In true shonen cliché, Tatsumi needs to get training from each character individually before becoming a member of Night Raid with the first member being the titular Akame. In this episode we also find out about Night Raid’s origins as an intelligence unit for the empire’s resistance army. But what the first few episodes are really about is exposition. Lazy (but I guess effective), one character per episode. Avoids all that pesky well integrated storyline stuff. Of course, each character needs their own exposition episode because they all have colourful costumes (which they never take off except for eyecandy) and quirky personalities.
When watching fantasy shonen, it’s expected that you use suspension of disbelief as flex tape for all character flaws but Akame Ga Kill’s well designed yet oddly single faceted characters are the epitome of flex-taped personalities. I say well designed because they’re all definitely interesting in their backstories and look badass in fights, but at the same time they each have one defining cute/moe character trait that’s precariously balanced with a simultaneous lack of morality when it comes to killing which essentially makes them all Shadow the Hedgehog but in battle gear. Lined up in no particular order we have: quiet hot girl with a secretive past, the angry small girl, the big boobed tom boy, cute librarian, buff gay Elvis and womanizer scientist. Since I’m a sucker for fantasy anime and superheroes, I’m fine with this but there’s no hiding that we’ve definitely seen all these characters before somewhere else.
Did I enjoy the episode? While I wasn’t kept on the edge of my seat, I am enjoying exploring the show’s world. The characters are cliché but their weapons make for fun fight scenes, which is what it’s really about. Akame Ga Kill actually, as it turns out, has quite a good reputation and has been ranked quite highly by other reviewers. I can definitely see lots of potential, there are real moments of fear when corrupt villains come into play, but the clear lack of true variety in the characters still irks me. At least it does for now.