Home > Check-in Station > Check-in Station: Akame ga Kill ep1 (finally something I can be genuinely excited about!)

Check-in Station: Akame ga Kill ep1 (finally something I can be genuinely excited about!)


Oh my!  The violence!  All the violence!  And the murder!  And the choreographed fights and quick and bloody jump cuts that make all of it so much more exciting!  I know I sound like a monster, but I’m actually just excited to watch a show , or at least one episode, that just wants to entertain and do stuff more than it wants to talk, feed exposition or give a lesson.  There’s also the problem I have after watching years and years of Gundam.  I’m pretty sick of the lead hero being in combat situations and then b*tching about conflict and killing.  And that’s even when they’re protecting people.  Ugh!  This is turning more into cross examination of heroes and hypocrisy.  I need to just focus on how happy I am with this episode.

Things start out pretty standard for Akame ga Kill!.  You have the standard set-up with travelers being attacked by a monster who is so impossibly big and evil, that I doubt real life humans would dare venture out to do anything on those roads without an army.  And then the supposed hero shows up, slays the monster with impeccable skill – of course with cinematography that shows off just how freaking cool it all is.  And then things get quirky as we see just how naive and self-satisfied the hero is.  At the very, very least what should be taken from this encounter is the warning the travelers give the hero when he says he’s look for fame and fortune in the capital city.  A very dire warning about humans being worse than the monsters – and that’s saying something considered the hero just slayed a form of dragon on that very road.

Things play out in a very straight-forward, but well planned way from here on out.  The hero, I guess I should learn his name, Tatsumi waltzes into the capital all wide-eyed and looking like a classic tourist in a big city.  And it takes no time for some happy, but strange cat woman to pick him up.  Seeing him down on his luck after his failing to sign up for the military, she “befriends” him and offers to teach him the ways of the city and give him some connections with the reward of some lunch and a stash of money to bribe a military connection she has.  It’s all a big farce, as the woman leaves with his money and never returns while he’s left waiting in the bar until it closes and he’s kicked out.  Stripped of all his money now, that’s right, the moron gave her EVERYTHING, he has no choice to but to sleep on the street.  It’s just another example of why you should never ever trust cat people.

It’s not long before some rich young girl in a carriage sees him and picks him up.  Tatsumi seems to instantly go from the unluckiest bum around to the luckiest.  The girl comes from an extremely rich family, that appears to be incredibly nice and comfortable around strangers.  Tatsumi assumes this is the case because they appear to have strong guards.  He’s extremely grateful for their hospitality and their offer to set him up with military connections and find his two lost compatriots that left his village with him at the start of his adventure.

The next day he spends with the girl who took him in and some of their guards as she goes on an extravagant shopping spree.  Meanwhile, one of the guards takes a moment to take the naive young hero to the side and give him a very similar warning that the travelers gave.  Tatsumi would love to meet the emperor who presides over the city, but he’s given the heads up that the emperor is but a boy, and that the Prime Minister controls him like a puppet, presiding over all the corruption and hell that is in this city.  He’s also the man responsible for the heavy taxation that cripples Tatsumi’s village.  Though even uttering these words is dangerous, as this is the kind of place where you could be beheaded for talking that way.  It really makes you wonder why the guard is even being this nice when that attitude could have such a heavy price.

Something else he takes a moment to inform Tatsumi about is the group of murderers called Night Raid.  Apparently, they sound like a very militant group similar to Robin Hood and his Merry Men, except they’re more concerned with killing the rich as opposed to robbing them and apparently they only attack at night.

It sure would be a shame if those terrible people were to attack the wonderful family that had taken Tatsumi in….!  *Hint*  *Hint*  *Wink*  *Wink*

Low and behold the very next scene, we see that family’s mother cut right in half!  Night Raid has come and – HEY!  One of the members of Night Raid looks like that b*tch that robbed Tatsumi!  Oh this can’t be a coincidence (heh)!

It’s a full-0n attack and the guards stood no chance of standing in the way.  It was of important note that when one of the guards was slain, he said something about it being the end he deserved.  Honestly, there wasn’t much any of that family could have done to save itself, as everyone but Tatsumi, the girl and one guard were left from the residence after a few minutes of brutal murders.  The guard asks Tatsumi to hold them off while they flee to the safety of the nearby shed.  And I’m sure normally Tatsumi would relish the opportunity to show off his skills, but he knows he can’t beat the assassins, especially the lead girl with the katana.  And while it seems the lead assassin, whose name is Akame, doesn’t have any desire to kill him, Tatsumi’s gratitude and morals presses him on to protect the girl.  They skirmish, and while he shows he can’t at least put up resistance, it’s only a matter of time before she’s almost able to strike the definitive blow.  Luckily for Tatsumi, his earlier mistake pays off, as the cat woman, whose name is Leone recognizes him and stops the fight.  I guess she was grateful for all the stupidly easy cash he gave her.  But in no way will they let the little girl off the hook.

In the most stunning part of the episode, we see that the family was actually a group of sadists that would pick up travelers and vagabonds off the streets and torture them to death for fun!  As if that weren’t damning enough, we see that the two friends that Tatsumi left on his adventure with, were already in the city and had been picked up, too.  The girl was found left dead and hanging up in the shed with so many other corpses, while his other friend, a guy, was in a cage and just barely alive enough to tell them what had been done to them.  He didn’t last much longer after that before he too died.  Faced with the truth, the girl in unapologetic and loud fashion confesses, proclaiming it her right to do things to such people that are beneath her.  Before Leone or Akame can step in though, it’s Tatsumi that cuts her down without hesitation.  Welcome to Night Raid Tatsumi.

I loved this episode; it’s simplicity, pace, action and the bit of shock value at the end all made me enjoy this piece of animation as more than the sum of its parts.  For a show that has the rather appealing and standard character designs that it has, this show has distinctly harder edge than I thought.  The killing in this show was quick and unapologetic, it really does bend towards the assassin-like end of the murder spectrum.  The killing isn’t murder porn, but there’s plenty of blood  and gore to behold nonetheless.  I can’t quite say it leans towards the Fullmetal Alchemist area of seriousness yet though.  That sh*t got pretty heavy, not just for a shounen, but any show or manga when it ran.  I’ll need more than a few murders and a f*cked up family to match it.

For a first episode, it never spend too much time on exposition.  It did the things I loved.  It focused on why someone watching should like the show.  If you like action with a little blood in it, if you like cool assassins darting through the air and killing things, if you like cool characters doing cool things; it said you should like it.  F*ck the world and world building!  That sh*t can be focused on later!  All you as the viewer needed to know going into and out of this episode was that the world was f*cked up and corrupt.  There are giant monsters out there that cool guys can slay, and then there are even bigger monsters in the guise of good people that cool guys can slaughter as well.

Not too clever, not too focused on any one thing.  In a sense, Akame ga Kill! is the porridge made just right.  A new high quality shounen to sink my teeth into every week?  I can only hope.

Further Reading:

  • Nothing!  As far as I’m concerned you should keep watching this show!
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