Akame ga Kill! Volume 1 by Takahiro and art by Tetsuya Tashiro is very soft core porn masquerading as a story of ninjas seeking justice, peace, and fame and fortune. In the end notes Takahiro’s comments that his original pitch was “about an all-female band of assassins, and the protagonist is a boy who is captured by them and has to work for them”, that he and the editor were “two obvious masochists”, and that the Tashiro’s ability to draw “cute girls” was a big bonus.
Apropos to the theme of cute girls, this volume introduces the usual mix of silly female battle outfits. Leone, a master assassin, is shown wearing what at first appears to be a cowl necked, poet sleeved top with a broad horizontal stripe mid-torso. On second look I realized that the stripe is a fairly narrow bandeau top with no visible means of staying up and that she’s bare-skinned above and below the top; the cowl is a separate piece as are the elbow to wrist sleeves. And under her thigh-high chaps she’s wearing French bikini bottoms. In contrast Tatsumi is wearing long pants, shirt, crew-necked sweater, and gloves – a much easier outfit to cosplay.
The references to ‘teigus’ were confusing; I thought that the word was a Japanese battle term sufficiently generally known that it was untranslated but an online search revealed that it’s a term specific to this series. Tch. Perhaps a Japanese reader could make the jump from ‘teigus’ to Imperial Arms, powerful weapons bonded to their wielders, but an English reader definitely could not; footnote please!
The battle dialog – at least in Volume 1 – carries too much video game baggage. For example, early on the hero, Tatsumi, in facing a monster pauses to announce “A Class I Danger Beast, Earth Dragon… a worthy opponent”. That’s even more clunky than the fighters in Bleach who pause to announce the names of their top secret fighting moves. C’mon. Trash talking is fine; naming your punches and thrusts? Yawn – especially given that they’re one shot wonders.
First meeting with the leader of the assassins and what is she shown reading? “Don’t Be an Airhead : Fix Yourself in 100 Ways!” First meeting with the hunky Bulat is done with “Watch out. He’s gay.” Followed by a squirm inducing hearts and flowers head shot. The only other male member of the team is then introduced as a somewhat hapless peeping tom. I suppose that this ‘lightness’ is meant to offset images of evil ministers such as the one of the minister viscously beating a bound nubile young woman. To me it’s just a bit creepy.