire. Quite content to just earn money to send back to his village, his anger towards the empire is quickly ignited when he discovers the friends he left the village with tortured to death by wealthy corrupt lords of the empire. He’s joined in Night Raid by a collection of unique individuals and titular character Akame whose own past drives her to fight against the empire.
Part one of Akame ga Kill mainly focuses on each member of Night Raid, giving us some back story on their motivations for joining the group and their troubled past that led them there. It also gives background to the current state of corruption and wrong-doing within the capital. Towards the end of part one we see the formation of a new group tasked with taking down Night Raid whose members are equally as unique, it has to be said. While the characters can be light-hearted at times, the series as a whole is certainly not and it easily lives up to its title with plenty of blood and death throughout.
So much happens within part one that it kind of feels like a series all to itself which makes the fact that there’ll be a part two all the more exciting. The story has been strong throughout and while each episode mainly focuses on certain characters there is an ongoing story being weaved underneath. One of the series’ biggest strong points is the action; fights are impressive and with each character having such a unique fighting style and skillset you’ll not want to miss anything.
When the series’ first aired back in 2014 I remember there was some negativity over the art style used in the anime compared to that of the manga. I’ll agree that the manga’s art style is a lot darker when it comes to character designs and it’s a shame the anime decided to change them somewhat, however, I was blown away by the overall animation quality of the series. White Fox may not have the biggest resumé but what they have done up till now have all looked fantastic and Akame ga Kill is no different. The attention to details in a lot of scenes is commendable and it never feels too repetitive.
This release features three different audio tracks, well two, but with subtitles for the hearing impaired included with the English language audio, it’s a nice feature and something you rarely see within anime. There is of course also Japanese audio with English subtitles. The opening theme, “Skyreach” performed by Akame’s voice actress Sora Amamiya, really gets you pumped up for each episode and fits the style of the series very well. The ending theme “Konna Sekai, Shiritakunakatta.” by Miku Sawai is much slower paced than the opening but still a nice song. The background music for the series is by Taku Iwasaki (Jormungand, Noragami); I really enjoyed the score, and generally, it’s not something I give much thought to but I couldn’t help but notice this time around.
On-disc extras for all editions of this release include Japanese Promos, Clean Opening and Closing Animation as well as a selection of trailers for other Sentai Filmworks titles. Trailers included series such as Knights of Sidonia, Parasyte ~the maxim~, Brynhildr in the Darkness and Black Bullet. Last, but not least, is the ONA series AkaKill! Theater which is a 24 episode series each one minute in length; episodes 1-12 are included in part one. The Deluxe Collector’s Edition also includes physical extras such as a Hard Cover Booklet, Tattoos, Sticker, Poster and a Rigid Outer Box.