This blog entry is dedicated to the review of Ken Akamatsu’s work in general. I shall start this by explaining why I called him a talent wasting pervert in the title. If you look at his work it is visually stunning. The character designs are pretty and the detail to the environments and the characters is, especially in his more current works, very good, architect quality I must add, if you look at his ongoing series Negima: Magister Negi Magi. Unfortunately, all that artistic talent is wasted by his love of ecchi, which he tries to stuff in sickening quantities in his works. He especially likes panty shots. Furthermore, his skills as a mangaka end here, because he is unable to write a decent story to save his life.
Ken Akamatsu specialises in the harem romance subgenre of romantic comedies and also light action comedy. I have seen and/or read almost all of his work, some not to the end because it was just not worth it, I wasn’t able to find his debut work though. I have realised that all of his work is filled to the brim with romantic clichés that have been overused to the extreme. The plots hold nothing special. The viewer/reader is most of the time treated by just the standard love triangle and the excessive, silly shyness between both parties along with thinly veiled sexism, I shall get to that in a moment. His characters are basically the main doofus, who is, of course, an incompetent wussy male, who is somehow the centre of attention to a group of female stock characters, meaning that most of them are either violent, slightly sadistic, tsunderes (ugh!)(Naru Narusegawa from Love Hina and Asuna Kagurazaka from Negima), insane mental patients (Mai from Itsudatte my Santa and Ayaka Yukihiro from Negima), sly, manipulative harlots (Mitsune Konno from Love Hina and Kimika Aso from A. I. Love You) or the perfect male fantasy of a woman (Saati Namba from A. I. Love You and Shinobu Maehara from Love Hina). From time to time Akamatsu also plugs in a female character who is at first a total badass, the perfect example being Evangeline A. K. McDowell from Negima, who is an immortal, ageless, battle-hardened vampire, but then, because of the ‘’irresistible charm’’ of the male character, Negi Springfield in this case, is reduced to something possibly lower than shit. The character is transformed into a pathetic comic foil. She still has that badass feel though but it is now merely a mask, her original image has long been thrown out the window and left to be run over by cars. If that is not sexism than I don’t know what is. No matter how pathetic the male is, the female characters are even more so.
The only work that doesn’t have the same premise such as the rest is Ground Defence Force Mao-chan. This is a sickeningly cute series about three stereotypical pre-pubescent girls who get the job of protecting our planet from alien invasions because they cuter than the aliens. Yeah, as you can see, even though it is different, it doesn’t mean it’s good. Negima is also somewhat different because it is more action oriented. To me, this is his worst work because it has everything going for it. It has the promise of gripping adventure, grisly and attention-grabbing action, good character interactions and some romance and ... some shoujo-ai. Unfortunately, while it does display these things, they are more or less pushed aside and are swamped and killed by Akamatsu’s clichés along with an immense amount of filler that stretch the plot so much that it would make Flubber jealous. All the rest are the same but are given premises that are so improbable that it would make pornographic movies probable. The perfect example being the premise of A. I. Love You, where the main male is sick of being bullied and having no luck with girls that he creates a computer software which creates images of women and gives them highly advanced artificial intelligence. One day, a thunder storm occurs and zaps the power grid of his house, which gave his newest female A. I. model life and a fitting body and also becomes the girlfriend of her creator. This cannot be any more forced and improbably even if it tried. Especially considering that the manga was being made between 1994 and 1997, when A. I. was still in diapers.
All in all, I wholeheartedly think that this man should stick to drawing and leave someone else to take care of the story. There just doesn’t seem to be any improvement with his storytelling. This also goes for his anime adaptations. He adapted Love Hina and Negima: Magister Negi Magi and failed due to lack of money, creating an embarrassing mess. However, Negima!?, the alternative retelling of Negima is worth every dime. The Akamatsu style ‘’romance’’ and the ecchi are downplayed, there’s no blatant sexism and the plot flows nicely.