Akira (1988)

I am a huge fan of movies but like most people I have those areas where I know little about. Anime is one of them, sure I’ve seen a couple of film by Hayao Miyazaki and one or two others, but that it in terms of film. The same is true for series as well I’ve seen Cowboy Bebop, which many consider on of the best anime series ever, and FLCL, which is one of the most bizarre things I’ve ever seen. Please be advised there are most likely going to be spoilers below.

So I finally made some time to sit and watch AKIRA, a film many consider the best anime ever, as it regularly make it into the top ten list. Akira begin with an explosion in 1988 which destroys Tokyo, this event brings about World War III. The film then skips forward 31 year to 2019, where Neo-Toyko has been built in Tokyo Bay next to the destroyed “old town” area and there are bike gangs roaming the street. The action begins with two of these gangs facing off The Capsules (Kaneda and Tetsuo) and The Clowns. While they are beating each other to a pulp there is an escaped child, we learn later on it is one of the Espers who are test subject in a secret government project.

This escaped child is running from the government and is the person who help him escape is shot dead by the military, So the child keeps on running and as luck would have it Tetsuo who is trying to get one of the last of the Clowns almost runs over the child but the child uses his psychokinesis/telekinetic and protects himself from the crash. The government arrives and recaptures the child and takes Tetsuo as well and they begin treating him as a test subject as well. A doctor who is overseeing the project notes that Tetsuo has similar brain waves or something to Akira. Tetsuo is given an accelerated drug rate as his abilities start to make him go crazy.

Lots of other things happen they finally reveal who Akira is he was a child like the other Espers but he was bisected and dissected that all that is left of him is in jars hidden in a cryogenic vault hidden under the Olympic Stadium for the 2020 Olympics which in the film take place in Tokyo.  It wonder if the IOC chose Tokyo just for this parallel, I highly doubt it but it is an interesting coincidence. Back in the film Tetsuo has gotten so strong that he awakens Akira and starts growing larger and larger, encompassing his girlfriend and Kaneda as well, Tetsuo has no control over this and the girlfriend gets squished and Kaneda escapes with the help of his laser gun. Akira and the other espers help contain Tetsuo and the film end with Tetsuo bring a big bang for some other universe in another dimension or something.

Now I’d say it was a difficult movie to follow perhaps if I watched it again I better understand it. However the film has been very influential on it seems like most movie that are coming out today  are set in this dark and gritty dystopian world. The film was interesting and had some great moments but it took me a while to actually get into the film. There has been talk for over a decade now that Hollywood would be making a live-action version of the film I will believe this rumor when I see it.


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