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Akira

AKA:
 
 


Akira originally appeared as a comic book in December of 1982 in the Young Magazine anthology. The series of comic books sold over 3 million copies which made it one of the top sellers of all time. The series and later graphic novel gained even more popularity with audiences in the United States when it was translated and released by Marvel Comics. Akira has also been translated into over thirteen different languages including French, Italian, Spanish, German, Portuguese, Chinese, Finnish, Swedish, Polish and Indonesian.



More Trivia from Akira
You can almost see the ashes of Hiroshima blowing past the ghosts of Nagasaki...

Akira is a film steeped in dark sobriety and poetic reflection; the future slowly becomes like the past; for on July 16th 1988, a new kind of mega-bomb was dropped on Tokyo. Over the next 35 years, the future city of Neo-Tokyo is built around the huge crater made by the nuclear firestorm...

Akira's labyrinthine story revolves around a biker youth called Kaneda, his profoundly disturbed friend Tetsuo, a physic man/child by the name of Takashi, Kay; a beautiful but dangerous revolutionary and the fabled noumenon...Akira. To disclose how all these characters relate to one another would be to deny you the opportunity to deconstruct possibly the finest animated film ever made. Akira is a story about the callous nature of mankind, and how any gift that could be beneficial, is corrupted and twisted beyond recognition by those who seek power for themselves.

My own ideas about Akira's heavy subtext may differ from yours, but that's the great thing about this Anime, it's open to debate, and though you may think it's a bit odd to consider the philosophical value of what is, essentially, a cartoon; 'Akira' is one of the most thought provoking and emotionally evocative films, animated or otherwise, it's one where spiritual freedom and political idealism collides with calculated repression and the never-ending quest for power. The city of Neo-Tokyo itself is an amalgam of steel and stone, more an edifice to unstructured insolence than resolve or defiance: it represents how we go on and on, never once doubting our intentions or stopping to consider the effects of our hypocrisy.

I feel that both Akira and Tetsuo, are allegorical figures who represent humanity itself: the embodiment of all our contradictions and strengths; our capabilities for fairness, justice and love along with our dark desire to self-destruct and destroy. 'Akira' often echoes the work of Ballad and Leguin in it's foreboding outlook of the future and the way in which we should try and understand alien powers as opposed to simply calling in the military or resorting to knee-jerk aggression. At once hopeful and pessimistic, Akira has a narrative structure all of it's own; you never quite know which way the story's going to go. Though you may not always agree with what's happening to the characters you like, just remember, that's the Japanese style, and in a way, that's what keeps us interested.

Verdict?

Akira is a strange film for stranger times, a movie whose relevance seems to become greater as we move closer to it's predicted apocalypse of 2111 A.D.

I remember when I first saw a glimpse of 'Akira,' I was 8 years old, and they showed a 10 minute preview on a hip hop show called 'Dance Energy'...all I remember was being transfixed by the detailed animation, the expression and emotion these characters could convey, we'd grown up with '"He Man and The Masters Of The Universe" and "Dungeons & Dragons" all of which was, and still is, good, but Japan had taken it to another level, Akiria's animation, much like 'Fist Of The North Star', looks a little rough in comparison to some of their more recent efforts, and in many ways this murky depth compliments Akira's existential undertones and dark themes.

It's a testament to artists and innovators like Hiroyuki Aoyama and Katsuji Misawa that the 'Manga- Style' is still considered one of the finest animated forms around, sure, CGI has made a huge impact as well, but there's still something a little detached about those CG movies, and though 'Final Fantasy' came pretty close to real, for now, Manga still manages to hold onto that mix of great storytelling and vivid, super-kinetic animation. Akira, put simply, is the mother of all animated films, though not as accessible as say, 'Street Fighter II' or 'Ninja Scroll' this movie is a landmark in animated filmmaking and just has to seen. A modern classic.

Notice any mistakes? Review

Strengths: both surreal and realistic, groundbreaking animation.

Weaknesses? complex story and subtext needs to be studied afterwards.

Our rating: 9 out of 10


Review Written by Kashif Ahmed:  Contact  |  More Reviews by Kashif Ahmed
Akira