Two battles plus an introspective Akame make this a solid volume.

Akame ga KILL! Volume 12Title: Akame ga Kill! (Akame ga Kiru!)
Genre: Action
Publisher: Square Enix (JP), Yen Press (US)
Story: Takahiro
Artist: Tetsuya Tashiro
Serialized in: Gangan Joker
Translation: Christine Dashiell
Original Release Date: October 31, 2017

With Budo and Esdeath living up to their reputations as the Empire’s strongest, Night Raid finds themselves in a familiar position: their backs up against the wall. If you’ve loved seeing this rebel group of assassins face off against even deadlier enemies, Akame ga KILL! Volume 12 brings you even more of this. Of course, their team is down yet another member, so the pressure on the surviving members continue to rise.

The volume kicks off as Akame, Leone, and Mine try to rescue Tatsumi. Night Raid may have the advantage in numbers in the fight, but that doesn’t mean much against Budo’s and Esdeath’s amazing skills. Budo has no intention of letting the Empire’s enemies waltz on out of the capital. Esdeath is still perturbed at the revelation her beloved Tatsumi is her enemy, but she still has plenty of power to fight against Akame.

The jailbreak is a critical battle for both sides, but the series isn’t ready for the final showdowns quite yet. It feels like it’s been quite a while since the characters had a break, and even longer since we’ve sat down with someone other than Tatsumi or Mine. Akame in particular is the titular character, but her role has been reduced in recent volumes. The series still feels like it’s Night Raid ga KILL!, but at least Akame returns to the spotlight thanks to a couple of key battles and the concern for her teammates she shows in the brief respite. I like Mine, but I’ve really missed the Akame from the early volumes, the one who may be the most powerful but is also the most concerned about her teammates. Story developments show that Mine may be sitting out for a bit, so hopefully Akame continues to earn her role as titular character.

Tatsumi, Leone, and Akame find themselves back on the battlefield quickly though, facing off the group Wild Hunt. Tatsumi and Akame find themselves with handicaps, but the real tension comes from Leone’s fight with crazed alchemist Dorothea. Readers know that Tatsumi and Akame, the two leads, are unlikely to be defeated before the ending. As Night Raid’s forces continue to dwindle, will Leone be next? I honestly thought it could go either way. I didn’t like how the final battles were once again made to be 1-on-1, but Leone’s fight was definitely the most enjoyable. Tatsumi also continues to evolve, but he’s also facing strict limits on using Incursio. Hopefully that means we won’t get any deus ex machinas coming up.

Speaking of Tatsumi, his new Incursio form is probably the visual highlight of the manga. As the boundary between Teigu and user blurs, Tatsumi’s eyes  start to become the dragon’s. In fact, his whole aura seems darker than ever before. Otherwise, Akame ga KILL! is as crisp and violent as ever before. I know I mentioned missing the early Akame, but one thing I don’t miss from the first volumes is the crazed evil looks from all the antagonists. Esdeath, Budo, and even Dorothea are much scarier without overly exaggerated laughs and boasts. Now if only the manga would cut down on some of the narration and actually show a bit of the revolutionary army…

Akame ga KILL! Volume 12 continues the series’ tradition of being among the longest single-volume manga, and it doesn’t feel unnecessarily bloated. Two battles plus an introspective Akame make this a solid volume.