Sweet, I love Dragon Ball Z!
— Mine will stop at nothing to save Tatsumi. It’s an obvious trap, but she’ll go anyway! Akame thus can’t help but remark that the girl has changed. That’s true. She’s changed alright… she changed right into a haremette. Well, you could argue that she was always a haremette to begin with, especially ever since Tatsumi walked in on her changing her clothes, but let’s just be charitable. And you know what else is true? Akame hasn’t changed at all! No, getting mushier doesn’t count. So why is this series even named after her? Is it because she has a cool name? It must be, because the girl has remained static from start to finish. She’s shockingly not in love with the main character, and she has little to no personality. What do we really know about her? That she likes to eat? That she has a tragic history with her imouto? That she used to be a soldier in the empire? To be fair, a lot of them were, so this isn’t even unique to Akame. Honestly, Akame feels like a side character in a story that is named after her.
— That’s not even to mention the fact that Akame’s face is on most if not all of the promotional material. Tatsumi’s the hero, but even the people behind the show’s marketing knows that he’s too boring to really sell the story.
— Leone will also help!!! Of course she would. And Najenda too! And it’s just one procession of hot anime babes pledging to save Tatsumi, because the story went ahead and killed off every single male character on the team. And Susanoo doesn’t count; he’s an Imperial Arms. Hell, according to my commenters, he’s supposed to be dead as well! Oh well, I could be wrong, but I don’t see him surviving these last few episodes.
— Predictably enough, Esdeath tries once more to recruit Tatsumi to her side. She even assures him that she won’t make him betray his friends. Even more predictably, however, he slaps her hand away and rejects her advances. No wholesome hero would ever join such a big-bosomed Hitler! The rest of the scene is rather boring. Tatsumi wonders why she is so infatuated with him, and honestly, she doesn’t have a good answer. He’s simply stolen her heart, you guys.
— Elsewhere, Wave seems highly perplexed at the idea that Esdeath could kill the person that she loves. I don’t think it’s a particularly difficult concept to grasp, but he’s supposed to be Tatsumi’s foil, after all. So it’s not surprising that he’s a little dense in the head. Plus, this is just a convenient excuse for Kurome to spill her guts to the guy. Apparently, she still loves her sister. Uh-huh. Sure you do. Anyway, we don’t see these two for the rest of the episode, so as you can see, they’re not terribly important in the grand scheme of things.
— We cut back to Night Raid, and they’re busy talking about the upcoming mission. Then at the end of the scene, Lubbock gets mentioned once. He’s been with Night Raid for far longer than Tatsumi, but, uh, less than five seconds of mourning is all he gets.
— And we get random crucifixion imagery for no reason. Maybe Tatsumi is really anime Jesus. And hey, he and his group are butting heads with an empire that is on its last legs… and hell, we’re even in a coliseum! What does this all mean?!
— Watching the young emperor deliver his speech, it’s interesting that the story hasn’t even tried to portray the kid in any light, positive or negative. Well, to be fair, the show hasn’t really tried to develop any of its characters either. Even Tatsumi is pretty much a blank slate.
— I would say how hypocritical the emperor’s speech is, but like most sheltered members of royalty in fiction, he probably has no clue what goes on outside the palace walls… or even inside, for that matter.
— It’s time to kill the harem lead, but for whatever reason, Esdeath kicks things off by slicing away Tatsumi’s shirt, thereby revealing his manly shounen pecs to the world. Uh, okay… In the end, this pointless flourish just ends up buying his harem enough time to show up and save him. No, I realize she doesn’t really want to kill him. She keeps going on and on about how he should prove his will by fighting to survive.
— The whole thing is just horribly boring to watch. There are no emotions in such a pivotal scene, because both sides are horribly and woefully developed. Esdeath is just a one-dimensional killer who values strength, and Tatsumi is just a wholesome hero who fights for justice. Even if the show wanted to be compelling, it couldn’t. It has long since shot itself in the foot by creating these flat caricatures in the first place. So y’know, just have Mine strike a pose. That’s really the best that they can do.
— Najenda is soaring so high in the skies above that the winds are whipping around her. It’s okay, though. She can still carry out a casual conversation with her former ally. Having an Imperial Arms also means you have super hearing.
— Somehow, Night Raid has rigged the entire coliseum with explosives. That’s convenient. Najenda also simply states that Lubbock had planted these bombs a while back. Why didn’t he plant one where both the emperor and Honest would be? Because that would’ve been too convenient, that’s why.
— What’s that, you say? We’re just episodes away from the finale, so the animation should look cool as hell? Nah.
— So it’s Budou vs. Leone and Mine, Esdeath vs. Najenda and Susanoo, and uh… some random soldiers vs. Akame. As for Tatsumi, well…
— We literally see electricity course through Leone’s body as she lays motionless on the ground, but she also painstakingly explains to the audience that she has been paralyzed. Show and tell! Nice!
— There isn’t even any good action here. Budou readies himself to attack Mine, then we immediately cut to a violently shaking frame of Mine as she can be heard screaming. I think they put more effort into the fight between her and Seryu, which is odd. This should be the penultimate fight before the big finale. On the other hand, Seryu was just some boring side character.
— And for the billionth time in this series, Mine explains to us and her opponents that her Imperial Arms gets stronger whenever she’s in a pinch. Good thing, too, ’cause I had totally forgotten! And I’m sure her enemies would love to know her strength and weakness. That’s just being a proper lady.
— Oh lord, the sound effects for when Akame killed those soldiers were absolutely terrible.
— Once again, Susanoo uses his trump card. Unfortunately, we’ve seen it once before, and storytelling convention tells us that if we’ve seen a special move before, its effectiveness must at least be halved the next time around.
— And this entire time, no one has come to the realization that it might be a good idea to try and free Tatsumi from his prison. Yeah, he won’t have his Imperial Arms until Akame fetches it for him, but you can’t tell me that he’s absolutely useless without it. Nevertheless, our hero’s reduced to shouting helpful tips from the middle of the battlefield.
— Budou really does look like a character straight out of Terra Formars. Unfortunately, he simply gets his ass handed to him by a haremette. This guy is supposed to be one of the strongest fighters in the empire. Hell, his faction is supposed to rival Esdeath’s in power. Yeah, right.
— What gets me, however, is that it didn’t even take anything special to kill the guy. Again, the studio put more effort into the battle against Seryu. There, Mine actually went against the grain in order to defeat her opponent; she had to use her Pumpkin to slice the evil villain up. Here, the two sides simply power up as if they were Dragon Ball Z characters, then afterwards, they hurl gigantic beams of energy at each other. Somehow, one side comes out on top… the good side. There is hardly any choreography or thought devoted to this scene whatsoever. Mine simply lets her HP to drop to 1, which then allows her Imperial Arms to out-DBZ Budou. How lame is that?
— Akame finally frees Tatsumi just in time for him to romantically catch Mine’s injured body in his arms. Neato. With Budou out of the way, however, Najenda issues an order for her team to retreat. There’s no way Esdeath would just allow that to happen, so… you know what to do, Susanoo. You know what to do. There comes a time in every man’s life when he must realize that he no longer belongs in another man’s harem. It’s time for you to exit the story.
— This quality, though.
— About to lose her boytoy, Esdeath finally pulls out her ridiculously overpowered trump card: she can literally freeze time and space. LITERALLY. FREEZE. TIME. AND. SPACE. Oh sure, she can’t do it over and over… but she can freeze time and space, man!
— And she uses it to simply stab Susanoo through the chest. That was exciting!
— Oh, is that so? I hadn’t realized! It’s also her trump card, she says. It’s so that Tatsumi will never escape, she says. Tell me more, Esdeath. There’s so much I want to know about your ability to enter in cheat codes.
— So Esdeath stomps on Susanoo’s core, and he’s now dead… not quite. Let’s asspull this shit some more. Najenda is basically sacrificing her life just to resurrect her Imperial Arms, but even she knows that this is nothing more than a distraction. We all know Esdeath can’t lose.
— Tatsumi infuriatingly sits there and screams “Susan!” over and over and over. For fuck’s sakes, either lend a hand or listen to your friends’ suggestions and escape. But seriously, this is the second time some manly, older character has had to sacrifice himself for Tatsumi’s sake.
— But right before he bites the dust, Susanoo still has the time to deliver a touching speech on how he has no regrets. Oh well. He’s such a meaningless character anyway. He had even less personality than Bulat. In any case, Susanoo was never a threat to Tatsumi since he was an Imperial Arms, but the hareming is nevertheless complete. All hail Harem Lord Tatsumi, Night Raid’s sole remaining male survivor!
— As Tatsumi escapes with Mine, she demands that he put her down. When he does so, they share a touching moment in which she reveals that she’ll likely die. Would the upcoming anime-original ending have the guts to kill Mine off? I doubt it. This is just a cliffhanger in all likelihood. But here, take in this beautiful moment anyway with the sun just setting over the horizon!