Dumb Fun – Akudama Drive Anime Review

“The bustling metropolis of Kansai, where cybernetic screens litter the neon landscape, may seem like a technological utopia at first glance. But in the dark alleys around the brightly-lit buildings, an unforgiving criminal underbelly still exists in the form of fugitives known as “Akudama.”

No stranger to these individuals, Kansai police begin the countdown to the public execution of an infamous Akudama “Cutthroat,” guilty of killing 999 people. However, a mysterious message is sent to several elite Akudama, enlisting them to free Cutthroat for a substantial amount of money. An invisible hand seeks to gather these dangerous personas in one place, ensuring that the execution is well underway to becoming a full-blown bloodbath.” – MAL Synopsis

Episodes: 12 – Studio: Studio Pierrot – Dub/Sub – Aired: Fall 2020 – Finished – MAL Rating: 7.65 – Genres: ActionSci-Fi

I’ve been meaning to watch Akudama Drive since it was released last year. Something about the promotional art just captured my eye. It’s sort of a joke with myself that every time I finished an anime and didn’t have something lined up right after, I would say I’d finally watch Akudama Drive. Then I just wouldn’t. But that all finally came to an end a few days ago and I finally got to see what I was missing. Which wasn’t much but it was still fun.

Fun is the word of the day here. Off the bat, I’ll enjoy pretty much anything sci-fi and cyberpunk. I wish more anime fell under those genres. So already this futuristic world that’s filled with amazing tech, that’s technically post-apocalyptic and has all those cyberpunk staples. It grabbed me instantly and it was the main thing holding my interstate the whole show. The actual story was alright, it was serviceable. An escort mission with dangerous people that has its twists and turns. But when the show cut away from that and focused on the moments of civil unrest and the political structure within the authority figures in the main city. That’s what really piqued my interest and I would say was easily the highlight of the show. I don’t know what season 2 is gonna be about. But if it continues to build on that side of things I’ll very much be looking forward to it. Also, this anime does a wonderful job at getting across whatever vibe it wants. Particularly there are a few very tense and somewhat disturbing scenes and they were done perfectly.

There’s a lot of characters here, not of characterization. That might be a little harsh. As the season progresses there’s some slight depth added to every Akudama but the real character progression comes from 2 side characters that are very present. The main character was cool and now that I think about it she definitely progressed a fair amount. But overall the vast majority of these characters were meh.

Akudama Drive looks beautiful. There are so many amazing animation moments and never falters. From episodes 1-13, they all look amazing. Except for the somewhat inconsistent censoring on the version I watched. This anime is very bloody and gruesome at times and there are more than a handful of moments where there’s a black box blur on the screen which felt unnecessary but I’m sure there’s a version out there without the censors. I love a lot of the aesthetic choices too like when a new character is introduced they have their own little splash screen. Stuff like that added a lot of fun to the experience for me. What also added to the experience was the voice acting. I watched the dub and it just sounded like everybody was having fun with it. Like the doctor’s voice is such an exaggeration of a seducing voice it’s hilarious. Across the board, I loved everybody’s performance.

So yeah Akudama Drive was fun for what it was. The world and aesthetics were easily the most interesting aspects of this show. I hope next season dives into more of the civil unrest plotline that started to bubble, but regardless Akudama drive was nothing crazy yet it kept my attention for 12 episodes and it was fun.

Akudama Drive – 6/10


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