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"In 1988, the landmark Anime film AKIRA, by director Katsuhiro Otomo, defined the cutting edge of Anime around the world. By today's standards, AKIRA remains a landmark achievement in cel animation and retains the explosive impact of its highly detailed animation and its intensely violent saga of power and corruption." Segment from cover Intro

The above segment preludes people to a film of astonishing components such as cel animation, detailing, and story. But does the old (13+ years) film Akira really have its own ground when compared to the anime of today? Of course! I'm sure you heard the saying "the book was better..", well the graphic novel was what made it famous. Akira's popularity was so great they had to make an animated feature of it. I believe the artists were determined to make the animated feature of Akira full of life, leaving an impact on those who viewed it. Of course this masterpiece did have a big impact on the audiences, because it remained in the top 60 of many charts for several weeks after it had begun airing. But what is it exactly that makes this film the high reign of anime? Read further fellow anime fans...

The story's main characters are Tetsuo and Kaneda, who are part of a motorcycle gang in Neo Tokyo. It takes place several years after the Akira project, which destroyed the original Tokyo during World War 3.

Film Information

   Studio: Pioneer
   Released: Dec., 1989
   Director: Katsuhiro Otomo
   Rating: 96/100

   Click on the Formats    below to buy this film:
   VHS Dubbed,
   VHS Subtitled,
   DVD Sub/Dubbed

In Association with

The real action begins when Tetsuo encounters an escaped/abducted subject of the military organization known as Takashi (or number 26) during a brawl with another motorcycle gang. When the organization goes to retrieve 26, they bring the injured Tetsuo with them. They conduct many experiments on Tetsuo which bring out his psychic abilities. Unknownst to them, Tetsuo had a troubled childhood which leads to his psychic power growing out of control from rage. Testuo sets out to find the body of the name Akira, which he has heard throughout most of his time under the organizations control and experimentations. Tetsuo's powers have now become a threat to mankind and to himself, if he is not stopped another Akira disaster could occur. Tetsuo heads towa! rd the isolated and frozen body of Akira as the military, and his former friend Kaneda, try to stop him.

If you were to put the plot into a single sentence it would be "Boy with huge pyschic powers sets out to destroy the former destroyer of Tokyo". Although the idea may seem so simplistic, it is the interaction between the characters that add so much depth to the story. Strangely enough, we don't get to see much background on the characters throughout most of the movie, except the fact that they act tough and use foul language. In the beginning you get the idea the character Tetsuo is tired of being rescued by his friend Kaneda during dangerous situations. But you don't really see how there life was before the present, until the end of the movie. I think that detracted from the person's attachment to the main characters since they knew little about their backgrounds throughout most of the movie. But there are many other factors that make up for it...

The music in Akira perfectly accents the many different sequences it contains. Since the movie contains many scenes with nothing but silence, the music does a good job highlighting various scenes. When I watched Akira the first time through, I noticed they had no music nor sound effects during scenes where they probably should have. Like someone is looking at a big explosion but you cannot even hear it nor any music. Only after watching it a second time through did I realize it adds more emotion to those scenes since they are usually followed up by a remarkable combo of sound effects and music during the next scene. Throughout most of the movie you encounter this sort of majestic chant music during Tetsuo's actions and hallucinations. This music had the biggest impact on scenes and really made them thought-provoking. The scene with the toys on the attack comes to mind...

The animation in the movie is simply spectacular! That could be do to the fact it was digitally remastered, but I have always heard that Akira was the pinnacle of cel animation. Sure the characters have little detail to their faces (square teeth, no lips) but they are very well distinguished and not too outlandish for the realism of the movie. As for the camera angles, it always seems to be at the spot you want it to be. Like when Tetsuo squashes some guards against the ceiling and walls with his power, you see it happen from afar, then it zooms in during the aftermath (which is pieces of their bodies falling to the ground).

English dubs are very questionable for many anime titles (mainly the one that is the foundation for this site), but this one is almost everything a fan could want in an english dub. Very good voice actors, original music and remastered picture quality. Everything the characters said made perfect sense but..there were a few scenes where the words really didn't match the characters mouth movements (Kaneda asking where the freaking baby room is, heh). But things like that didn't really bother me, because I would rather have it as close to the original script as it can be rather than just have the characters say anything that matches the mouth movements like the dbz dub.

Akira is rated R and wtih good reason. I think I heard every english word they didn't allow you to say in school more than once. Also their is one scene with brief nudity of a female's upper half. Although the scene still would of been well without it, I believe it was in there so the movie would appeal to all kinds of people (umm I prefer not to mention all of them). But it did accent the ignorance of the party that ripped the girls top off to begin with. And if the language and brief nudity weren't enough to get it a rating of R, the violence sure is. A lot of the hardcore violence involves gun shots to human tissue, and boy are they graphic. If you have a weak stomach I wouldn't suggest eating anything while watching this movie, but as for me...I didn't have any problem downing my popcorn and Code Red.

There is just so much one could say about Akira, but the only thing that makes it a great experience is to see it for yourself. This movie has my highest recommendations. And if it is difficult for you to understand the first time through, watch again and listen for familiar words during the beginning. And as for the perfect anime, if this movie added more character background at the beginning and more character detail, it would have almost been the perfect anime title.

Kaervak gives the classic Akira: 96/100 (2pt for each flaw ain't bad!)

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