The Empire has existed for over a thousand years, but its citizens have suffered for quite some time now. The current king is young and easily influenced by his unscrupulous prime minister, and corruption runs rampant. Tatsumi, a boy from the country, arrives in the capital to try and earn money for his village, but discovers the corruption and following a dramatic incident joins up with the anti-Empire resistance assassins, Night Raid.
Following their battle with Seryu Ubiquitous, Night Raid mourns the death of their companion Sheele. However, they have very little time to spare as the powerful general of the Empire, General Esdeath, has returned from her conquest of the north and has a new mission: eliminate Night Raid. Faced with their toughest opponent yet, Night Raid soon clashes with the Three Demons, Esdeath’s primary force of lackeys who have Teigus of their own.
Fans of fighting manga, both shounen and seinen, will find something to enjoy in Akame ga Kill.
One of my favorite aspects of Akame ga Kill is the excellently drawn fight scenes, and this continues to be a feature in the third volume of the series. Most of the page space is dedicated to the battles, so it’s important for the series to maintain a certain level of quality, a level that has continued to be consistently reached. The structure of the battles themselves is very similar to a shounen series, where each side continually unveils an ‘ultimate move’ in a back and forth that continues to ramp up until one side falters. However, what makes these fights interesting is the seinen aspect of them: the wounds are apparent and bloody, and the series is not afraid to end battles with significant deaths. Because of this, I’ve always found Akame ga Kill a series most appealing for fans of shounen series such as Bleach who are a bit older and interested in more substantial and violent progression.
While character development isn’t exactly the series’ strongest suit, volume 3 does manage to have a few impactful moments between the members of Night Raid following Sheele’s death from the last volume, and helps showcase the change in Tatsumi over his time with the group of assassins. Tatsumi is still definitely a newbie, but the innocent country boy is long gone and I appreciated the narrative showing this while fleshing out other characters at the same time.
I mentioned that I appreciated the impactful moments between members of Night Raid earlier, but the primary reason that this stood out to me was because of how substantially it contrasted with what happened in the rest of the volume. There is almost no development of anyone outside of Night Raid and a couple of key players, so when evil bad guys number #1-3 bite the bullet, I hardly feel like they were any loss whatsoever. This applies to Night Raid as well, because although the characters do have more page space and have basic outlines, they can all be very easily summarized in one short sentence. I think this problem was most apparent at the end of the volume, when the author adds a final page that literally explains the backstories behind the villains of the volume because they were not actually characterized in the story itself.
On top of that, while I do appreciate that Akame ga Kill isn’t afraid to kill off its primary cast of characters, I think at this point that it is doing it too quickly. There is almost no time to get over one death before another one happens, and as opposed to actually developing characters it just seems to leave a feeling of fake gratification. A good general rule to follow for judging a death from a writing perspective is to ask yourself whether the story benefits more from the character dying or staying alive, and when you ignore that and just kill characters off for the sake of doing so, the story becomes less ‘edgy’ and more just bland.
Akame ga Kill continues its epic battles in its third volume, and manages to show off how Tatsumi’s time with Night Raid has changed him as well as his relationships with his fellow assassins. Although the villains could use some development and the author seems to be a bit trigger-happy with his main cast, if you are a fan of battle manga or big shounen series but are looking for something a bit darker, Akame ga Kill might be worth checking out.
Aka me ga Kill! Vol. 3 was published by Yen Press on July 21st, 2015. With a story by Takahiro and art by Tetsuya Tashiro, the series is currently ongoing and published by Square Enix in their Gangan Joker imprint. The series received an anime adaptation from White Fox, which ran from July 2014 to December 2014.
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*Copy provided for Taykobon by publisher
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