Review By: John Fragglepuss Evans
Genre: Action, Adventure, Horror, Military, Sci-Fi, Supernatural, Dystopia, Classic
First Released: July 1988, 125 minutes
Summary: The year is 2019, 31 years after the start of World War III. A child breaks free from a secret agency that tests psychic abilities. A high school motorcycle gang gets involved, triggering psychic powers in Tetsuo, one of the members. Tetsuo is kidnapped by the army for testing, altering his brain chemistry and unintentionally setting him on a war path to destroy the society that has called him weak his entire life.
Akira is directed by Katsuhiro Otomo, who wrote the original manga of the same name. Otomo did not intend to adapt the series from the manga but agreed on an anime adaptation on the grounds that he retain creative control of its content. The film was a trendsetter for anime in creating detailed scenes and pre-scored dialogue.
I appreciate many aspects of the film, from the diversity of characters to the 1980s soundtrack and animation. The artwork is drawn in great detail with lip-synced dialogue. The character design is semi-realistic, breaking from the norm in anime of bright, unrealistic colors. The artwork is incredible, showing meticulous detail in the background of many scenes, such as the dirty alleys that were passed through. It would have been simpler to animate an empty alley, but a visual of the run-down city is created through the discarded waste and old newspapers blowing in the wind. Lastly, the music is fantastic. While it remains minimal throughout most of the film, when it comes it does so in a powerful way that adds to the intensity of the scene.
You might enjoy this if: You cannot get enough of the futuristic dystopia genre. Akira is noteworthy in how it inspired countless films, from anime to Western blockbusters.
You might not like it if: Complex stories mixed with violence are not for you. The film appears simple at the beginning but quickly evolves into a detailed and gritty story with an uncertain outcome. The graphic violence will be too intense for some viewers while the need to pay attention to detail will turn others away.
Note to the Viewer: Akira was the first animated film to become a part of the prestigious Criterion Collection and was the only animated film until 2014.
AMV – Monster by Muz Hashim
(Warning, the AMV contains spoilers. Watch the film first)