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Episode Review: Akame ga KILL!


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maximilianjenus



Joined: 29 Apr 2013
Posts: 1908
PostPosted: Mon Sep 01, 2014 2:43 pm Reply with quote
you are trying to see this as a seinen, it's not, I commited the same mistake, this is just a bloody shounen, like the types of bloody shounen we got in the 80s and 70s.

Characters died for good and the mc would wear white pajamas while fighting a talking monkey, then we would get some uncensored boobs because anime was uncensored back then, proceeded by the innocent of the week getting beheaded by the villain, then the mc says something about one life being as precious as a thousand lives before riding to the horizon.


Last edited by maximilianjenus on Mon Oct 27, 2014 2:09 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Yttrbio
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 01, 2014 2:54 pm Reply with quote
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Akame ga KILL!'s desire to be thought of as more than cheap and reflexive fun is the biggest strike against it.
I'm not sure where this desire is perceived. Everything about the show reminds you that it's supposed to be cheap and reflexive fun, every over-the-top villain, every extravagantly absurd evil act, every ridiculously overwrought death scene... It's all shortcuts to that reflexive fun. Every negative take on the show seems to be centered on the idea that it's not effective at being serious, but I don't think anyone on the creative side is even trying for that. It never started taking itself seriously, how can it stop?
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walw6pK4Alo



Joined: 12 Mar 2008
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 01, 2014 3:02 pm Reply with quote
Yeah, if it wasn't for the excruciating and bloody violence that episode 1 offered, I'd have dropped this anime like a good habit. I'm just glad to have an anime that doesn't shy away from showing people sliced in half. Out of the 140+ new TV anime we get every single year, can't we just have one stupid fun romp where body parts are flung around and the villains are just cackling caricatures? Really the only thing it's missing is actually sexual fanservice, but that can be obtained elsewhere.
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DmonHiro



Joined: 06 Jan 2007
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 01, 2014 3:09 pm Reply with quote
walw6pK4Alo wrote:
I'm just glad to have an anime that doesn't shy away from showing people sliced in half.

That's the ONLY thing it has going for it. There's no other redeeming quality at all. I enjoy the antagonist to have a little more going for him the "I'm so evil I skin puppies alive and feed the skin to starving orphans, and then I rape and kill the orphans". spoiler[I'm only SLIGHTLY exaggerating what happens in the manga]
I like a crazy SOB that kills women and children for fun, but here, ALL OF THEM do that. It's hardly shocking when we already know 99% of the bad guys are pretty much the same.
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jojothepunisher



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PostPosted: Mon Sep 01, 2014 3:19 pm Reply with quote
Yup, just about what I expected out of this.
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SailorTralfamadore



Joined: 25 Feb 2014
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 01, 2014 3:41 pm Reply with quote
I could not get past the sexist stuff in the first episode, and I heard it went forward into homophobia immediately after. Ugh. Glad Matt is covering this one, because I couldn't take it.
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Chagen46



Joined: 27 Jun 2010
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 01, 2014 3:48 pm Reply with quote
As a massive fanboy of this series: AKG is much better read than watched. The adaption certainly has its weak points.

Quote:

I could not get past the sexist stuff in the first episode, and I heard it went forward into homophobia immediately after. Ugh. Glad Matt is covering this one, because I couldn't take it.


Uh...what Homophobia? Braht is one of the most badass and well-respected characters in the series despite being gay (I'm queer myself so I certainly don't like stereotypical gay character as well). Whoever said that was basically straight-up lying. The series is not very sexist either, there's no damsels in distress in the main group and basically every character, female or male, is badass as hell.

I feel people really do not give AKG the respect it deserves. Is it the violence, or do people just not like watching a shounen where there's actual stakes and things aren't solved by the power of friendship alone? One of this series strongest points is that it actually has tension during the battles.

Honestly most of the criticism of this series basically goes "I don't like battles with actual tension and people dying, this sucks".

inb4 "you're just a delusional fanboy"
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Videogamep



Joined: 10 Jun 2014
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Location: CA
PostPosted: Mon Sep 01, 2014 3:49 pm Reply with quote
SailorTralfamadore wrote:
I could not get past the sexist stuff in the first episode, and I heard it went forward into homophobia immediately after. Ugh. Glad Matt is covering this one, because I couldn't take it.


I didn't see anything homophobic. There are a few gay jokes, but they're harmless, infrequent and not that offensive or mean-spirited. I also didn't see anything sexist in the first episode aside from one slightly sexist comment that wasn't meant to be taken that seriously.
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PachiPortrait



Joined: 23 Jul 2013
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 01, 2014 3:57 pm Reply with quote
Videogamep wrote:
I didn't see anything homophobic. There are a few gay jokes, but they're harmless, infrequent and not that offensive. I also didn't see anything sexist in the first episode aside from one slightly sexist comment that wasn't meant to be taken that seriously.


If they were harmless and infrequent, why include them at all. Not one smidgen of Bulat's character hinged on him being 'gay', so why make him gay to begin with? If there was no reason to include gay jokes, then why should we be okay with a couple? Just leave them out entirely. Otherwise you draw needless attention to them, which is what happened.

Frankly, Akame ga Kill doesn't posses the chutzpah to be casually sexist like, say, JoJo's Bizarre Adventure. There is no style nor finesse behind its attempts to include callous humor.
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Animegomaniac



Joined: 16 Feb 2012
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 01, 2014 4:00 pm Reply with quote
Yeah, that reminds; Who are these reviewers? My eyes were getting crossed from reading this one as it tended to hide under polysyllabic cover. My take on the show: Evil bad, good... not as bad {had to sneak that two syllable word in there}. Black and dark gray morality is hardly the stuff aspiring to be taken maturely, let alone seriously.

"Come see the violence inherent in the system. Help, help, I'm being repressed!"

Yup, this series is as mature and violent as Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Though I do think it's more serious than the similar named Kill la Kill. And...

Quote:
Explanation is not the show's strong suit, and this is basically an excuse to stuff each episode full of ridiculous characters who can do ridiculous things with little explanation.


Um, welcome to anime?
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ChibiKangaroo



Joined: 01 Feb 2010
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 01, 2014 4:06 pm Reply with quote
Although I can certainly understand Matt's distaste for the highly cynical reality of the world of Akame ga Kill!, I definitely disagree with the review. (Full disclosure - I have stated elsewhere in the forum that I think Akame ga Kill! is currently in the running for the best show of the year.) Also, before I go further, I am curious about Matt's take on Kill la Kill, a show that I think is highly similar to Akame ga Kill!, in which there was a similar level of super violence, outrageous villains, super fast paced storytelling, over the top action, and humor mixed in with darker themes. Personally, I think the main difference between them is that KlK was much more about style over substance, and thus a lot of critics were won over by the highly stylistic and "coolness" factor of it, even though the story didn't really make any sense. By contrast, AgK seems to focus much less on style and much, more on the substance of the worldbuilding, the story and the characters (including the villains).

To that point, the thing I disagree with most is the claim that the villains in Akame ga Kill! are all one-dimensional psychopaths with no depth to them. True, many of them are psychopaths, but most of them seem to have a decent dose of depth (or at least meaning) injected into them, so I almost wonder if we were watching two completely different shows.

Let's look at five of the villains we have seen so far:

Rich But Corrupt Girl Aria

Esdeath

Zanku the Beheader

Justice Girl

Liver

If you look at each of these characters, not only have they given us invaluable information about the overall plot and world building for this show, but they have each had some level of depth to them, in some cases giving us insight into the tragedy of how "The Capital" affects people, even good or otherwise innocent people, and in others (such as the case of Esdeath), we see what appears to be a highly complex character who's penchant for ultra violence and cruelty is clearly being juxtaposed with her human desires and needs (such as the need for platonic companions or a lover).

Aria
So if you start off with Aria and her family, we spend quite a bit of time with them in the first episode, and we see two sides to them. One is certainly an illusion, but although it is revealed to us that it is an illusion, notice how her family still appears to be at the top level of society in The Capital. It is almost certainly true that their fellow aristocrats in The Capital spoiler[either don't know about the disturbing activities going on at their mansion, or perhaps other aristocrats are also engaged in similar atrocities.] But anyway, this opening episode does an extremely effective job of making it deadly clear to the audience that in this world, things may be the complete opposite of what they seem, and spoiler[people who appear to be kind and gentle and loving may in fact be horrendous monsters who quite literally have dozens of skeletons in their closets.]

Now, you may on reflex find this to be a very hyperbolic portrayal of a villain, but think about spoiler[recent events in our real world, like the guy in Ohio who kept 3 girls as sex slaves in his basement for like a decade. To his neighbors (AND his own children!!) he seemed like an eccentric but otherwise normal individual, but under cover of darkness he was really a monster.] That is hardly the only example, so it is not like this is some ridiculous concept. It is completely relevant to what we've seen in recent news. Additionally, there is obvious social commentary going on with Aria and her family. It speaks to the privilege of the wealthiest people in society spoiler[to treat those at the lower end as mere tools for their own purposes. Again, this is highly relevant to what you see today with the widening wealth disparities, abuses of illegal immigrants, sex slavery, and sweatshops in third world countries. So many "cultured" and "civilized" people are perfectly okay with those things happening, so how is it so crazy to portray that kind of mindset in this show?]

Esdeath
We've only had a few episodes that really focused on her for short periods of time, but we have learned a decent amount about her at this point. She is clearly a very ruthless general who has no qualms about killing, torturing, and committing atrocities of all kinds. This makes her very bad. However, at the same time, she is being shown to have desires for companionship and love. This makes her very human. Essentially, she is an extremely immoral human. This is opposed to a completely cartoonish villain, who's only desire would be killing and committing evil acts. The companionship aspect we see in how she appears to mourn the deaths of her subordinates. You may see that as confusing, but I think it is just the writing wanting to remind us that Esdeath is not a cartoon character. Certainly, her affection for her subordinates might not have been all that sincere, but it is clear that she preferred them to be alive and is sad that they are dead. Again, this is not a type of scene you would often see in shows that have villains who are totally one dimensional. They would simply forget about their subordinates and move on, not lay flowers at their grave and pay some kind of respects.

Of course, the second part of Esdeath's depth we've seen is her desire for love. So far, that has been played up in a somewhat comical manner, but it is something that I feel we can't simply ignore when considering her as a character. If you listened carefully to the emperor when he was reading off the list of qualities Esdeath wanted, aside from all of the others (such as skill) she wanted someone who was innocent. Why does she want someone innocent? Why not just another cruel, sadistic person like herself? On the one hand, you could consider that she wants to corrupt an innocent person, though I think that would be kind of counter-productive if this is going to be her long-term mate. She can always corrupt subordinates. Why does she want an innocent mate? I feel like this is a strong signal about her character... maybe some kind of cracked window into her personality that's hiding underneath the dark mask. Like I said, we have seen her as an evil person, but a very human type of evil. I think there is something deeper to that than what you get in a lot of shows... (Hell, look at Ragyo from Kill la Kill, who was a completely inhuman type of evil.)

Zanku
On the face of it, he's a much more straightforward villain than the others. However, there is something intriguing about his background that I think we can take something from. Supposedly, he was The Capital executioner, but he had to be relieved of his position after he went mad due to "hearing the voices" of all of the thousands? of people he executed. I thought it was a smart idea to have such a villain. It brings up the question of how this type of job (i.e. executioner or, perhaps, torturer) can affect a person over a prolonged period of time. Sure, we didn't get to go into much of Zanku's background beyond his job as an executioner, but do we need much more than that to get the impact that we need from an early villain like him? I think it was enough that we see how this type of job can turn someone from a person who is "just doing their job" into a monstrous serial killer. Again, I think this is relevant to us today as well. We hear about how the U.S. government was torturing people after 9/11 for example, and perhaps this is a social commentary on how people who engage in that type of thing can change in frightening ways.

Justice Girl
I was most surprised that you did not refer to her in your review in indicating you thought the villains were too one dimensional. Aside from Esdeath, she has clearly been given the most work as far as setting up a multi-dimensional villain. I said in one of the other threads that she appears to occupy a particularly rare space in a story of someone who is both completely good and completely evil at the same time. She is completely good in that she is kind and friendly to "innocent" citizens of The Capital, she tries to help people (as she did Tatsumi when she saw he was lost), and she aspires to seek justice. However, at the same time she is a ruthless killer when it comes to fighting her enemies, and spoiler[has done all kinds of frightening things to her body in order to make her a more effective killing machine. When she enters into battle, she turns into just as much of a psychopathic monstrosity as her "pet."] She seems to me like such an intriguing villain and it is amazing to me that you would find her to be so one-dimensional. I am quite eager to see what happens with her in future encounters, and whether she slips further to the side of evil or somehow pulls away from that upon realizing the inherent injustice in The Capital.

Liver
I probably don't need to explain too much about him, since spoiler[we just saw the complexity of his character in his fight with Bulat. I found it particularly interesting that he began working for Esdeath not purely out of loyalty for her sparing him (which is how a lot of shows would play a character like him,) but he began working for her out of his desire for revenge against the corrupt politicians who ruined his career and have caused so much suffering in The Capital. So he is somewhat like Justice Girl, in that he has an agenda that he thinks is right, but he's joined up with evil in order to accomplish it (he just knows his boss is evil, whereas Justice Girl doesn't.) Thus, you could say that he is even more corrupted than Justice Girl since he is willing to serve evil to reach his own goals.] Again, I don't think this is an example of a very simple, black and white cartoonish villain.


I think those 5 examples were already a lot for me to cover, so I'll leave it there. But yea, I think Matt's review of Akame ga Kill! is looking at things in a highly simplified manner which the show doesn't deserve. Kill la Kill didn't have even a fraction of the depth in most of its characters that Akame ga Kill! has, and the plot wasn't nearly as cohesive and well executed as AgK's, but maybe AgK's lack of super artsy styling is causing it to be looked at as "just another of the ultraviolent action shows" by some when I think it should get more credit.
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Gasero



Joined: 24 Jul 2009
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 01, 2014 4:28 pm Reply with quote
Akame ga Kill has an interesting theme in its plot, but I would much rather see a show tackle the theme of eliminating corrupt government and society without the fanservice and juvenile humor attached.
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octopodpie
ANN Managing Editor


Joined: 02 May 2011
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 01, 2014 4:49 pm Reply with quote
I'm barely able to tolerate this show most of the time, and a lot of it has to do with the art and color style which I admittedly loathe, as well as the character designs. I still can't figure out what kind of world they're in because there's no consistency in the character designs. Everyone has relatively modern clothes but the architecture is vaguely medieval European, but there's also guns and...it's distracting.

I wish they'd ditch the attempts at humor and just go into full violence-camp all the time, because the show routinely fails at being funny.

I didn't find the show homophobic, nor did any of the jokes stand out to me outside of the main character being vaguely uncomfortable because of his awareness of Bulat's sexuality and being in awkward situations with him. But it's played similar to a male main character getting say, sword lessons from a female character and feeling her breasts on his back. That kind of embarrassment. Bulat himself doesn't play into any stereotypes, nor does he aggressively hit on the main character. I actually like Bulat a lot more than most of the female characters who tend to be pretty expected/trope-y.
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Videogamep



Joined: 10 Jun 2014
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 01, 2014 4:54 pm Reply with quote
Gasero wrote:
Akame ga Kill has an interesting theme in its plot, but I would much rather see a show tackle the theme of eliminating corrupt government and society without the fanservice and juvenile humor attached.


Same here. It would be way better if they eliminated the humor or at least minimized it. The battles are suitably intense but having random humor just gets in the way.
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maximilianjenus



Joined: 29 Apr 2013
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 01, 2014 4:57 pm Reply with quote
me too dude, me too; had this been a seinen we would have gotten that, just remember this is a shounen, a C- is harsh a B- is more aceptable.
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