Akudama Drive

TV (12 eps)
Fall 2020
3.915 out of 5 from 6,413 votes
Rank #1,372

Many years ago, a Great Civil War ravaged Japan, leaving the country fragmented between two regions: Kansai and Kanto. In Kansai, a group of six Akudama carry out missions given to them by a mysterious black cat, while evading the police. But a dangerous journey is about to unfold when a civilian girl becomes twisted into the Akudama's way of life and witnesses their criminal drives.

Source: Funimation

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3S Review no.10 (short, simple and salty/sweet/spicy) From the king of awful fillers studio, came one of the most popular anime of the season. You see, this season wasn’t really good for anime, so some shows get more attention than they deserve. That explains why Akudama drive is like in the top 5 anime of the season. But it’s not just that, the show does have some virtues of its own. Most importantly, being honest with itself and the audience, it doesn’t try to be anything that it can’t be (or at least it didn’t initially). So it ends up having some entertainment value. So here’s the story, without spoiling anything. Someone is assembling the most dangerous Akudama (akudama is the term for criminals) to do a job. Five legit highly wanted criminals, a notorious courier, a brawler, a doctor, a hacker and a throat-cutter. Two more get involved accidentally, an innocent young lady and a low life hustler, both just play along since they got in that mess of a situation. Soon you’ll get to see who hired them and what is his goal, as well as (eventually) find out the truth behind the divided world they live in. Pacing of the show is great in the early episodes, stuff happen keeping you engaged and nothing gets dragged on for no reason. There is killing, a lot of it, action, high stakes, backstabbing, sneaking in, running away, lots of entertaining stuff. And that’s the whole thing, the show just tries to entertain you in a let’s say...tarantinoesque way. Although ultimately, the story is pure garbage. Its a mess, stuff happen just to happen, plot holes like the uprising of people (twice, yes, the people do revolt TWICE in this show) doesn’t make much sense. For what it’s worth it does have a beginning and an end, but that ain’t enough. Especially when you reach the 11th episode, you gonna need some hard drugs or strong liquor to keep up with the nonsense. The story does not make any sense, no matter how hard you try to make it make some, when you finally learn the truth about the world and the...lets say objective the lets say…enemy has, it still makes no sense. In the end everything falls flat. I could be way more specific about that but not without major spoilers. Supposedly there are some messages to be found, some themes, like who is actually considered a criminal, what is just or unjust and bunch of crap like that are definately not explored decently at all. Characters ain’t much either, they are just there to be entertaining, there are some interesting moments here and there about their actions, but nothing special. They are schizophrenic, obsessed with their own thing, whether it is hacking, delivering, fighting or cutting throats. And that’s all they are, their actions are defined by that single trait. Even the heroine who is not a criminal, she is just defined by being kind, even tries to find kindness in serial killers and that’s that. You can say there is some development i guess if you are really lenient, but not really. Sound is good, I believe it’s the composer’s first work about an anime and he does a fine job. Music fits the tone of the show very well. The opening is very good, not your typical opening but still I liked it a lot. Voice acting is good, with Cutthroat’s, Doctor’s and the Executioner’s being very good. Here is the juice of the show though, the presentation. Its all about presentation. Its all about style. I really like the animation and art style, even the cgi is ok. And I respect the studio’s (unexpectedly) wise decision to use cg backgrounds so the rest of the animation is given more attention and time/budget allocation. That being said, the backgrounds ain’t half bad either for what they are. The art style manages to portray the city and the characters really well. I love the transitions of the show from a scene to another (not every scene but you’ll know what I mean when you see it) and some other little details. Like when they fight in a hotel and the lighting of the room changes to fit the mood, or when a sign that reads “Geisha De Maiko grant suite”, a couple of killings later malfunctions and reads “G----- – ----o r-- ----e”. I wish there were more of those details, but I’ll get what I can. Infodumping in this show is handled well, by being handled terribly. Little interludes occur with two cardboard puppets, like a kid’s show and explain what the lore of the world and how things work. It’s what I said before about the show not trying to be something it can’t. It skips all the headache of giving us info through proper storytelling, and just infodumps it in our face, it does it with style and it’s saving time so we can get back into the action. The titles of the episodes is also a nice touch with their popular references. So, is it worth a watch? Meh, not really although it does hold some entertainment value, certainly there are shows that do what it does better. How is it entertaining though when the story and the characters are so crap? The answer is very simple friends, it’s action packed, has nice presentation and great pace (early on at least). And that’s enough to make it entertaining. Who knew people settle for so little huh? It’s not for everyone’s taste, it’s not my cup of tea either and certainly its not amazing. But by not trying do much, it at least succeeds at doing the few. Keep you engaged and entertained by the action it presents for at least a couple of episodes. Then story goes really south and the bullshit writing kind of becomes unbearable. So, you can check it out a bit just for the presentation I guess, but I wouldn’t recommend anyone to actually watch it as a decent show.

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