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Manga / Akumetsu

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One man, one kill; W ("Double") execution of evil

"I'll change Japan."
Hazama Shou, and boy, he isn't kidding.

"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  Shina recognizes 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 drags 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, sets 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 plot line 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 plot line is about Akumetsu's plan 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 plot line presents, whereas a casual reader will probably be more interested in the second. Bottomlined, it has Multiple Demographic Appeal which may also appeal to some of the shonen audiences.

Comparable to both The Boondock Saints and Destroy and Revolution. On the other hand, most definitely not Death Note.

Not to be mistaken with a certain mangaka.

Tropes specific to Akumetsu:

  • Agony of the Feet: A really darknote  example happens in the first volume, where a Corrupt Corporate Executive gets his toe shot off courtesy of one of the Akumetsu.
  • 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. As of the current generation, the remaining Jinguuji clones sacrified themselves to create Version 1, Hazama Shou.
  • 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 the Lamborghini Countach.
  • Author Tract: The primary purpose of the story seems to be 60% railing against the corruption of various political offices and figures (including groups often not talked about in fiction, like those in charge of building roads) and 40% watching said figures die in over the top ways. There are multiple monologues about the corruption of various figures, varying between those in denial about their corruption at least publicly and those who fully own up to being corrupt as hell.
  • 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. It precedes the Dark Knight Trilogy and Death Note, though.
  • Beauty Equals Goodness: All the heroic characters tend to have strong attractive faces. On the other hand, all the villainous characters Akumatsu comes for tend to be very very ugly.
  • 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 jumps all the way to Hive Mind.
  • Blackmail: One of Akumetsu's oft-opted methods. Apparently not his favorite, though.
  • Bland-Name Product:
    • The very first panel has Starbunnys Coffee in the background.
    • Weekly Tsop.
    • Sany Video Camera.
  • Character Title: The title is the name of a character, in this case the main character's alter-ego.
  • 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.
  • Cross-Popping Veins: People get these when they're mad.
  • Cultural Cross-Reference: Picard has exceptional negotiation... Wait, what?!note 
  • Death Is Cheap: This varies. Death is cheap early on when he has 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.
  • Death Montage: Chapter 27 features a truly memorable one of these. Just turn on Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture and watch the fireworks.
  • Decapitation Presentation:
  • Later on, another Akumetsu (or was it the same one?) pulls a larger-scale Decapitation Presentation by presenting several heads on a rotating conveyor belt!
  • The first Akumetsu pulls off a variant of this; instead of holding up a severed head, he hoists an entire dead body into view. (Complete with an axe embedded in the skull from earlier on in the previous chapter)
  • Decoy Protagonist: Played straight and subverted with Shou Hazama. Hazama may have performed the first Akumetsu killing but he isn't connected to the overarching story and is quickly replaced with Shou Niikura as the protagonist by the second volume. However Niikura is killed by the penultimate volume and Hazama takes up the reins as protagonist once more until the end. So in essence, begins and ends with Hazama.
  • 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.
  • 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 has 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.
  • Ear Ache: A biker in Volume 2 gets shot in the ear with a revolver.
  • 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.
  • Fingore: A police chief in Volume 2 gets every finger on his left hand shot off.
  • 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.
  • House Fire: One of the Corrupt Corporate Executive characters that Akumetsu takes out has his (rather expensive) house set on fire moments before he's killed.
  • 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.
  • Innocent Bystander: Either averted or subverted or both; Akumetsu never touches 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.
  • Knee Capping: More or less; all of the Akumetsu have a habit of shooting/stabbing people in the legs and thighs in order to accomplish the same goal that this trope would.
  • 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 of 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".
  • 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: 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. They rigged a SEPARATE bomb to explode if Azuma was killed in addition to his exploding head (most likely, they rigged it to explode at the same time as Azuma's head), so even though they used weak bullets, the lab was screwed the minute he did eventually die.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: No Politicians Were Harmed, in this case. 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.
  • 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.
    • "The head of the former congressman. But because of its frightening expression, it's been censored"
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Although 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.
  • 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.
  • Race Against the Clock: 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.
  • Redemption Equals Death: The Perfect One. It's kind of 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.
  • Self-Duplication: Subversion; EVERY SINGLE Akumetsu is the real deal, since they all share the same memory and skills.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Take That!: And how!. And not just politics. Media, health care system, highway system, pension system, banks, etc, etc....
  • Teeth Flying: The Volume 1 Akumetsu pistol-whipping a guy in the face ends up resulting in this trope.
  • Thanatos Gambit: The clone facility was programmed to self-destruct when the JSDF killed Shou Azuma, the doctor running the place.
  • Übermensch:
    • 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.