Killing characters willy-nilly
The anime involves a lot of killing, thats’s obvious from the synopsis and the overall plot but what is significant about the killing it involves a lot of the main characters. You know. Them ones who you develop a liking for, but unfortunately I don’t feel a lot of them met their end properly. Games of Thrones – a live TV series which I am sure you’re aware of – have a good way (but very painful) way of killing your favourite character leaving you an emotional mess for days or even weeks. This on the other hand will kill characters left, right, centre and you will feel nothing. A lot of deaths had little build-up nor did they display enough aftermath to emotionally connect with the audience over the first 15 episodes. Maybe there wasn’t enough backstory or the character wasn’t likeable or the way Tatsumi killed someone within the first episode that numbed me the whole killing experience. Overall, the way characters were killed off didn’t hold enough significance when they should have.
Then I started to care.
On the other hand, I continued to watch it. I mean I’m a busy guy but what’s a quick 24-episode marathon? I would say from the 16th episode I started to become interested, the story started to come through. I started to give a fuck about the characters. I remember one interesting scene where one of the Jaegers has a flashback before they finally succumbed to their fate. At that point I mentally noted to myself like “yes that’s the emotional connection I was looking for!” This continued with more flashbacks and story leaks including Akame’s past with her sister that increased my curiosity. To be totally honest I was way more interested in Akame than Tatsumi, making me wonder why they bothered with the little shit in the first place. I mean they called it Akame Ga Kill, they could have centred the story around the rebel assassin who wanted to save the city and be reunited with his long lost sister. Sounds cool right?
Tatsumi – The unconvincing protagonist
This guy must be one of the most unimpressive protagonists I have ever come across. Firstly, he comes from a small, poor village so what? Then he pops and all of a sudden he is a natural born killer with handy swordmanship with that cliche naïvety found in the anime world. To be honest I shouldn’t be bugged by naivety, I mean what anime protagonist isn’t? It is what drives them to create the reality they want of the world around them. But it started eat away at me like that scab you really want to pick (you eventually do anyways). This was probably because I couldn’t put my finger on why his comrades rated him so highly. Why he was “The one”. Yes, he was talented, determined but he seemed to lack that unique aura that made you feel as if only he can change the world.
I particularly felt all the characters that died were scripted to refer to Tatsumi just before their deaths in a bid to convince the audience that he was somewhat special. I don’t want to spoil it but someone’s last words being “Tatsumi did I do well?” in their final moments felt far-fetched when you don’t really understand the significance of the relationship between the dying character and Tatsumi.
Maybe having recently finished watching Part 1 of Fate/Stay Night raised my expectations so I’m currently making an unfair observation but sometimes this show was lacking some spice. One thing that pissed me off was when a character suddenly became enraged, the scene would just cut to a static shot (see below) without not even a few seconds of build-up of wrath just – bang – here’s a heavy lined drawing of the character consumed in rage. What even is that? The animators had 24 episodes to give us their best work but it seemed they were still felt it appropriate to cut corners.
Don’t worry it gets better particularly the fighting.
Upon hearing more about the battle system, I thought it as a bit basic. Then I saw Lubba’s battle with those two Demons that shocked me. Out of all people he actually showed how adaptable his Imperial Arms was. Fight scenes are not all destruction and flying objects – or bodies – they need to be varied and have key turning points that swing the advantage back and forth, that’s where the real excitement is. This is probably why a lot of the fight scenes came off a bit weak as the fight moves were not dynamic enough.
It was an anime of two halves. In this case the show had a better second half than first. I felt it didn’t develop the characters well enough before killing them off thus numbing the emotional attachment the audience should feel when a main character dies. The fight scenes didn’t get interesting until the back end which isn’t good enough in such a short anime series. The protagonist didn’t convince me of rooting for him particularly as he didn’t show enough development to warrant a series built around him. On the other hand, the second half was really good, almost worth the poor execution of the first. Some of the characters that made it nearer the end earned their spot as finalists (I say finalists because that many people died). I’ll say if you’re looking for something short and sweet, you can give this a shot. There’s enough comedy and action to keep you going along with a plot that makes you want to see it through until the end
Overall I would rate the show as so:
Character development: 2.5/5 – Some needed more developing than others,
Art/ Animation: 2.5/5 – Moments of laziness ruined what was overall pretty good,
Storyline/ Plot: 4/5 – Had the potential to be something great but underwhelming executive,
Pacing: 2/5 – Killings were taken for granted with not enough build-up in many cases,
Epicness: 2/5 – Waiting till the last few episodes to pull out your best stuff leaves left me feeling bittersweet