How Akudama Drive Challenges the Romanticization of Psychopaths


The cyberpunk anime Akudama Force made its mark at the Fall 2020 anime season with its crowd pleasing, colourful aesthetic. It follows a tender lady, who's formally known as “Bizarre Particular person,” as her lifestyles takes a tumultuous flip when she encounters six sought after fugitives referred to as Akudama (“unhealthy individual” in Eastern). When the criminals threaten to assassinate her, she assumes the alias “Swindler” and pretends to be some other Akudama. She fights to handle her precarious lie as she turns into conversant in the mysterious strangers. Don’t be fooled into considering of this display as simply an archetype of another cyberpunk media. Akudama Force is a novel spin on violence and promiscuity wrapped within the guise of chaotic edginess.


Within the first part of the display, the characters’ personalities soar off each and every different in a hilarious manner, developing an entertaining dynamic for the target audience. However this anime isn't a normal tale about how villains are extra nuanced than other people be expecting. In the second one part, with out an outlandish project and lavish visuals to distract the target audience, the principle characters display their true colours all through their idle states. Cutthroat and Physician are essentially the most distinguished examples of psychopaths whose inside selves are moderately watered down in the beginning. However after their project ends, they change into explicitly depicted because the villains they all the time have been.

The Akudama with the longest sentence (culminating to nearly 1,000 years) is Cutthroat, a psychopath who loves pink gadgets and beheading other people. All the way through the project, he radiates a lovely “Harley Quinn” personality, his maximum notable characteristics being his infantilized habits and spontaneous weigh down on Swindler, whom he calls his “angel.” What is particularly hanging is how he establishes himself as an invaluable teammate, as is observed when he concurs to assist Brawler battle the Executioners as a result of he needs to offer protection to Swindler and “be helpful.” His creepiness is proven via him licking blood off Swindler’s face, however the general humor in scenes akin to when he will get fascinated with flying in a trip bus and driving on Courier’s motorbike implicates that his psychopathy and transgressions are to be observed as quirky. When he and Swindler are paired in combination within the Black Cat’s selected team, he exclaims, “Yay!” and leaps towards her for a hug. When she pushes his face away and rejects the hug, it implies a passive facet to him, main him to look much less threatening, like a fly that may be swatted away. In Episode 4, whilst Hacker is explaining how he intends to hack the Shinkansen doorways, Cutthroat tells Swindler in a simultaneous, quieter background dialog that he hopes he does now not die in order that he can kill her, however she perceives this as a shaggy dog story. This dialog is difficult to listen to, and it’s prone to move overlooked taking into consideration Cutthroat’s lighthearted demeanor.

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Physician is a stereotypical oversexualized persona with no transparent objective within the first part of the collection. Her eccentric habits and exaggerated skill to defy loss of life is so absurd that it is a laugh. In Episode 2, Scholar slits her throat and cuts off her hand, however she is later observed along with her neck stitched and hand reattached. When Hoodlum asks how she used to be in a position to live to tell the tale, she nonchalantly states that “slightly self-medication is going a ways.” The display additionally puts a substantial visible emphasis on her overly sexual design, doubtlessly distracting audience from her psychotic nature. In Episode 3, Swindler friends into the room, the place the Akudama are casually sitting round and speaking, Physician smiling at a check tube and Cutthroat guffawing as he presses a pink button he discovered. As she watches them, she remarks that “although they’re Akudama, they act kinda commonplace.”

In Episode 7, the tale takes a tonal shift because of Brawler’s loss of life and Physician promoting the crew out to the Executioners. Because the characters go back to their lives post-mission, the display starts to really feel really dystopian. Hoodlum is obtainable medicine in a depressing alley to ease his melancholy, Physician sooner or later manipulates Hoodlum by way of degrading his value, and Swindler has a run-in with human traffickers. On the finish of Episode 8, Cutthroat is proven limping with a bleeding leg, trying to find Swindler, foreshadowing the top of his romanticized madness and the emergence of his true needs.

Cutthroat turns from an stressful inconvenience to a perilous danger when it's printed that his appeal to Swindler stems from his want to kill her. This explains the scene when he first meets her and gasps, showing to note one thing. All alongside, he had imagined a pink halo round her head that had grown greater over the years. He now not pursues his force by way of pushing pink buttons and watching at dazzling pink lighting fixtures. The ruthless Cutthroat from Episode 1 who used to be notoriously identified for beheading nearly 1000 other people turns into thirsty for blood at any value with a “Right here’s Johnny” second with Swindler in addition (the episode identify, “THE SHINING,” conveys that the scene is an intentional connection with the 1980 movie). Even Swindler is shocked on the explanation why he had all the time safe her as he explains that calling her an “angel” didn't have the that means she had at the start idea. He sees all his sufferers as “angels” with pink halos, and Swindler is his “best angel.”

Physician engages in a courting with Hoodlum, however the display doesn’t pull its punches when depicting their poisonous, dysfunctional nature. If truth be told, Hoodlum is puzzled as to why she would wish to sleep with him, to which she replies that she is “being true to herself” by way of the use of her sexuality to control others. Regardless of their implied intimacy, Physician maintains distance from him as she walks across the room, starting a monologue about short of to experiment at the immortal kids to meet her want to have whole regulate over lifestyles and loss of life. All the way through this, Hoodlum, as all the time, cowers in worry. This scene doesn’t center of attention at the two of them as a “couple,” as its major objective is to offer an intuitive research of Physician's motivations. Not anything is romantic, and even weirdly romantic, about their come across. Neither Hoodlum, nor any of the opposite characters, see Physician’s sexuality as sexy, however as a substitute view it as a supply in their misfortune. Hoodlum’s cowardice and naïveté is what leads him to depend on Physician for assist, in the end leading to his loss of life when he betrays her, and so they finally end up killing each and every different. Reasonably than them having some type of edgy romance, they're a sad tale of manipulation and betrayal.

The motif of the display is that the characters are at risk of succumb to their drives and die to them. Even Hacker and Courier, who help Swindler by way of sacrificing themselves for the youngsters, in the end dangle to their drives (to discover a a laugh problem and to hold out each and every activity, respectively), which function secondary motivations for his or her movements. This anime offers the villains what they deserve and precisely what audiences be expecting deep down, however now not prior to introducing the concept they're parodic and “commonplace” at first, making their eventual deaths concurrently disheartening and predictable. Those loopy, eccentric characters sooner or later really feel extra life like when they don't seem to be used for comedic aid. They don't deviate an excessive amount of or too little from how they're established within the first part, being “true to themselves” till the very finish.