Akame Ga Kill is a strange anime. The kind of anime that you binge in a sitting and later you just feel an inexplicable “huh?”. It has its moments though and some of the characters are quite interesting. At least interesting enough to keep you watching till the end. While the show introduces some truly unique characters like Esdeath. It also has its fair share of one-dimensional bland characters. The most prominent of them all is Tatsumi, the protagonist.
*Major Spoilers for Akame Ga Kill ahead*
To be fair to Tatsumi, protagonists in a lot of stories action/fantasy are often kept as simple and generic as possible. The audience often navigates through the story via the protagonist. It helps to have the protagonist be a blank slate. That way the audience can project themselves onto the protagonist and live vicariously through them.
The simplicity of the protagonist also makes them very relatable. A lot of stories work better because of the simplicity of the protagonist. A good example of this would be Goku. Goku comes into this world through strange circumstances and he always has outlandish challenges to overcome. But he always has fairly uncomplicated motivations. He may fight inter-galactic supervillains every other day but he is also a simple family man. He is a plain guy who cares for his friends and family and wants to get stronger. The simplicity with which he is written works for him very well. We don’t always need a complex protagonist with complicated motives to tell a good story.
Tatsumi The Protagonist
At the beginning of Akame Ga Kill, Tatsumi is naive, starry-eyed and a little bit arrogant. Separated from his friends, Tatsumi looks for a way to make money. Instead, he ends up getting defrauded and losing his money.
Now moneyless and out on the street, a seemingly kind noblewoman gives him shelter in her house. However, in a shocking turn of events, the noble family turn out to be sadistic murderers. Additionally, they had already captured and killed Tatsumi’s friends.
Enter, The Night Raid, an infamous assassination squad. They are part of an active rebellion against the corrupt kingdom. Coincidentally, they arrive at the noble family’s house to assassinate them. The journey of Tatsumi begins when he joins the Night Raid.
Tatsumi | What Went Wrong
This is a fairly decent setup to Tatsumi. Unfortunately, this is where it ends atleast in the anime. From the moment Tatsumi becomes a part of the Night raid, things just happen to him. He doesn’t seem to be actively influencing any events relevant to the main story.
Tatsumi goes from taking his work at the Night Raid seriously to taking his work at the Night Raid very seriously. The character deaths throughout the show seem to impact him emotionally but not bring about any meaningful change on him. There is never really a big turning point for him after joining the Night Raid. He just goes along for the ride. Yes, he does get to finish off the big baddie Emperor. However, the final fight of the show is between Akame and Esdeath with Tatsumi presumably already dead.
Tatsumi isn’t a bad character because he is plain. He is a bad character because he lacks a coherent motivation to define him as a character. He is a bad character because his relationships with most of the other characters do not make sense. And worst of all, he is boring.
That said, Akame Ga Kill has a lot to offer in terms of a rich world and a diverse set of very unique and interesting characters. While Tatsumi as a protagonist leaves a lot to be desired, the rest of the show makes up for it. With its fast-paced action, atmospheric music and unique albeit grim storyline, Akame Ga Kill is worth a watch. Or you could save yourself some trouble and just read the manga!