Akudama Drive (アクダマドライブ, Akudama Doraibu) is an original anime series produced by Danganronpa series creator Kazutaka Kodaka with his recent studio, Too Kyo Games. Animated by Studio Pierrot, a 12-episode season aired from October 8, 2020 to December 24, 2020.
Funimation acquired the North American license for the series' simulcast as well as an English dub.
"Long ago, war broke out between the regions of Kanto and Kansai, splitting the country in two. Kansai became a vassal state of Kanto and developed characteristic advancements. However, with the decline of the government and the police force, crime ran rampant. Those criminals are called Akudama."
- Episode 1 'SE7EN'
- Episode 2 'Reservoir Dogs'
- Episode 3 'Mission Impossible'
- Episode 4 'Speed'
- Episode 5 'Dead Man Walking'
- Episode 6 'Brother'
- Episode 7 'The City of Lost Children'
- Episode 8 'Black Rain'
- Episode 9 'The Shining'
- Episode 10 'Babel'
- Episode 11 'Wargames'
- Episode 12 'Akudama Drive'
- Tomoyo Kurosawa as the Ordinary Person (一般人 Ippanjin)
- Yuichiro Umehara as the Courier (運び屋 Hakobiya)
- Shunsuke Takeuchi as the Brawler (喧嘩屋 Kenkaya)
- Shun Horie as the Hacker (ハッカー Hakkā)
- Megumi Ogata as the Doctor (医者 Isha)
- Subaru Kimura as the Hoodlum (チンピラ Chinpira)
- Takahiro Sakurai as the Cutthroat (殺人鬼 Satsujinki)
- Maaya Uchida as the Black Cat (黒猫 Kuro neko) / Brother (兄 Ani)
- Kana Ichinose as the Sister (妹 Imōto)
- Akio Otsuka as the Execution Division Master (処刑課師匠 Shokeika shisho)
- Yumiri Hanamori as the Execution Division Apprentice (処刑課弟子 Shokeika deshi)
- Yoshiko Sakakibara as the Boss (ボス Bosu)
- Taiko Katono as the Execution Division Junior (処刑課後輩 Shokeika kōhai)
- Macy Anne Johnson as the Ordinary Person
- Jonah Scott as the Courier
- Zeno Robinson as the Brawler
- Yungi Chang as the Hacker
- Brittany Lauda as the Doctor
- Kellen Golf as the Hoodlum
- Matt Shipman as the Cutthroat
- Daisy Guevara as the Black Cat/Brother
- Laura Stahl as the Sister
- D.C. Douglas as the Execution Division Master
- Jenny Yokobori as the Execution Division Apprentice
- Veronica Taylor as the Boss
- Eddy Lee as the Execution Division Junior
- Studio: Studio Pierrot
- Director: Tomohiro Taguchi
- Assistant Director: Yoshifumi Sasahara
- Series Composition: Norimitsu Kaihō
- Music: Shigekazu Aida
- Original Character Design: Rui Komatsuzaki
- Character Design: Cindy H. Yamauchi
- Art Director: Yoshio Tanioka
- Mechanical design:
- Haruo Miyagawa
- Shinobu Tsuneki
- Sho Yamamoto
- Sound Director: Yukio Nagasaki
- Cgi Director: Shuho Fujitani
- Director of Photography: Kazuhiro Yamada
- Color design: Saori Goda
- Editing: Akinori Mishima
- Original Scenario: Kazutaka Kodaka
Following the creation of Kazutaka Kodaka's new studio Too Kyo Games, Akudama Drive was first announced in September 2018 under the name "Project #2" and subtitled "everyone is a villain", accompanied by Original Character Designer Rui Komatsuzaki's initial character artwork.
Meant to start airing on July 7, 2020, Akudama Drive was put off due to the COVID-19 worldwide pandemic, to finally release on October 8. For this reason, its manga adaptation's first chapter wound up releasing ahead of the anime, on July 6.
From October 8, 2020 to December 24, 2020, new episodes aired on Thursdays.
On December 25, 2020, a few hours after the last episode was released, it was announced that the last Blu-Ray & DVD volume to come out on May 28, 2021 would include a "Director's Cut" with 5 supplementary minutes of content.
On August 17th, 2021, Funimation and voice over production company Kocha Sound announced the upcoming release of Akudama Drive on Blu-Ray & DVD, already available for pre-order to release on November 30th. Along with it was announced a limited edition containing a 60-page Art Book, 8 Art cards and acrylic standees of Shark and Bunny. Formerly announced Director's Cut, out in Japan since May 28, will be included in both the limited and regular edition with english subtitles and dubbing.
Akudama Drive was critically acclaimed from its premiere on October 8, 2020, attracting multiple positive reactions from fans and reviewers alike. Kazutaka Kodaka fans found in Akudama Drive's first episode SE7EN similarities to his hit series Danganronpa, which they welcomed.
Reviewers brought up a major change in tone, largely due to a change in protagonist Swindler's personality, starting in its eight episode, Black Rain. This change, along with her new design, were found impressive and praised by critics.
The series' finale, Akudama Drive, was similarly acclaimed for its "beautiful storyboarding", the conclusion given to the Swindler and her ally the Courier and its commentary on the police's handling of criminals, though the latter was noted to lack in subtlety compared to the deeper themes brought up by Syfy.com within the Swindler's last moments. Syfy.com found Akudama Drive to be a welcome renewal of the Cyberpunk genre, which was also brought up by Comic Book Resources, who similarly to the latter believed that the animation was the main reason for Akudama Drive's popularity.
Syfy.com found the violence to be too impactful for sensitive viewers. Similarly, it had been commented by Anime Feminist that the reference to rape in episode 8 Black Rain was "an upsetting scene", and they included "so much violence" as one of their content warnings. This was also mentioned by magazine Otaku USA which praised its animation and brought up a "substantial body count", recommending owning Akudama Drive on home video to see "all of the beheadings and head/eye trauma". Anime Feminist also brought up the arguable depiction of the Brawler, and his death being the first, as "concerning", and included "racial stereotyping; death of marginalized characters" as some of their content warnings.
Despite its positive reception, Akudama Drive was a commercial failure in Japan due to poor sales of its DVDs and Blu-rays, which were not released in the West, with their first volume accumulating little more than 500 copies sold.
- The original soundtrack of Akudama Drive was made available via multiple audio streaming services on September 1st, 2021.
- The original soundtrack had initially been released in a bonus CD included with Volume 3 of the Japanese Blu-ray & DVD release.
- "Volume 6 of Blu-Ray & DVD contains the "Complete Edition" of the final episode with added unreleased scenes! ()
- @KochaSound on Twitter: "Don't miss out on owning anime of the year award winner #AkudamaDrive on DVD/BD!"
- @KochaSound on Twitter: "Also happy to confirm we did indeed cast, direct and record the director's cut of Akudama Drive!"
- Akudama Drive Episode 8 review by The Fandom Post
- Akudama Drive Episode 8 review by Anime News Network
- Akudama Drive Series Finale review by The Fandom Post
- "Akudama Drive will make you believe in cyberpunk again" by Syfy.com
- "Why Akudama Drive’s Popularity Is Revving Up With Anime Fans" by CBR
- "Anime Feminist’s Top Picks for 2020" recommendation by Anime Feminist
- Akudama Drive Anime Review by Otaku USA
- "Akudama Drive wins AOTY for the 7th Anime Trending Awards" on Anime Trending
- "Akudama Drive barely exceeds 500 copies sold for its first Blu-ray/DVD" ()
- @akudamadrive on Twitter: "The original soundtrack of the TV anime "Akudama Drive" is now available 🎧" ()
- linkfire.com Bio for the original soundtrack of Akudama Drive
|Akudama||Swindler • Courier • Brawler • Doctor • Hacker • Cutthroat • Hoodlum|
|Execution Division||Master • Apprentice • Junior • Boss|
|Other||Black Cat • Brother • Sister|
|Anime||Kansai • Kanto • Shinkansen • Absolute Quarantine Zone • Expo Park|
|Akudama Drive Anime|
|Episodes||Episode 1 • Episode 2 • Episode 3 • Episode 4 • Episode 5 • Episode 6 • Episode 7 • Episode 8 • Episode 9 • Episode 10 • Episode 11 • Episode 12|
|Manga||Akudama Drive Comicalize|
|People||Kazutaka Kodaka • Rui Komatsuzaki • Cindy Yamauchi • Rokurou Ogaki|
|Companies||Too Kyo Games|