Episode 04 – “Kill the Imperial Arms Users”
We finally get our formal introduction to the Teigu, or Imperial Arms, this episode. They’re 48 weapons constructed from mythical material extracted from the fabled Danger Beasts and rare minerals, by the first Emperor of the capital in hopes of passing along a legacy that would persist long after his death. For better or worse, he was successful in his mission as these weapons are in use today, by members of the Empire and the Revolutionary Army.
Out on the loose is Zank the Executioner, who possesses the Imperial Arm Spected. A random thought I had: his Japanese name is 首切りザンク (kubikiri Zanku), and here the kubikiri means to literally cut the neck or decapitate. The translation to “Executioner” implies a more broad method of killing, and we lose the funny alliteration. To compensate, I would’ve gone with something like Zank the Head Hunter or something. I guess this is just one of the many examples of translations that I don’t agree with in this series. I watched HorribleSubs for this particular episode, so maybe fansubs would do something else.
Anyhow, Zank’s Spected allows him literal insight into his foes, including limited x-ray vision, telepathy, and projecting an image of their most beloved person. The last ability is especially dangerous because it’s guaranteed to get most normal people off their guard. In Tatsumi’s case, he sees an image of his childhood friend Sayo. However, for Akame it turns out that the person she loves most is also the person she wishes to kill the most, leading to Zank’s downfall. If you’ve been observant, you’ll notice that this girl is the one from Akame’s flashbacks, and we’ll learn more about her soon enough.
While Zank is an incredibly twisted person, he gives a reason for his madness and it’s almost enough to feel pity for him. Apparently, as a result from executing so many people in the name of the Empire, he was driven into insanity from the haunting voices in his head. To cope, he would find people to talk to and kill. He even asks Akame, as fellow killers, if she also hears voices in her head. In the end, she kills him and stops the voices once in for all. The silence that rings out in that scene is chilling, and for a split second, you feel compassion for the murderer.
Once again, this is a complication that I enjoy in Akame ga Kill! There are people would do evil things, but it’s largely due to the circumstances created by the greatly evil imperial umbrella. In the coming episodes, “justice,” and all of its fallacies, will enter the fray.
“How do you deal with the voices? The voices of everyone you’ve killed, groaning from the depths of hell.” ~ Zank the Executioner