What starts off as a particularly standard adventure story with a boring introduction quickly takes a turn for the dark and despicable in the latter half of Episode 1 of Akame ga Kill. Things start out with the quick dispatch of an earth dragon called a Danger Beast by travelling country boy Tatsumi, complete with the stereotypical ‘I’ll make it rich, aren’t I awesome?’ speech to the people he saves from the dragon. He’s warned of the corruption and debauchery that permeates the Imperial Capital he’s headed for, complete with quick shots of hanging bodies, but little attention is paid to the warning – the worst trouble he runs in to is being swindled out of a bag of cash by the busty blonde, Leone. When he’s picked up by a well-meaning young girl and offered room and board for the night, it seems as though the warning was just a villager’s biased remarks on a big city.
Enter Night Raid, a group of assassins responsible for targeting and killing top ranking officials and nobility in the capital. This is where Akame ga Kill grabs me. Posing all cool and intimidating on a net of razor wire with a blood moon silhouetting them didn’t really impress me, nor did the fight sequences featuring Akame, the raven haired girl with red eyes… it was pretty standard anime fare. However, when Tatsumi tries to save the girl who picked him up, the weight of the villager’s warning from earlier hits home, hard. The corruption that was mentioned a few times prior and cleverly overshadowed by standard adventure fare is a very real, very brutal thing in the Imperial Capital and it’s hard to disagree with Night Raid’s methods. Tatsumi certainly doesn’t disagree as he turns on the girl without a second thought, inspiring Leone to take him into the fold.
Akame ga Kill has the feel of Speed Grapher about it, only instead of a modern day setting, we’re thrown into a world of fantasy and magic and multiple races. I’m not a huge fan of Tatsumi but I’m curious to see where the show goes, especially given how quick he is to act based on his emotions. If the fan service stays low and we’re tossed into a world of brutal political intrigue and exploitation, Akame ga Kill could be pretty good. For now, though, it’s nothing spectacular.