The Akudama Drive Season 2 anime has the potential to explore further the cyberpunk Kansai Japan and its motley crew of charming criminals fighting against the class warfare caused by civil war.
Unfortunately, the question is not when is Akudama Drive Season 2 coming out; it is whether the ending of Akudama Drive Episode 12 left an opening for a second season.
It’s possible that Akudama Drive Blu-Ray/DVD Volume 6 may give more insight. The official website says that the box set will include a director’s cut “complete version” of Episode 12 that includes an additional five minutes. These 11 additional main scenes were cut due to the time limits of the TV broadcast.
The story is an original work by game developer Too Kyo Games and animation Studio Pierrot, which is well known for Naruto, Naruto Shippuden, and then its successor, Boruto: Naruto Next Generations. Studio Pierrot also animated the Tokyo Ghoul anime series and Nickelodeon’s The Legend of Korra.
The project is being helmed by director Tomohisa Taguchi, who is best known for directing Persona 3/4, Twin Star Exorcists, and the 2017 Kino’s Journey anime.
If the Akudama Drive anime’s particular brand of murderous glee reminds you of Danganronpa, then it won’t be surprising to hear that writer Kazutaka Kodaka, the original creator of Danganronpa, wrote the script. He’s also one of the founders of game developer Too Kyo Games.
Take one glance at the Akudama Drive character designs, and you’ll see the resemblance since Danganronpa artist Rui Komatsuzaki also created the Akudama characters.
The Akudama Drive release date was originally planned for July 2020, but it was delayed by the SARS-COV-2 pandemic and the effects of COVID-19 on the anime industry.
For the first season, the Akudama Drive OP (opening) was “Steal!!” by SPARK!!SOUND!!SHOW!!, while the ED (ending) was “Ready” by Urashimasakatasen.
The Akudama Drive Season 2 OP and ED have not yet been announced.
The finale, Akudama Drive Episode 12, released on December 24, 2020.
Updated December 28, 2020: Added Akudama Drive director’s cut info.
Updated December 3, 2020: Akudama Drive dub confirmed.
This article provides everything known about Akudama Drive Season 2 (Akudama Doraibu Season 2) and all related news. As such, this article will be updated over time with news, rumors, and analysis. Meanwhile, let’s delve down into what is known for certain.
FUNimation Akudama Drive English dub announced
The first season was streaming on FUNimation Now, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and Anime Lab. FUNimation’s Akudama Drive English dub was officially confirmed in early December 2020.
Here is the English dubbed cast:
- Black Cat played by Daisy Guevara
- Brawler played by Zeno Robinson
- Courier played by Jonah Scott
- Cutthroat played by Matt Shipman
- Doctor played by Brittany Lauda
- Hacker played by Y. Chang
- Hoodlum played by Kellen Goff
- Master played by D.C. Douglas
- Ordinary Person (Swindler) played by Macy Anne Johnson
- Pupil played by Jenny Yokobori
The Akudama Drive English dub release date hasn’t been confirmed yet.
Akudama Drive Season 2 release date prediction: Likely a long wait
As of the last update, Studio Pierrot, Too Kyo Games, or any company related to the anime production has not officially confirmed the Akudama Drive Season 2 release date. Nor has the production of an Akudama Drive sequel been announced.
Once the news is officially confirmed, this article will be updated with the relevant information. In the meantime, it’s possible to speculate about when, or if, the Akudama Drive Season 2 premiere date will occur in the future.
At first glance, it seems as if any chance of an Akudama Drive sequel were nailed to a literal cross and died, but this is Danganronpa writer we are talking about and that series has had multiple sequels/prequels.
Thus, it wasn’t too surprising that the story for the first Akudama Drive characters was standalone and provided a major deadly plot twist (or two or three) for the ending. Kodaka has a history of leaving openings for a continuation, so it’s again not surprising that an Akudama Drive sequel is possible, even though most of the main characters are (apparently) dead at the end of the first ride.
The critical issue is that Kantou the quantum supercomputer is still functional so the main villain still exists. Even though the Executioners were mostly destroyed in the citizen uprising, Apprentice’s character arc was never completely wrapped up. We also don’t know what exactly Brother and Sister are walking into with this new location.
The only hint we’re given is that it’s named Shikoku, which is one of the main islands of Japan southwest of Kansai. It’s known for maintaining its traditional Japanese culture for a longer time period in comparison to other regions, but that doesn’t give much of a hint about the potential plot.
Even though Episode 12 left an opening for a sequel it’s the financial success that’ll determine whether Akudama Drive Season 2 happens. Thankfully, the reviews have been solid from both audiences and critics, which seems like a good sign.
Financially, streaming revenue is the biggest factor, but the first Akudama Drive Blu-ray/DVD volume is going on sale in Japan on December 25, 2020, so a successful indicator in the first week of sales could be a Christmas present for anime fans.
Assuming the studio is waiting to see how much cash they rake in, the turnaround time probably won’t be quick. Anime productions are scheduled years in advance, so the wait for Akudama Drive 2 should be several years.
Akudama Drive manga adapts the anime
Starting in July 2020, the Akudama Drive manga series began adapting the anime’s story. The adaptation is being created by artist Rokurou Ogaki, known for The Unlimited – Hyobu Kyosuke.
The first two chapters were released in July 2020. Since then, a new chapter has been released every month.
The first chapter followed the overall plot of Episode 1 fairly closely, but it added some extra details and characterization missing from the anime. So, it might be worthwhile for fans of the TV show to read.
The eBook, Renta! service will be providing the Akudama Drive manga’s English translation.
The cyberpunk world of Akudama Drive as explained by its creators
In an Animate Times interview with director Tomohisa Taguchi, story writer Kazutaka Kodaka, and Producer Sadahiko Tominaga, the creators also said they drew inspiration from Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction and Bryan Singer’s Usual Suspects. They desired “to do a crime suspense like Tarantino in cyberpunk.”
The names of the episodes are blatant movie references, and each title links to the episode’s plot. Episode 1: SE7EN was presumably named such for the number of main characters in the crew. Reservoir Dogs had criminals with pseudonyms, and each strangers to one another, hired to carry out a robbery, and they met in a warehouse.
Notably, Reservoir Dogs had a traitor, so you have to wonder if the meaning of Episode 2’s title goes deeper. But the title names of Episode 3: Mission: Impossible (best train station security ever) and Episode 4: Speed (a fast-moving vehicle that can’t stop) was more on the nose.
“In the first place, it was a project that started with the desire to create a work that Studio Pierrot is not known for. I would be happy if we could deliver a new animation of studio Pierrot with that sense of mission and challenging spirit,” said Tominaga. “It’s an original animation that you don’t know how it will develop in the future, so I think you can betray your imagination in a good way.”
When creating the cyberpunk world, they drew inspiration from Blade Runner and Ghost In The Shell, but they purposefully didn’t set the world in a future Tokyo. Instead, they decided to use the current Kansai region as a base model for creating a new yet familiar atmosphere.
The art storyboards were arranged based on Osaka, which apparently has become more popular than Tokyo with overseas tourists. They literally used the Osaka streets from the 1960s and 70s as references to give it that atmosphere of the “near future based on the present age.”
Akudama Drive and class warfare themes
Similar to how the Deca-Dence anime had a thinly veiled message about crony capitalism and fascism/socialism, the Akudama Drive seems to be dipping its toes into political topics.
In this case, it’s class warfare. While not as blatant as Moriarty the Patriot (the Moriarty the Patriot Part 2 release date is set for 2021), it is pretty obvious that the focus of the Akudama Drive story (besides all the beautifully animated action and crime suspense) is the reasons for the “drive,” or motivations, of the Akudama, the poor class objectified into criminals by the system they live within.
Audiences are told that long ago, a war broke out in Japan that pitted Kantou against Kansai and divided the country… in this case, literally by a new bomb that created a zone where people can’t survive. Following the civil war, the poor in Kansai became dependent on the rich in Kantou, creating a class-based society.
The poor people of Kansai began worshipping and honoring the Shinkansen, which is a train that separates the worlds of the rich and the poor. The large divide between the classes is clearly delineated by the massive crater left by the superweapon.
The robotic criminal justice system assumes that if you’re arrested, you’re guilty. The government propaganda cartoon featuring shark and bunny is worldbuilding while also providing sly commentary on modern-day policing. Perhaps due to the rampant injustice, slowly, the police and government began losing Kansai’s control to criminals known as Akudama.
This narrative certainly fits the mood of 2020, considering that America (and other parts of the world) is currently experiencing political turmoil where protesters use physical violence against the police and government.
Protesters defend their actions by claiming they’re seeking justice and equity, believing that violence against property (and sometimes people) is justified. Then you have anti-protesters composed of militia groups and other political organizations and/or fraternities who are willing to use lethal force similar to the anime’s Executioner characters.
Caught in the middle is the average citizen who must determine in their own mind whether these actions constitute justice or criminality. Similarly, in Akudama Drive, a good-intentioned, ordinary girl calling herself Swindler is unwillingly pulled into the world of the Akudama only to find herself feeling somewhere sympathetic to this strange group of people.
The creators said they purposefully created the unnamed Swindler as an “ordinary person” to act as a surrogate for the perspective of the audience and their reactions to the Akudama. As such, Swindler was purposefully given limited lines.
It turned out the creators were in fact stating a red herring. Swindler had hidden depths to her motives that led to the outcome.
The TV show started with her as an ordinary person that everyone mistook for an Akudama, but by the ending, she really was an S-Rank Akudama that swindled the entire civilian population into thinking she was an ordinary person murdered by the Executioners. In Episode 12, her name in the credits was changed from “Ordinary Person” to “Swindler” to showcase this transformation.
Similar to Goblin Slayer, the rest of the main characters (Courier, Brawler, Hacker, Doctor, Hoodlum, Cutthroat, and Black Cat) were purposefully given generic descriptive nicknames by Kodaka based on archetypes. This was a scriptwriting habit he’d picked up over time, but when the writer met with the producer and director they all agreed the nicknames fit the atmosphere.
“Besides, there aren’t many animes that give such character names, and since it’s an original anime, it’s better to stand out in various ways, so I think it’s a good feature,” Tominaga said.
Notably, the “muscle idiot” Brawler “does not realize that he is a criminal”! Despite Cutthroat obviously being introduced as a murderer, he has moments of childish purity.
“Maybe the whole Akudama is pure,” Kodaka said. “Being honest with my feelings, I ignore the laws and rules and commit crimes. That is Akudama.”
The question is whether audiences will empathize with the crew as toppling the oppressive rich to bring justice to the poor. Or, will they be turned off by their ghoulish actions despite their respective charms?
Whatever the case may be, hopefully, the first season will be popular enough that an Akudama Drive Season 2 anime is greenlit for production. Stay tuned!