Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Jul 16, 1988
2 hr. 4 min.
R+ - Mild Nudity
L represents licensing company
Score: 8.111 (scored by 68156 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
action drama futuristic horror sci-fi supernatural
SynopsisIt's the year 2019, thirty-one years have passed since the start of World War III. A top-secret child with amazing powers of the mind breaks free from custody and accidentally gets a motorcycle gang involved in the project. This incident triggers psychic powers within one of the gang members, Tetsuo, and he is taken by the army to be experimented on. His mind has been altered and is now on the path of war, seeking revenge on the society that once called him weak.
Related AnimeAdaptation: Akira
Characters & Voice Actors
Note: The following review DOESN'T contain spoilers.
Akira is a very controversial piece of art — but a piece of art regardless. It isn't easy to watch it, and it isn't easy to review it, either: Akira the movie is such an ambitious and influential project that grasping it in its entirety is far from being trivial.
Akira's story is among those where you need either high intuitive and perceptive abilities to understand everything that goes on, or to watch it several times. It doesn't really help that Katsuhiro Otomo stuffed almost 2000 pages of story into 2 hours of screen time, but at least the movie has considerably good re-watch potential, which might help to release part of the strain.
What we have is a post-WWIII Tokyo of not-too-distant future, led by greedy politicians and torn apart by terrorists trying to bring down the corrupt power and biker gangs that roam the streets. There is no usual hi-tech cyberpunk fantasies about living online, free information or global communication — just a demonstratively dystopic setting involving modern society abandoned to rot on its own. This is driven up further by the secret military experiments in attempts to magnify and control human psychic powers, which actually led to the WWIII in the first place. These social, political and semi-scientific, semi-mystical aspects mix and intertwine as a couple of teenagers get accidentally involved in all this mess.
Where Akira definitely wins is the art department, being a clear milestone in animation. It's been almost 20 years since its release, and I've yet to see many movies, especially anime, drawn with this amount of detail. There are very few still shots, every movement is scrutinized and animated at 24 frames per second, creating a remarkably fluid image. Dialogues are all lip-synched and everything looks as natural as it was possible to do at the time.
Character design can be called dubious, but personally I like it, since it's considerably truthful to actual real-life images, where people actually tend to have noses instead of some weird pointy bumps, and eyes that don't take half the entire face. Most of the characters are pretty much ugly, and it helps them match the gloomy setting really well. The only weak spot in it is considerably small difference in facial design, which is why some characters (especially younger ones) look similar to each other.
Sound and music
Akira is actually rather silent most of the time. However, when the sound plays, it's almost always highly dynamic and spot-on. Most of the soundtrack is dominated by industrial beats, minimalistic ethnic motifs and chants, and is intended to set the certain ambience in the movie, so you'll likely fail to enjoy it too much outside of it. But for what it's worth, the sound work is really good in the movie, especially considering the time of its production.
I can't say there's too much to it when it comes to characters. The movie's limited length (compared to manga at least) didn't leave too much for character development, so you mostly see more-or-less clear manifestations of certain archetypes rather than complex emotional and psychological twists, even though not all of them are simple to read through. Some appear initially negative but proven to be decent later, while others appear good at first but eventually show themselves to be corrupt.
Pretty much the only characters who let you get some insights into their backstory are Kaneda and Tetsuo, especially the latter. Both are almost equally confused by the events engulfing them (kinda like the viewer, actually), and it's very interesting to track their relationships throughout the movie.
This is a very subjective matter, but personally, Akira is one of the most enjoyable movies I've ever seen. It has a lot of shock value (assuming you're shocked by immense amounts of graphic violence), it has furious action, it has plot riddles, it has mystery, drama and horror elements, all presented in a coherent (but sometimes overly gruesome) manner. Some people regard Akira to be a gratuitous bloodbath, but there's much more to it than the amount of gore, it's just that those people are unable to look deeper than that. There is a lot of symbolism ingrained underneath the visual layer, and it takes some time and effort to find all the links to cultural and other contexts.
That being said, if you enjoyed watching it for the first time, chances are you will enjoy it the second time around, and probably even more at that. The final 20 minutes literally eat my head from inside every time I rewatch them, much like End of Evangelion or other similar movies. And for this alone I think it deserves its 10.
Overall, I'm still of the opinion that Akira is a masterpiece and deserves watching, whether you like anime (or any form of animation, actually) or not, at least for its great cultural and historic value. There are many movies and cartoons that are far more enjoyable, and it's not like Akira is the absolute limit of anything and everything. But as more and more titles surpass it in various respects, Akira stays like the Colossus of Rhodes, being a great achievement on its own and one of the most influential landmarks in the history of anime for years to come. read more
Breathtaking, imaginative, and ground breaking. Even these few words don't really justify the late 1980s film "Akira".
Film is a lot different than serialized works because execution is key. This is not to state that execution isn't important in a serial, but just lesser in comparison. A movie doesn't have a elongated run time too double back, and fix issues. Execution is something that "Akira" suffers from. This is a large tale with many different layers, with an expansive lore base, and a fleshed out world. Sadly 2 hours isn't quite enough, and quite a few things are left vague compared to the Manga. After a couple of viewings however there is enough within the film to piece the entire puzzle together, but an extra couple of minutes of run time could of helped. This aside "Akira's" overall plot, and setting are really imaginative. By the time the credits rolled I was taken aback by what I just finished watching. The film not only left a impression on me, but on the industry as a whole.
Captivating almost doesn't do it justice. Age usually isn't kind to older works when you go back too a certain point. Dodgy frame work, and overall lack of detail become noticeable with these films of the past. But not with "Akira". Brimming with creativity "Akira" delivers a vibrant dystopia filled to the brim with overwhelming attention to detail. Every gunshot wound, and gory mutilation is jaw dropping. This for me at least is the films strongest aspect. It feels like you are watching moving art. Now the character designs have that realistic kind of feel, which is a plus because it adds to the overall effect of the film.
The OST is funky, wacky, and demands your attention when it's playing. This is both good, and bad. I found the score to be highly original, and fun. But the issues lies in the fact that it is just plains ridiculous, and jarring during some ques. I loved it, but be weary it's not for everyone. Now the voice cast across the board did a stellar job. Special shout out to Iwata, Mitsuo who voiced Kaneda. He was smooth, ridiculous, and a lot of fun, and his voice contributed to a lot of this.
This is another issues with the film. With so much to tell a lot of the characterization that was present in the Manga got reduced down to a couple of scenes. Even then it was only for a few of the characters. Such is the way with a film adaptation, but luckily I still feel it did a good job with how much time they had. Kaneda was the ever likable protagonist, and a bad ass to boot. I found myself pulled into every scene he was in. Tetsuo is the other main character in this story, and one of the central focuses of the tale. Both were unique, and likable in their own ways. Now from the supporting cast there isn't much. I did however really like Colonel Shikishima. For a good chunk of the movie I was actually on his side, but besides him the rest left much to be desired for. They were enjoyable, but didn't have much under the hood.
One of my favorite Anime films, and in my eyes a true classic. "Akira" left an impression, and lived up to its praise.
This film is truly unique, and a classic that stood the test of time. With a few execution problems, and a little lacking in the character department this film still deserves its acclaim. I would highly recommend this to just about everyone for it's an experience that one should form their own thoughts on. Anyways those are my thoughts, and as always thanks for reading.
Two cyberpunk classics, but with a slightly differant approach. While Akira is more action-oriented, Ghost in the Shell is more cerebral
Both films have somewhat related questions about identity and both offer multilayers of depth worth re-watching it.
Prime examples of the cyberpunk genre. Both deal with some deep subjects, though GITS is more focused on the philosophy, while Akira is focused on action.
Both Akira and Ghost in the Shell are great cyber-punk thrillers and instant cult classics in the anime world. Both have to do with diving into the human mind and trying to unfold its secrets, mysteries and capabilities. If you enjoyed watching one of them then you should definitely check out the other.
Both are very mature and very influential cyberpunk films centered on the mysteries of humanity.
Both have great action with 90s cyberpunk/retro-futurism, set in grimy but impressive cityscapes.
Both are from the cyberpunk era of anime and both have a Blade Runner kind of feel to them. Ghost in the Shell and Akira are exquisite masterpieces, set in dark, dirty, futuristic cities. Absolute must-see movies.
Lucy and children from "Akira" are similar.
Secret labs, crazy professors, experiments etc.
There're differnetly eveloped people being experimented on. With results in them going beserk => gore.
Both got blood, bodies torn apart, good art, good animation, but average storyline, and totally STUPID characters!
Akira and Elfen Lied are extremely violent series that have an out of this world feeling about them. They are based on government experimentation of people that are meant to be used as weapons and both have main characters that go berserk after being subject to such experimentation. They turn against their friends and foes in a mess of power and blood, deciding to fight the whole world in a futile path towards power and justice. If you enjoyed watching one of them then you should definitely check out the other.
Similar beings with "invisible" powers and their blind destruction to achieve their goal with the military trying to use and control these beings (but ultimately failing). The main characters are similar in how they go about trying to stop everything even though they are mostly powerless in the given situation.
Opening ThemeNo opening themes found, add themes.
Ending Theme"Kaneda" by Geinoh Yamashiro-gumi
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