The “John Wick” movie franchise has featured some strong, extremely skilled, and totally badass female characters since the very beginning of the franchise, without veering into the femme fatale trope. The first installment of “John Wick” had the assassin Ms. Perkins, who tried to hunt down the titular character to avail herself of the contract set by the Russian mobster Viggo Tarasov but got herself killed after breaking the cardinal rule of the High Table by killing people inside the Continental hotel. In the second venture, the deadly, mute assassin Ares gives a tough fight before getting killed by John. The third part introduced us to the Manager of the Morocco division of the Continental, the fierce Sophia, and her two Belgian Malinois, the trio of whom assisted John in laying waste to Berrada’s men. In the latest sequel, “John Wick: Chapter 4,” the viewers are introduced to the character Akira, a skilled assassin acting as a concierge at the Osaka Continental, managed by her father, Shimazu Koji. In the movie, the father and daughter’s fate is sealed when they aid John Wick and leaves grave repercussions in the form of Koji’s death, foreboding a worse fate for Akira in the future.
Did Akira Go Down The Same Path As John Wick? Will She Kill Caine?
As the events of “John Wick: Chapter 4” progress, John kills the Elder, the leader of the High Table, which inevitably draws the ire of the organization. Marquis Vincent de Gramont gets instated as the organization’s figurehead and takes swift action by relieving Winston of his duties as the Manager of the Continental, killing his concierge Charon, and destroying the New York division of the Continental hotel. In the meantime, John seeks refuge at his old friend Shimazu Koji’s fortress, the Osaka Continental. Updates regarding New York Continental’s fate spread worldwide, and Akira, who knows that her father is a close associate of John Wick, fears retribution.
Perhaps it was Akira’s protective nature that directed her to become a concierge and stay by her father’s side. Akira knows Koji’s steadfast loyalty to the people with whom he shares a bond of trust and accordingly tries to warn him regarding the High Table’s investigation. Koji chides his daughter, asking her not to talk about the person he has known longer than she has lived, something that speaks volumes about the mutual respect and friendship Koji and John share. Later, as the Marquis’ enforcers approach the Osaka Continental to investigate, Akira comes to warn Koji about it and discovers that her father is sheltering John. Her fears come true, and the inevitable clash ends in bloodshed and destruction, and both she and her father get injured while defending their premises. As the duo tries to escape through the exit route, they meet Caine as the emissary of death, who has been fated to a precarious predicament of ensuring his daughter’s safety by fulfilling the obligation to the High Table. The inevitable happens when an injured Akira can’t stop her father from engaging in a battle with a reluctant Caine, the outcome of which all of them know beforehand and, in the process, loses him. Before she leaves, Akira is told by Caine that he will be expecting her, and at that moment, their respective fates get sealed.
Even though Caine’s hand slew Koji, it was John’s action that brought the enemy into their home. As Akira meets John in the subway, the audience expects the worst outcome: that she will avenge her father’s death by killing John—and even John seems prepared to meet his fate. But a pragmatic Akira knows better than that and realizes that one hasty decision will render her father’s sacrifice worthless. Akira doesn’t forget to inform John that he is to blame for her father’s demise and, at the same time, requests that he avenge her father for her. As the events of the movie reach a conclusion, Caine regains him and his daughter’s freedom by finally being free of the commitments to the High Table, and John wins the duel and earns his much-desired freedom as he presumably breathes his last. If the Devil couldn’t do what she asked for, Akira would perform the deed on her own.
In the post-credits scene, we see a visibly happy Caine approaching his daughter at long last, but his happiness could be momentary as the camera shifts to Akira wielding a blade and ready to strike him in order to take revenge for Koji. Whether Akira knew about Caine’s obligation is unknown, but given her state of mind, it probably wouldn’t have mattered either. Previously, she mentioned to her father that whatever the vengeful Baba Yaga touches perishes inevitably. Unfortunately, Akira has become a creature of vengeance, much like him, giving in to her baser instincts.
In the “John Wick” lore, the core story is a simplistic overview of how vengeance begets only death and destruction. As John avenges his dog, Daisy, the last semblance of hope in the absence of her wife, he leaves a path scorched by the hellfire of his vengeful rage, a path smeared with the blood of innocent ones like Charon’s as well as numerous others who took up the same trade. There is no respite or hiding away from the loop that fate and the system have bound him to, and ultimately only death provides him with a release. Similarly, the trauma of witnessing her father’s death has led Akira to choose to avenge him, and the moment she decides to strike couldn’t have been more poetic and just, although she herself is doomed to repeat the cycle of violence, death, and pain from thereon. The daughter who wishes to avenge her father will become the cause of grief for another daughter, and we can’t think of a more tragic fate for this complex, layered character.
Actor Rina Sawayama brought elegance, emotional struggle, and physicality to pull off the acting and combat skills required for such a strong character. The tradition of introducing strong female characters in the “John Wick” franchise continues, and this time the character is given more background and a larger story arc to work on. An “Akira” spin-off seems inevitable after the mass acclaim the movie is getting, and along with the Ruska Roma-related “Ballerina” spin, the stories can merge to create a female assassin-led universe of its own.