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Monday, August 22, 2016

After Bleach, Akame ga Kill!:

Akame ga Kill! is ending in the next volume.  The prequel series is close to ending as well.  It'll probably be all wrapped up sometime in 2017, given its monthly schedule.

Akame ga Kill, combined with its prequel, is my 7th favorite manga of all time, ahead of One Piece, Bleach and Dragon Ball.  It's ahead of virtually everything and everyone.  This is because killing is treated as an acceptable method to pursue the good, and dying is treated as an unavoidable fate for those who take up the sword.  These twin truths, which are obvious to anyone in the real world, are always avoided by other taleweavers like vampires confronted with garlic.

In Naruto and the like, infinite methods are used to avoid death no matter how heavy the fighting is.  There's always time travel, resurrection spells, dragon ball wishes, or in One Piece's case just ridiculous levels of vitality that allow you to survive any hit no matter how hard it might be.  Even when Gajeel is sent to Hades he's back out again in a few chapters, in perfect health and rarin' to go again.  In Akame ga Kill your main characters aren't safe and if they get into a tough pinch they die, because that's reality and that's life and that's war.  Not everything goes your way, and everyone in this job quickly grows aware of this fact up close and personally.

In addition, in Naruto, One Piece and the like, no one they fight is ever killed, no matter how dastardly they are.  They can do horrendous damage over a colossal time scale, and at most they're sent to prison.  Worse, they're regularly broken out of prison and left to wreak havoc again, or you could easily imagine a scenario in which such a result would occur, so the heroes don't even do what is necessary to prevent further damage from the same people they've been fighting so hard against.

In Akame ga Kill, if someone is a bad guy, the answer is to kill him.  As swiftly and mercilessly as possible, any way you can, whether cheaply or fairly, through force or fraud, just get the job done.  Once all the bad guys are killed the good guys can take over, take power, and create a utopia.  There's no threat of the bad guys coming back because they're dead.  'Talk no jutsu' is not the preferred method of fighting.  Akame has no qualms even killing her own little sister so long as she stands in the way of victory.  Bad people are treated badly, and thus karma prevails.  Good people aren't idiots who create their own problems by sparing dangerous threats that will pop up in the future because they were too weak-willed to do what was necessary.  They always do what's necessary, so when they're in trouble it's never their fault, it's just because the enemy is that strong.

For a story based on such simple, obvious truths, it's amazing that there is literally no other story like it ever composed by man.  A story that glorifies assassins who target their own government for takedown, who succeed in their revolution by simply killing everyone who runs said government and leaving it defenseless to a revolutionary forces takeover, and who willingly and actually go to their deaths in order to achieve this noble mission, never once regretting any of their decisions, is something that's happened a million times in reality but only once in the story telling world.  Akame ga Kill! is unique because it's an unvarnished depiction of the Truth of this world.  The only way to fight oppression is to kill your oppressors.  The only way to become strong enough to kill is to be willing to die.  Everything else is fairy tales and sugar plum rainbows and unicorn delusions.  If you start any argument with "I'm against violence, but. . ." you aren't a serious person and no one should take you seriously.  If you aren't Akame ga Kill!, you're not a serious manga and no one should read you.

Akame ga Kill! is ending in the right way.  It's at the final battle and no mysteries remain except the outcome, will the good guys or the bad guys win?  Everything has been wrapped up into a little bow and there's nothing left to say.  This is how a story should end, with everyone satisfied.  The story wasn't dragged out beyond what was necessary, but it also wasn't too short to tell a complex and immersive plot with deep characters we can truly relate to.  This manga will end up being around 21 volumes or so, which is pretty epic when you think about it, but not so much that there are hundreds of characters to keep track of, and not so repetitive that whole new villains are imported in to fight after the previous batch is finally defeated, and you end up on a treadmill like with Bleach, Naruto, Fairy Tail, Inuyasha or One Piece.  A lot of authors, like George R.R. Martin, could learn a lot from the brevity and simplicity shown in this series.  You don't have to keep adding in more and more crap to keep a story interesting.  All you have to do is make us care about what happens and then bring everything together in a thunderclap.

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