Blu-ray Review: Akame Ga Kill – Collection 2
21/09/2016 Leave a comment
We dive once again into the pits of war to see what Animatsu Entertainment’s latest Blu-ray release of Akame Ga Kill – Collection 2 has to offer.
The convoluted path that has reunited Tatsumi and Esdeath takes another twist as they find themselves transported to a remote island where their strength will be tested as never before. Dr. Stylish may be dead, but Danger Beasts still remain, and that’s only the first challenge the two enemies now face.
If the bonds of love weren’t enough to bring their fates together, could the fire of combat forge a new form of alliance? Meanwhile, the embers of rebellion are being stoked into open insurrection by the pacifist organization Path of Peace. Drawn into the impending inferno, Night Raid and the Revolutionary Army prepare for a major assault on the Capital. But while their Imperial Arms may be indestructible, their wielders are merely flesh and blood.
An old friend once told me that the most depressing anime he had ever watched was the Mobile Suit Gundam franchise, which coincidentally is one of my favourite anime franchises, due its excessive way of killing off beloved characters and the way it presented its story. Personally I always object stating that a more emotionally challenging and depressing anime series could be found and it seems we have a winner with Akame Ga Kill – Collection 2. The episodes contained within Akame Ga Kill – Collection 2 provide an emotional blood bath of anger, sadness and annoyance unlike any other anime series I have watched and yet upon starting this set you wouldn’t think anything of the sort… as everything is pretty much normal; well normal for psychotic generals and blood-thirsty assassins at least.
Following on from the events of the first Collection, which saw viewers introduced to Tatsumi and his recruitment into the Assassination group Night Raid who are attempting to overthrow the capital in order to create peace, we find ourselves in a bit of a filler-styled storyline. The first few episodes focus on the events of a new-type of danger beast, beasts modified by humans from the insane doctor from the previous collection, and at the same time sees EsDeath and Tatsumi once again come face-to-face with each other; except this time they are transported to a deserted island and find themselves isolated with no hope of going home. It’s an amusing bunch of episodes but the issues is quickly resolved and both go their separate ways – much to the annoyance of EsDeath who still yearns for Tatsumi’s heart.
Ironically enough it’s not until the third episode of this collection where the intensity really picks-up; as Night Raid venture off to assassinate the head of a religious group known as The Path of Peace; a group which could help raise the moral of the revolution army within that area if the leader is killed. Predicting Night Raid’s movements EsDeath and her group of Yaegers also venture to the same destination in hopes of catching them and as such the hunt resumes… once more. Interestingly these few episodes see Borrick’s assassination become overshadowed by the multiple battles taking place between members of Night Raid, Yaeger and Borick’s defensive team; with both sides suffering all types of defeat – and in the most brutal way possible.
From here it’s a chain of non-stop-battling all of which fall under the pretext of a different mission objective. For instance after the successful assassination of Borrick Night Raid attempt to assassinate the minister which leads to another brutal blood bath and Tatsumi getting captured in the process; afterwhich the story moves swiftly on to his rescue with, once again, more bloodshed being shown and some more emotional moments for the people involved. Of course all of this leads to the relatively surprising ending that, unlike past fights in the series, gives you that “Must not look away vibe” and provides the right type of action, violence and narrative that you would expect to receive from a high quality series such as this.
From my perspective the fights just get bigger, better and more intense the further the series goes along and unlike the fights within the previous collection the artstyle, presentation and emotion behind them deliver a better result. It’s an odd thing to say; but the storyline doesn’t matter as it’s overshadowed by just how amazing the fights are; even if the characters involved are of no interest to you. Characters I did not care for, such as Yaegers Wave and Bols, or Night Raid’s Lub and Leona, quickly become interesting to watch as they begin to share their past experiences, and future dreams, with viewers in between the intense battles that takes place. It’s refreshingly different and by the end of the series I found myself liking all of the characters and their twisted backstories; especially Kurome and Akame.
In some aspects the episodes within Akame Ga Kill – Collection 2 are separated into segments each of which lasting around two or three episodes long. We of course have the light-hearted re-introduction, the assassination of borrick, the attempt on the minister’s life, the rescue of tatsumi and the final confrontation. Surrounding these ‘segments’ however is the personal feelings of each character and the rivalry between the two sisters. A lot happens and yet at the same time it feels like nothing does; but once it’s finished you’ll wish that it never ended. A chain of destruction is about to begin and in this story it seems like no side is the winner.
Unlike most Sentai Filmwork produced titles Akame Ga Kill – Collection 2 contains a wonderful selection of bonus features; with both Aka Kill Theatre Shorts and Original Japanese Promotional trailers included alongside the usual selection of creditless opening and trailers for other Sentai Filmwork releases.
The highlight of these bonus features is of course the thirteen one-minute-long chibi shorts (known as AkaKill Theatre). Each short episode is tailored to events of that particular episode and in turn will see something being made fun of or changed for comic appeal; and better yet these shorts are available in both English and Japanese with English Subtitles.
For example the fight between Kurome and Akame sees them in a radio studio discussing about each other; except Akame doesn’t talk and Kurome eats her snacks. Another episode sees Tatsumi and EsDeath on a beach with each other but played out as a dating-sim (visual novel) game with EsDeath doing the choosing. It’s short sweet fun and it provides that ‘comic relief’ that the series is unable to provide due to its serious toned violent nature.
In addition to the humorous AkaKill Theatre shorts we have the inclusion of the original promotional trailer for the series, which contains scenes and music from both halves of the series, a selection of trailers for other Sentai Filmwork releases – some of which have not yet received a UK release – and of course the creditless textless opening and closing songs. It may not seem like much; but it is a nice well rounded selection and better than most Sentai Filmwork releases.
It’s also worth noting that those choosing the Collector’s Edition version of Akame Ga Kill – Collection 2 will also receive a both DVD and Blu-ray versions of the series alongside the shows soundtrack and a book featuring information about the series; all of which will come packaged inside a chipboard artbox featuring glorious artwork on both sides.
Media: BD 50 x1, BD 25 x1
Region: A & B
Running Time: 3:33:18 (Disc 1), 1:11:06 (Disc 2)
Video: MPEG-4 AVC
Audio: Dolby TrueHD 5.1 (English), Dolby TrueHD 2.0 (Japanese)
Subtitles: English (Yellow) & English Hard of Hearing (Yellow)
Resolution: 1920×1080 (1080p)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9
Frame Rate: 23.976 fps
Akame Ga Kill – Collection 2 brings the series to its conclusion and it does so in a rather explosive action packed way that quickly overshadows the existence of Night Raid’s true objective; the reformation of the kingdom they reside within. Throughout this second half of the series the story seem the remaining members of Night Raid, which upon starting this set consist of Akame, Tatsumi, Mine, Leona, Najenda and Chelsea as they take part in various missions to unite the revolutionary army in order to stand against the imperial capital and it’s army.
It’s a simplistic story but yet it is not one that’s entirely present on screen as instead the focus is on the action-packed intensity of each fight; and rightful so. The first few episodes of this second set continue the desperate struggle between Night Raid and the Yaegers, with careful planning on either side, but eventually it sees the two fractions clash with each other in desert like action with both sides tacking casulities. This desperate bid for struggle continuously continues right until the last episode at which point the elements that led them here, namely the resolution of creating a new nature, finally rings true. Basically a story is present here but you’ll have to look for it as for the most part it’s just one blood-bath after another with a few dialogue and comical sections thrown in to give balance to whats transpiring on screen. Characters may come and go; but the emotional struggle it leaves behind is real and when the ending finally draws upon you you’ll find yourself feeling satisfied if not a little bit frustrated by the events that transpired.
As with the previous release of Akame Ga Kill this ‘Collection 2’ is everything you would come to expect from your traditional Sentai Filmworks authored disc distributed via Animatsu Entertainment. As such we have twelve episodes spread across two Blu-ray discs with English 5.1 and Japanese 2.0 audio tracks being included as well as a ‘English hard of hearing’ subtitle track for the English Dub; an option which made its debut appearance within the first collection of Akame Ga Kill. Once again Sentai Filmworks manages to provide a strong English dub but due to the emotional nature of the episodes, both in vocal rage and scenery, I opted to switch back to the Japanese audio track for that optimal experience. Unlike past Sentai Filmwork titles there is a worthwhile selection of bonus features with the remaining ‘Chibi Shorts’ included alongside promotional trailers in addition to the regular bonus content. It’s a well rounded release; both in presentation, style and content, which is not something we always see from Sentai Filmwork produced titles. This fact rings even more true when you consider the Collector’s Edition release of the series which includes the soundtrack and a booklet featuring all-sorts of information about the series.
Akame Ga Kill- Collection 2 brings the series to its explosive and emotional conclusion that is sure to provide heartache and enjoyment throughout; sure enough the story may have been left behind in this release but the fast paced intensity it offers is pure bliss. If you like violence that’s beautifully animated with a few surprises thrown in then Akame Ga Kill – Collection 2 is one that is worth adding to your collection.
Akame Ga Kill – Collection 2 will be available on DVD, Blu-ray and Collector’s Edition Combo Pack from the 26th September 2016.