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.
‘Life is an enjoyable thing, sometimes it might offer you a pig in a poke and this might crush even the strongest, however, being able to overcome all of the problems is a great enjoyment.’
In a nutshell
Many years ago, a Great Civil War ravaged the whole Japan. Many killed, even more missing. Japan is now divided in two regions: Kansai and Kanto. Kansai is famous for a group of six Akudama, running in the region. A girl, who has never committed a single crime in her live becomes one of the criminals ‘Akudama’ and things become really weird, the moment, ‘Akudama’ start getting orders from a mysterious black cat?!
‘Akudama’ means ‘bad character; bad person; villain; baddie’ in Japanese. The anime looks like a mix of Tarantino movies, the 90s and cyberpunk. The story focuses on a group of villains, who do not know each other but have to work together on a massive heist, because they have no choice. The main characters of ‘Akudama’ have no names: they are called by their profession: Cutthroat, Courier, Doctor, Hacker, Brawler and Hoodlum. There is another protagonist, but she is not really an Akudama. But you will see about it later. Anyways, the story is somewhat interesting because you see some powerful villains, who look like they can do anything. And then they are forced to work together to achieve their goal. What is more, the story is quite entertaining because every villain has its own goal. Some wants to prove that they are the best hacker there is, able to hack whatever security system there is. ‘Money? Who needs this! All I want is to prove that I am the best.’ And many-many more.
Characters wise, there is nothing complicated here. Every antihero is named after their specialization. Very different, yet, somewhat similar, they have to work together to achieve the impossible. Akudama does not offer some complicated personalities. The characters are very similar to what you will see in an average action movie. They get enough development, they do not have complicated personalities, they are just fun to watch. And this is the main problem of this anime, it is just good. There is nothing unique about it. It is just good and enjoyable to watch, since the anime does not waste your time on some bloody unnecessary conversations, fan service and other bullshit. It is just made for you to enjoy.
All in all, Akudama Drive is a must for all Danganronpa fans. Fans of action anime might also give this a try. It is somewhat weird and enjoyable because it only focuses on what is needed for your enjoyment, yet there is nothing unique about it for me to rate it anything more than 8/10.
This anime was... super entertaining, but isn't actually stable and consistent when you think about the storyline/plot. I mean, it depends on how you look at it and what exactly is considered a 'good' plot for you.
They did a good job keeping you entertained from the getgo, however, a few plotholes emerged along the way.
They ended up introducing quantum computers which I kinda expected but they didn't go into details with anything, as with the rest of the show tbh. They talked about several things yet never truly explained 'how or why'
I do like the fact they kinda painted the executioners in a negative light while the akudama were kinda seen as the 'good' guys. It actually makes you think about the corrupt system we live in, what's right and wrong, how we humans can easily believe anything we see on the media, and how easy it is to change our minds about things we once believed in.
The characters were pretty much the stereotypical ones we always see, not much personality was given to them. And their time was very short-lived so there was no development, except for swindler and courier who got a rather slight character development in the end. The last scene with courier made me a bit emotional tbh, which is surprising, considering the fact I had no emotional attachment to any of them since they were rather bland.
Overall, if you want something entertaining to watch, this is your show, however, don't expect too much out of it.. story-wise.
By far the BEST anime i watched
The PLOT..... OH MY it's amazing and got me shocked many times.
worth watching because....
i did NOT exceptt all the akudama's to die i thought Swindler and Courier might have some chemistry going on but hey at least they both died smiling.
Originaly thought this was a worthy anime to watch , even tho the characters , their behaviours and the circumstances of their meetup made it feel like a not well thought story. Unfortunatly i am gonna drop it on episode 10.
Without spoiling to much , the story seems to get to much of a "sudden" turn later on where they try to turn the tables on the whole Akudama-Executers standing in the world. It seemed to me that the creator of the story wanted to paint the Akudama as the good guys (So far it gave me the opposite perspective) while trying to paint the Executers as the bad guys (so far they seemed to be the one's fighting for the people) To suddently try to reverse the whole dynamic killed the story for myself.
Overall the story seems to be strong at the beginning for it only becomes weeker as far along as you go. Characters that look cool and intersting in the beginning only turn into cliche one's by the end of it.
Overall the anime is overvalued.