A couple of reviews ago, I predicted that we would have several episodes of clunky but effective character exploration as Tatsumi is introduced to each member of Night Raid one by one. We had Akame in Ep 2 where she taught him to cook, fish and assassinate corrupt officials. Then we had Ep 3 where Mine taught Tatsumi how to go shopping and deal with racists. Stands to reason that we should now learn from Leone, the beastwoman, how to be a furry but we don’t. I almost feel betrayed to be honest, clunky as single episodes expositions might be, they give ample time to everyone.
In lieu of an exposition episode though, Ep 4 has a bit more action. Up till now Tatsumi had only fought strong enemies but none of them had any Imperial Relics (Teigu), a set of ancient weapons with mystical powers passed down from the nation’s founding. Every member of Night Raid, bar the newcomer, has one as do high ranking members of both the revolutionary army and the imperial army.
In Ep 4, Tatsumi faces his first enemy with a Teigu, Zanku the executioner. Formerly executing on behalf of the Empire, the voices of those he murdered began to haunt him. Developing a thirst for blood, he began murdering indiscriminately adding more voices to the dead. For the same reason he wears a pair of thick headphones and really likes to talk over the voices, no doubt a tongue-in-cheek joke at how anime villains just love to spout out their evil plan – at least Zanku has an excuse.
Zanku’s Teigu is the Spectator, a third eye that gives the user the ability to create illusions for their enemies, read movements and see through solid objects. With all of his movements read before he moved a muscle, Tatsumi quickly found himself overwhelmed. Luckily Akame arrived just in time to fight off Zanku. The battle between Akame and Zanku was unexpectedly well done both in terms of animation and writing. On the losing side, Zanku used the Spectator’s illusion ability to disguise himself as the most important person in Akame’s life, her sister. Instead of stepping down, Zanku found Akame pumped up further and was quickly killed.
Realizing he’s lost asks Akame how she could kill the person she loves most. “It’s because I love her, that I want her to die quickly”. Akame’s final strike broke his headphones and with his dying breaths Zanku says that the voices have finally stopped.
Akame Ga Kill’s writing started off weak at the beginning, and I still disagree with some of the character designs (mainly because they never change and don’t seem to always match the characters) but the villains are getting more interesting. Their backstories and designs give you a sense of sympathy that you wouldn’t always find with other fighting anime. Safe to say that I’m officially enjoying Akame Ga Kill.