Because Akame’s the hero the new nation deserves, but not the one it needs right now.
So we’ve finally come to the end of Akame ga Kill!. And I must say that this was a rather fitting, yet depressing finale.
Things got a little (okay, VERY) off script a few episodes back, but they ended things uniquely enough.
Alas, Poor Night Raid
Leone’s quiet passing.
Suma// We probably all had a feeling that Night Raid would not survive through the end of the revolution given the show’s reputation. Even so, it was so disheartening to see the entire team depart one by one until only Akame and Najenda were left. I was really hoping that at the very least Tatsumi and Leone would also make it. Tatsumi is a given because he’s been the true main character all this time. And I include Leone because she was the one who started Tatsumi (and us) on this journey. But alas, at journey’s end it seems only the titular character and the boss can remain. I understand that the show might perhaps have been looking to add a little extra “impact” by killing off the main character as the story reached its conclusion. And to be sure Akame was always the one with her name in the title. But it still feels strange to throw away the character that the show has spent so much time getting us invested in and shifting focus to another one who has honestly had very limited screen time.
Yes, he’s really dead.
I feel the point of there being no place for the assassins of Night Raid in the new nation that they shed blood to create could have been expressed equally well if Tatsumi had been left standing. Sure, Akame is still a badass and I don’t see the show killing her off anyway. But she certainly wasn’t the focus of the last 21 episodes. In fact, I would hesitate to say that the few moments she had to deal with Kurome in recent episodes brought her that much relevance. It’s just the same as every other character that she’s had a sad past, and the brief attention to her specific story isn’t enough to pull her up to full main heroine status. In any case, Tatsumi does die and that’s what we get. So we’re just going to have to live with the depressing choice the show has made.
Ending With More Bloodshed
Esdeath meets her match.
Kara// Of all things, why end it with a battle between Akame and Esdeath? Watching all of that unfold for a good portion of the episode, I couldn’t help but think that there were slightly more relevant things the last episode of the anime could have focused on. Like the Prime Minister. Of course, they did get to that eventually, but it took a while to get to, considering that the main goal of the entire anime wasn’t to take out Esdeath. Sure, she was a MAJOR obstacle in the way of any kind of forward movement, but the main goal was the guy with the power, the Prime Minister. Admittedly, the last battle was pretty badass though. And as dubious as “my inner bloodlust left an afterimage” (or whatever) sounds, they made Esdeath’s death something interesting. Sure, she’s kind of a bitch for just taking Tatsumi’s body with her like that, but it was nice to see her go calmly. For someone who’s life was led by the belief that the strong win and that’s all there is to it, it was fitting. The Emperor’s death was kind of interesting too, with his blood being the last of the revolution. Despite being fairly oblivious to his reign’s awfulness the entire run of the show, at least he knew that his death was the right thing to do. Poor Leone though.
At least she gets to be together with Tatsumi at the end?
So Akame is now wandering the country with the revolution’s sins on her back and whatnot. She is the titular character and all, but it’s kind of funny how the plot decided to leave her as one of the last surviving members of Night Raid. If anyone was keeping up with the Akame Theatre segments, they even made a joke a few episodes back that so many side characters managed to upstage her over the course of the anime. Not that she was any less of a fighter than them, but the anime always seemed to focus on Tatsumi or whoever was about to die as opposed to her. Though since everyone else is dead, that’s probably how she managed to survive to the end. That and the plot armour of having her name in the title.
Some Sin City shit going down here.
Suma// Now that it’s all over, I think we should take a step back and look at the show as a whole. It started off with a dark and gritty premiere that definitely left an impression. Then things devolved into a “meet the team” and “enemy of the week” formula for a bit before real enemies like the Prime Minister and the Jaegers were introduced. The introduction of bad guys that matter definitely helped inject some vigor back into the show just as things were getting stale, and things continued fine for a while longer. But somewhere along the line, the show settled into another repetitious rut. This time, with killing off important characters. It even got to the point where each episode became a sort of twisted waiting game to see if so and so would finally die in the airing episode. And while I admit the show had its moments here and there, the fact that it couldn’t maintain a constantly higher quality of entertainment is rather damning. Because once you get over the blood and gore, it starts to look not unlike a standard shounen with a few extra bells and whistles attached.
The emperor’s final task.
So what is my final verdict? Well, while Akame ga Kill! certainly wasn’t a big waste of time, I feel that it had the potential to be better than the product we got. I recognize that the show had its flaws, and that not every show can be perfect. In fact, more often than not they aren’t. But while it’s good to concede that it’s hard to do everything right, and here you might ask whose definition of “right” I speak of, we can’t let the complacency of acceptance and forgiveness overtake us. If we don’t voice criticism of things done wrong, such as the writing being formulaic at times, the inter-character relationships not receiving sufficient attention, and the pacing becoming a bit of a mess near the end, then the powers that be do not get the message that they can improve these weak points on their next project.
Yeah, that probably could have gone better. I don’t think that the departure from the manga was totally terrible though. I mean, they kept Ran alive (not to mention Bols’ daughter and wife), so obviously they were trying to do something completely different from the manga. Though it’s always interesting to see how the stories I’m fond of do as anime. In some cases, it doesn’t go so well (Danganronpa and Mekakucity being more recent examples). I don’t think that Akame ga Kill! was terrible overall, though watching this certainly helped me see past the “Whoa, the main characters are all dying! This is so dark and edgy!” aspects to the flaws in the storyline. There were so many “one episode” bad guys that Night Raid killed off, and 99.99% of them were just the same stock terrible person that the empire was apparently comprised of. Though I guess they needed someone to kill. Plus adding in the Jaegers was a good counterbalance to the general evil people, since they had dimension. I’m pretty sure I had more fun with the manga, but that’s more because it was my first exposure to the storyline. Some of the deaths were just more fun when I wasn’t sure if the character would survive or not. Maybe that’s why I didn’t mind it going off the manga for this ending, since the deaths were slightly less predictable again (even though all of the deaths that did happen were extremely predictable). Oh well, like I said, I don’t really mind how the anime ended up. Now back to the manga to figure out if they’re going to kill off Main there too or not.
And there you have it. This long, bloody affair is finally over. Would I recommend this show to others? Definitely. It’s a pretty solid bit of entertainment despite its flaws. Of course, I fully expect there to be some degree of disapproval from the manga-reading crowd for its departure from the source material. And in this case it’s actually rather noticeable as the last four or five episodes definitely felt like a terrible rush job with abrupt character deaths here and there and no time to breath in between. But as far as an original ending goes, Akame ga Kill! rather nailed it with the dissolution of Night Raid at the end and the dawn of a new, uncertain future.
Farewell, Night Raid.