"When all the evil people in this world are dead, will this world truly be peaceful?"
The Punisher meets V for Vendetta meets Atlas Shrugged.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. note ''Destruction of Evil. (Aku) Evil (Metsu) Killer also works and makes for a wonderful pun. 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.Cue one dead Sleazy Politician and Corrupt Corporate Executive after another as Shou in his alter-ego, Akumetsu, set in motion his plan to save Japan from its economic and political disasters.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.Comparable to the Boondock Saints. On the other hand, most definitely notDeath Note.Not to be mistaken with a certain mangaka.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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 nevertouches kills 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.
Karmic Death: Akumetsu never fails to find ways for the targets in the most fitting and ridiculous fashion.
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.
"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."
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.
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.
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.
‹bermensch: 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.