Akame ga KILL!
by Theron Martin,
The Emperor's giant mecha has fallen. Tatsumi gave his life stopping its final collapse from causing further harm, a task only he could have successfully performed – and no gimmick allowed him to sidestep that fate, either. All that's left is to clean up the final few details: find and off the Prime Minister, carry through the long-awaited confrontation between Esdeath and Akame, and then clean up the mess afterwards and have everyone say their good-byes. The eponymously-titled final episode of Akame ga KILL! covers all of those bases and more, and remarkably, it does so without ever feeling like it is rushing anything or giving anything short shrift. This is nothing less than a complete and proper ending to one of the year's bloodiest series.
The final episode can be evaluated two ways. When looked at in terms of story flow and the overall picture, it is arguably the series' best episode. The core of that quality is the final duel between Esdeath and Akame, which is easily the series' premier fight scene. Though still somewhat limited by a TV series budget, it is one of the best-animated sequences in the series and shows a great, dynamic rhythm as Esdeath and Akame pull out all of the stops and all of their tricks and trump cards; we even finally get to see Murakame's ultimate ability, an empowered, almost demonic form triggered by Akame cutting her own neck. (Best moment: Esdeath flicking blood from the stump of a severed arm into Akame's face.) Just as importantly, it shows no need to artificially stretch it out, either, keeping the quick-and-bloody approach that the series has always had. Leone confronting the Prime Minister is just as satisfying; though he still has trump cards of his own to play until the very end, there is something a bit cathartic about seeing him meet his demise by literally having his face pounded into a pulp by the depowered, badly wounded Leone. Her final scenes – particularly how and where she chooses to meet her end – are sad but, again, satisfying in a certain way, especially since it happens entirely on her own terms. Equally well-handled is the dignity with which the Emperor faces his failings and fate and the sad irony of the reaction of Tatsumi's village's inhabitants to being awarded lots of money. In fact, the entirety of the last few minutes brings a welcome sense of completeness to the series as a whole. Sure, there's an epilogue which suggests that Akame goes on to have more adventures on her own (because a heroine like her simply cannot just live a peaceful life), but that is firmly beyond the scope of this story.
The other way to evaluate the final episode is to nitpick the details, and there definitely are some things worthy of nitpicking here. Esdeath is apparently so bad-ass that she doesn't need to worry about bleeding out from a severed limb or can walk and act normally even after being mortally wounded, with only one bloody gasp in the middle to remind the audience that she is, indeed, mortally wounded. (The same can be said, to a lesser extent, of Leone, but that is less irksome because of how classily that part is handed.) There's stretching reality for dramatic effect and then there's going overboard about it, and this is overboard. That one of the Jaegers would be allowed a part in the newly-forming government smells a little fishy, and Akame not really having any reflections about lost comrades in the end comes off as a bit cold. Still, there are all minor nuisances within the greater context of the episode.
In looking back at the series as a whole, it accomplishes well its task of being dumb, bloody fun, the kind of series which doesn't take itself too seriously and yet still shows that anyone (except the title character!) can die at any time. Its characterizations have been uneven and sometimes lacking, and its frivolity in playing around with setting themes and tech level bite deeply into its sense of world-building, but depth and detail are hardly necessary for a series like this to succeed.
Episode Rating: A-
Series Rating: B-
Akame ga KILL! is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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