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Akame ga KILL!
Episode 12

by Theron Martin,

Editor's note: due to personal circumstances, Matt Packard has stepped down from reviewing Akame ga KILL!. Theron Martin will be taking his place. Theron's review of last week's episode (episode 11) was posted concurrently with this one and can be found in the nav bar at the bottom.

Although she appeared briefly last episode, episode 12 marks the formal introduction of Chelsea, the sucker-sucking redhead who will apparently be one of Night Raid's new core members going forward. Unlike the others, her Imperial Arms gives her an infiltration rather than combat ability: she can disguise herself as literally anything, whether it be an animal or another person. (That she could also disguise herself as an inanimate object is also implied, though an example of it is not shown here.) Her defining traits so far are to tease the other members (especially Mine) and be more than a bit of an ass, although she also has her own sobering backstory, too: she came back from a mission to find her previous team all dead. Susanoo, meanwhile, reinforces that his defining personality traits is being OCD and that his hidden ability is impeccable domestic and construction skill – quite handy, since Night Raid has decided to relocate their base to a more remote area in the wake of the attack featured in the previous episode. Meanwhile, on the Jaeger front, Esdeath helps Seryu lament the presumed loss of her mentor Dr. Stylish (since they only know that he went out with his troops and didn't come back) and Esdeath continues to pine for the missing Tatsumi herself.

In other words, this is a lull before the next big batch of action starts – and if the end of the episode and Next Episode preview are any indication, the lull will only last a single episode. It gives the series a chance to establish better its newest cast members, engage in some character development on both sides, and indulge in some humor. In fact, the latter seems to be every bit as much the goal here as the former two, as the writing stoops to all sorts of silly gags, at least a few of which are actually even funny. It also pushes hard to promote that yes, even the bad guys have their sensitive, sympathetic sides, such as one scene where Esdeath comforts Seryu (which is then, of course, played for an “emasculate Waver's efforts to act like a man” joke) or Dr.Stylish being shown in a flashback to at least be acting like he genuinely cared about Seryu.

The problem is the way not only this episode but also the series in general jerks back and forth between its various modes. It wants to have it all: be grim and funny, sensitive and outlandish, graphic and fun-loving. (And let's not even get started on the random mix of clothing and technological styles.) That's a heady goal, and the writing and direction simply are not good enough to pull it off smoothly. This episode in particular feels severely rushed in trying to cover all of the bases, but really this problem pops up anytime action is not at the fore of events. Sure, the content hits in spots, as Tatsumi's characterization is coming along relatively well and actually gets a reinforcement when a bath spying scene goes amiss, but the ambition shown here is much beyond the execution capability. The series would be better if it narrowed its stylistic emphasis.

As long as the series continues to be fun, though, then it is still watchable, and on that point episode 12 does not disappoint much.

Rating: C+

Akame ga KILL! is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

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