Continuing on from last episode’s clumsy character exposition, Tatsumi now gets training from equally clumsily named Mine. Akame Ga Kill pulls out all its stops in fanservice, last episode we got to see Akame strip into a swimsuit and now, barely 5 minutes into the episode, we see Mine putting on her bra (maybe their tactic is getting you attracted to the girls to make sure you want to know about them?). Of course, the episode isn’t just about Mine, we also get a bit of exposition from the male members of Night Raid. We see Bulat (‘Just call me Bro or Handsome’) transform into Incursio for the first time and get treated to some nice fighting animation as he fends off a team of assassins that’s found the Night Raid base, and also get to see Lubbock’s wires in action strangling a female assassin begging for her life.
The majority of the episode is spent with Mine and Tatsumi, a minority in the group that’s not already on wanted posters, in the city scouting. What should have been a tough day of training is instead the shopping montage where Mine goes around trying on outfits and ends up sitting at a riverside café eating Parfait and sipping on coffee– another trope that Akame Ga Kill felt the need to pull from less violent shonen. I’ve tried and tried to understand her naming, originally I thought considering how the show doesn’t shy away from gruesome violence and backstories, that Mine might have gotten her name from a dirty past being owned but instead it seems her name is just that – her name. Instead her backstory is that of a poor working class girl from the edge of the empire who was discriminated all through her life, she fights so that racism will stop. A noble cause and one very relevant to our current political climate, but definitely not what I expected from a character shown to be poised, carefree, brash and very able to enjoy the better parts of life. Surely, these were hints that Mine was some sort of aristocratic traitor or perhaps trained to be well-mannered but eventually rebelled? No…she simply enjoys having money. As it turns out both of these backstories would be used for other characters further down the line in equally unexpected and perplexing writing.
There was one particular moment that was a let down. Towards the end of the episode, after Mine and Tatsumi had succeeded in their goal of assassinating a relative of the corrupt Prime Minister, they were given chase by elite guards. The leader of the guards Shihandai used to be a former martial arts trainer at the royal martial arts school but was kicked out for presumably going too far. However, Tatsumi literally just holds him in a bear hug long enough to have a heartfelt conversation with Mine and wait for her to charge up her gun (named Pumpkin for reasons as unknown as her name) and shoot Shihandai in the head. The former martial arts trainer apparently had no ways of getting an untrained teenager off himself.
This episode did get me to continue watching though. As clumsy as some of the characterization is, the show still revolves around the (forced) quirkiness and (sometimes forced) different backstories for each character. Their actions are somewhat predictable which makes it easy to watch and there are genuine moments of attachment. Every episode builds on from the last even if with trips along the way, if this carries on then by the end of the show, we could actually have enjoyed ourselves.