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"When all the evil people in this world are dead, will this world truly be peaceful?"
The Japanese economy is crumbling. The country has a debt of over 7 trillion dollars. This is followed by, of course, bankruptcy, poverty and unemployment.
Hazama Shou and Nagasawa Shina are two high school students and friends. One day, with the school year almost over, Shina has to sell herself into prostitution due to her family's massive debt. That night, at the hotel where she is made to entertain the high-level members of a semi-governmental corporation, a guy wearing a mask crashes the party, calling himself Akumetsu . Shina recognized him from the speech pattern... as Shou. After a conversation, bringing his target to admitting his crimes, Shou hacks his skull with an axe he brought and dragged the body outside with him, only to be shot to death by the police waiting outside.
Shou's head explodes as he dies.
But when Shina returns to school the next day... Shou is there, and seems fine. And he tells Shina that he'll change Japan.
Published in Weekly Shonen Champion from 2002 to 2006, Akumetsu is a very violent series, but also boasts a realistic art-style. The story department, though, is a tad polarizing. The first plotline explores where and how "evil" can thrive in a modern society; in this case, the author chose politics and economy as its breeding grounds. The second one is about Akumetsu's plot to rid Japan of evil and the government's attempts to apprehend him and stop his terrorist acts. Those politically conscious might have a chance to pause and ponder on the facts the first plotline presents, while a casual reader will probably be interested in the second. Bottomlined, it has Multiple Demographic Appeal which may also appeal to some of the Shounen audiences.
Not to be mistaken with a certain mangaka.
Tropes specific to Akumetsu:
- Absurdly Spacious Sewer: Under Tokyo.
- Air Vent Passageway: Chapter 78: Akumetsu fished a target into the vents... Yes, with a fishing rod and in a fisherman costume. And escaped.
- All Your Powers Combined: Jinguuji's initial plan was to create an Ubermensch by combining all his clones' memories into one body.
- And as of the current generation, the remaining Jinguuji clones sacrified themselves to create Version 1, Hazama Shou.
- An Axe to Grind: Akumetsu has used axes a few times.
- Anime Hair: Shou's hair quite stands out in a manga where everyone else has plausible hair styles.
- And I Must Scream: Played straight with the main character in the Katsuragi's sixth chapter of "Aloof Antares", written just before he died.
- Author Appeal: The writer clearly has a thing for countach cars.
- Author Filibuster
- Ax Crazy: Tell me he's not.
- Back From the Dead: Despite the arguability, the effect is mostly the same: re-cloned with memories right before death all intact.
- Bad Cop, Incompetent Cop: Leave aside the "bad" part if desired, but the "incompetent" part is spot on.
- Batman Gambit: Not just the gambits. The methods are very reminiscent of Batman... only with more violence.
- Becoming the Mask: Whoever decides to follow Akumetsu's methods better "buck up and do it properly"... or else the real one's out there to get you. And by "do it properly", it includes dying after the target.
- Also a common theme with Shou. Because each clone works independently, at different jobs, sometimes for long periods of time, they take their own personas. Many of these clones have expressed sadness when they are forced to die to pass on their memories and skills for leaving the coworkers and friends they make.
- Considering that the Shou conclave began from several different clones that had all grown up in different areas, families, careers, and lifestyles, the current shou can be interpreted as an extreme case of becoming the mask that it jumps all the way to Hive Mind.
- Blackmail: One of Akumetsu's oft-opted methods. Apparently not his favourite though.
- Bland-Name Product: Such gems as Weekly Tsop.
- Sany Video Camera.
- Bring My Brown Pants: A Corrupt Corporate Executive wets himself in chapter 27.
- Can't Stop the Signal
- Cassandra Truth: That kid with spiky hair is Akumetsu! Believe me!
- Character Title
- Knight Templar: Shou.
- Cloning Blues: Every Shou is a clone of a mega syndicate boss called Hiroshii Jinguuji, who funded all the cloning- and memory-related researches they're using now. But luckily, none of them inherited his degenerate memories.
- Crazy Prepared: Oh... hell, and how.
- Cross-Popping Veins
- Cultural Cross-Reference: Picard has exceptional negotiation... Wait, what?!
- Dangerously Close Shave: In Chapter 27.
- Death Is Cheap: ...like never before.
- That varies. Death is cheap early on when he had clones to throw away. Death becomes not so cheap once he is pushed since he does not have the materials nor the resources to create new ones as the final race makes every clone count.
- Defector From Decadence: The Perfect One, who would have been a "new" Jinguuji if not for an unexpected twist of events.
- With Jinguuji's memories dying with him without being passed on anymore, this makes Akumetsu an indirect extension.
- Officer Yamada, if not for his utter hatred for Akumetsu, would be a pretty likely candidate.
- Demoted to Extra: The spotlight quickly shifted to Shou/Akumetsu after a few chapters, with Shina being only a side character who feels for him.
- Devil in Plain Sight: Spiky Anime Hair... check. That distinct voice and speech-style... check. Stylized Oni mask... un-check. Nah, that kid can't be Akumetsu.
- Distressed Damsel: Shina in the first two chapters or so.
- Downer Ending: All of the Shous die, as does his teacher, and at least six classmates. The Prime Minister's reforms ultimately failed, and corruption is still rampant. To add insult to injury, he's also homeless. Shiina survives only because the last Shou used the material from his body to build a new clone for her to transfer her consciousness to.
- It also had a few countable Bittersweet Ending moments sprinkled here and there; like Shou and Shiina's final moment together in the last cloning room, and particularly the two final lines of the Manga:
Murase: Could you tell me more about that boy called Shou?
Shiina: Of course.
- Driven to Suicide: One banker in chapter 32 commits suicide rather than go through with what Akumetsu wants with him.
- Elaborate Underground Base
- Evil Laugh: Not used by a villain, but has the same effect on people.
"Ku... ku... ku... ku... ku... ku..."
- Fan Disservice: The opening chapters with the molestation of the schoolgirls.
- Gambit Roulette: EVERYTHING Akumetsu did. Only partially succeeds.
- Giving Someone the Pointer Finger: Quite often. An overused example can be seen here.
- Go Out with a Smile: The final Shous all do so.
- Guns Akimbo: By the end of his standoff in The class 3-B incident, Shou is dual-wielding M-16s.
- Heel Face Turn: The Perfect One. Before completely inheriting Jinguuji's memories, which would supposedly have made him the same degenerate as him, his filial love for Sachiko, a female researcher in the project who fulfilled the role of his mother, pushed him on a different path.
- Heroic Sacrifice: The previous-generation Shous (surviving Jinguuji clones), after the process to create Version 1... kinda. Then again, the earlier memory-transfer gears drill holes into the skull and can't be taken off again once they're worn.
- The last 21 Akumetsu go out with such a bang it qualifies as a Tear Jerker
- Hostage Situation: Akumetsu's favourite method.
- Human Shield: Jinguuji, in his "new body", held Sachiko against the Perfect One. The Perfect One, however, managed to hit him through Sachiko... without killing her.
- I Am Legion: Akumetsu's here now? Let's switch to Akumetsu in Chuukei! Next we have Akumetsu in Shibuya!
- Inherent in the System: Many of Akumetsu's targets use this as an excuse for their inaction. He never buys it.
- Innocent Bystander: Either averted or subverted or both; Akumetsu never
toucheskills a bystander. No matter how many of them may die. He would, however, have to do things to leave a persistent bystander (like a bodyguard shooting at him, for example) out of line-of-fire from time to time.
- Instant Death Bullet: Averted when he goes after Nakanoshima. Akumetsu states that .22 slugs aren't very powerful, and indeed he does manage to power through several successful shots to kill the target.
- Karmic Death: Akumetsu never fails to find ways for the targets in the most fitting and ridiculous fashion.
- Knight Templar
- Living Lie Detector: Mari Kirishima, a.k.a. "Bloody Mary" who had nosebleed when facing evil persons, including her own boss.
- Love Redeems: The Perfect One stands as the ultimate example of how love can purify even the worst kind of degenerate in body and mind.
- Mask Power: In addition to looking cool, the Akumetsu mask transfers the wearer's memories as data to be implanted into a new body before implanting a bomb into the skull the moment he dies.
- Master of Disguise: Apparently, the Shou clones are perfectly capable of masquerading as an entire studio audience WITHOUT ANYONE NOTICING.
- Meaningful Name: Akumetsu, "Destruction of evil".
- Me's a Crowd: Subversion; EVERY SINGLE Akumetsu is the real deal, since they all share the same memory and skills.
- Mexican Standoff: Akumetsu and Officer Yamada got into this once.
- Mood Whiplash: Akumetsu is often shown to be torturing or blackmailing a politician right on national TV and with people watching everywhere in Japan. His topics are completely serious and yet we have Ametsu-kun, a cute and cuddly mascot that will aid Akumetsu in an unfathomably cute fashion.
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: This is not much of a case of beating the opponent, but basically, the Yakuza lackeys had Akumetsu by the throat and they thought that they could get away with the Coup D'etat only to fall victim to the Incredibly Obvious Bomb. Though the Akumetsu inside did not die immediately, the minute they peppered him with bullets, they should have realized that like every Akumetsu before him, the head explodes. Thus it did not matter whether or not they used weak bullets, the minute the Akumetsu dies, the lab was officially screwed anyway.
- Not So Different: Done to Officer Yamada.
- No Politicians Were Messily Killed: The prime minister bears a striking resemblance to Junichiro Koizumi and there's even a page in one of the translations giving you a helpful guide to the real life equivalents of the various Sleazy Politicians that Akumetsu meets.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: Shou is a master at this. EVERY Shou.
- One-Man Army: Shou, both literally and figuratively.
"Eighteen with broken or cut off arms and legs, twelve with broken ribs or a collarbone, five shot with their own pistols, fifteen with skull fractures from taking a blow to the head. Now he's finally unconscious. He ain't no ordinary high-schooler."
- 10 Akumetsu kill 300 elite soldiers trained overseas.
- Overly Long Gag: We cannot reprint/show you the lyrics here.
- Paper-Thin Disguise: While Akumetsu appears in different uniforms, suits and costumes for different occasions, the only "disguise" he has is his gimmick; a stylized Oni mask... which, according to himself, barely covers his face.
- Pay Evil Unto Evil: Akumetsu's modus operandi.
- Product Placement: "Huh? Don't ya read manga? Like Weekly Shounen Champion."
- Also a Shout-Out because Weekly Shounen Champion is where the title is serialized in.
- Redemption Equals Death: The Perfect One. It was kinda sad, too. The bright side, on the other hand, is that he uprooted Jinguuji's whole syndicate network before he met his end.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Most everything was a result of Shou responding to Katsuragi's death. Additionally, his retaliation when his teacher is shot in the 3-B incident.
- Screw The Rules, I Have Connections!: Every single one of the targets, being filthy-rich megalomaniacs, Corrupt Corporate Executives and/or Sleazy Politicians, in any combination. Of course, their massive egos make it all the more interesting to watch as Akumetsu rapidly crumbles them.
- Secret Identity: Subversion: Akumetsu doesn't really seem to care about it as much as other people thought he does.
- Seinen: Despite being published in a Shonen magazine, Akumetsu's violence and story content are definitely not for kids.
- Serious Business: The Akumetsu way: Punish evil thoroughly and die after the target.
- Serial Escalation: Every event in the story is one-upping the previous one in some way or another. "Insane" may be an understatement here, but it'll have to do. For now.
- Shoot the Hostage: How the Perfect One kills Jinguuji.
- Shout-Out: Oh-so-many, particularly from different manga and some anime, without even bothering to censor the titles. Some character names do get censored by a syllable though.
- Shocker is brought up now and then as a metaphoric representation of evil. Also a few SuperSentai villain groups.
- "Rider has the powers of a grasshopper, 8 Man has the powers of speed and transformation, Doraemon has the tools of the future,..."
- There's only one truth! (Warning: Crazy page alert.)
- Then there's the Phoenix Wright-style fingerpointing...
- Am I the only one who sees that Shou's hair style and even his eyebrows (somewhat) closely resemble that of Phoenix's?
- Akumetsu in his flight suit is very reminding of a certain black-clad hero.
- That one is almost a double shout-out. When that same suit is in flight it becomes an almost perfect copy of a Griffon from Patlabor.
- "I wanna know what happens to Toriko!"
- Enjoy your Sunday morning kids shows on... TV Asame?
- When Akumetsu-ing the man who approved the drug that his friend needed that was contaminated with Hepatitis C, Shou dresses up as Black Jack.
- Apparently, Jinguuji's syndicate is so secret that even Kinda'ichi, Detective Conan and Sherlock Holmes can't find out!
- Shown Their Work: The author has very good insight into Japanese politics. Especially in economics.
- Sleazy Politician: We lost count a while ago...
- Slowly Slipping Into Evil: Averted with Akumetsu, in spite of how violent his methods are. The teacher who tried to be Akumetsu on the other hand...
- Sociopathic Hero: Although it's notable that Akumetsu admits that his methods are terrorism.
- Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist: Not a comical one, but... Officer Yamada; he's miles away from even scratching Akumetsu. He's not alone, though, nor is he the first; everyone who tried to catch Akumetsu ended up making fools out of themselves.
- Taking You with Me: What Akumetsu, or rather, Shou, planned from the beginning.
- Plan E
- Take That: And how!. And not just politics. Media, health care system, highway system, pension system, banks, etc, etc....
- Thanatos Gambit: The clone facility was programmed to self-destruct when the JSDF killed Shou Azuma, the doctor running the place.
- Timed Mission: Akumetsu "made a deal" with the Prime Minister: For the PM to get his economic reform plan rolling in a month, he'll clear off any corrupted officials obstructing it and/or fueling Japan's deficit bigger. If it fails, he'll kill the PM and then the whole Akumetsu.
- Ubermensch: Katsuragi used the exact word to describe Shou.
- Jinguuji's plan all along; making his clones become experts in each field of knowledge and ability, and then fusing their memory into a single clone. It didn't work as planned... For him, that is.
- The Unfettered: Akumetsu at the very end once backed into the corner. And it is both beautiful and heart-rending.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: At least Akumetsu explains and be honest about his motivation and aim...
- Whole Costume Reference: The Black Jack references come to mind.
- X Meets Y: The Punisher meets V for Vendetta meets Manga.
- Your Head Asplode: Akumetsu's favorite trick; in order that they can't identify his face, the mask is made to blow up on Akumetsu's death.