Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Jul 16, 1988
Producers: Tokyo Movie Shinsha, FUNimation EntertainmentL, Mainichi Broadcasting, Kodansha, Bandai EntertainmentL, Toho Company
Duration: 2 hr. 4 min.
Rating: R+ - Mild NudityL represents licensing company
Score: 8.081 (scored by 55357 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
2 based on the top anime page.
Popular Tagsaction drama futuristic horror sci-fi supernatural
May 1, 2013
Critic's Log - Earthdate: December 3, 2012. Review #25: AKIRA
The time has come, This is my 25th review and I have a special movie to talk about. I will now review the 1988 landmark anime film... AKIRA!
In the year 2019, 31 years have passed since the outbreak of World War III. In the city of Neo-Tokyo, all authority is waging a never-ending struggle against underground forces that virtually rules the shattered city, A top-secret child with amazing powers of the minds breaks free from custody and accidentally involves a biker gang in the project. The incident triggers psychic powers within one of the bikers named Tetsuo, and he ends up being taken by the army and being experimented on. Tetsuo's mind has been warped and he is on a path to destruction.
To be technical, this is a TMS Entertainment production and this anime film is directed by Katsuhiro Otomo (who also created the manga of the same name). It is also a landmark anime for one obvious reason. For 1988, the animation blew everyone away. When I first saw Akira, I was blown away. I knew it was made in 1988 before I saw it but I find it almost hard to believe that it was made in the late 80's. It has fluent animation, the action scenes sometimes looks badass. I love the Bike Chase scene in the first 15 minutes of the film. The animation still looks amazing. If you didn't research this movie on Wikipedia, I'll tell you this then. This anime film has more than 160,000 animation cels throughout the two-hour experience. There was a whole lot of effort put into the making of this film. This film was one hell of an achievement.
The animation is not the only good point in the movie, although it may be the contributing reason on why most people would like this movie. The music by Yamashirogumi Geinoh really fits the movie well. I like some of the ominous themes in this movie. The music is mesmerizing throughout the movie.
As far as voice acting goes. This will be a lengthy topic to discuss. Oh well, here goes... The Japanese Cast is not bad, in fact it's pretty good. Mitsuo Iwata is fine as Kaneda, Nozomu Sasaki is good as Tetsuo, and Mami Koyama is not bad as Kei. There's a lot of seiyus that are not really big names but they play their roles just fine. Here's a little fun fact about the subtitled version, the voices were recorded before the animation was finished. Also, the animation staff focused on matching the characters' lip movements match the dialogue (which was a first for an anime production). As far as the English Dub goes, there are actually two dubs to Akira. The Streamline dub (which was from the 90's) and the Animaze/Pioneer Dub (which was done in 2001) I will actually state my opinion on both dubs. It is going to be very difficult for me to comment on the Streamline dub because I know there are some people that have grown up watching the Streamline dub and they actually liked it. I am more familiar with the Animaze/Pioneer Dub because that was the first dub I saw. I have seen a little bit of the Streamline dub and I tried to get used to it. There are some people that like the Streamline dub and there are some people that don't like it. I personally didn't like the Streamline dub, I'm sorry for those that like that dub, but the voices sounded way off to me. I was surprised that Cam Clarke voiced Kaneda though. So what do I think of the Animaze/Pioneer dub? I think it's a good dub. Johnny Yong Bosch fits the role because Kaneda is a punk and Johnny was a perfect choice for Kaneda, Joshua Seth is also great as Tetsuo. Wendee Lee was also good as Kei but I felt Kei sounded a bit older than her age in this dub, this is just a minor nitpick but Wendee Lee's performance was pretty good. as far as other performances go, Jamieson Price was great as the Colonel, and there were some well-known dub actors in the movie such as Michelle Ruff, Michael Lindsay, Mike Reynolds, William Frederick Knight, Skip Stellrecht, and Steve Blum. The Animaze/Pioneer dub is good, but I sort of prefer the subtitled version on this one. Kevin Seymour really did a good job as ADR director in which he didn't disappoint in the later dubs that he worked on with animes such as Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex and Code Geass. I've said enough on the voice acting
As far as characters go, the characters (in a way) have personalities that would fit the setting of the story that which the movie presents. Kaneda is a street punk that has a sense of humor. His best friend Tetsuo really has some problems which I really can't blame him too much for since he has a inferiority complex. I almost found Tetsuo as a whiny little bitch but there is a slight cool appeal that I see in Tetsuo and it was somewhat fascinating to see Tetsuo progress in character development. Kei is an alright character of all the bunch, She doesn't have too much development compared to how she developed in the manga. The Colonel on the other hand is a pretty good character from start to finish. He may be tough and ruthless but he has his reasons. I like how he is pragmatic to recognize the danger that Tetsuo's fledgling powers pose. I also like his sense of honor that reflects on the Military. Call it a soldierly sense of honor if you may. I like the Colonel. The other characters are pretty good for the most part.
The story of Akira is a bit hard for me to describe because the animation is what most people remember about Akira. There's definitely a lot of style with some substance to go with it. The story does have a post-apocalyptic setting and most of the scenes you see or will see does fit that setting. It's obvious that this is an adaptation of the manga of the same name and Otomo-san took some liberties from turning his 2,162 page manga epic into a 2 hour film. It's not completely faithful to the manga but since Otomo-san directed this film, I don't have much room to complain. I will say that the manga has a far more complete story, this movie does have a story but it can be a little hard to remember for some people. I guess it's good for the most part. There are times I just get blown away by the animation and totally forget about the story.
Akira was available by Pioneer/Geneon before it went out of print, it was later picked up by Bandai Entertainment until they went under. It was rescued by Funimation. At the time I'm writing this review, it will soon be available from Funimation. The manga by Katsuhiro Otomo was available by Dark Horse Comics until the rights expired and it was picked up by Kodansha Comics. The Akira manga is available from Kodansha Comics. An American live-action film was in the works but it is in development hell.
With all that said, Akira has incredible animation that ended up as one of the most popular anime films today. This film has garnered a cult following which I think the animation contributed to that. The music is mesmerizing and a tripfest in some themes. The movie has a couple badass characters as well as some badass moments. The story may have not been faithful than the manga but it is directed by the creator of the series so there's really no need to complain about that. This is a really cool movie and anyone that likes anime should see it. You won't be disappointed for the most part.
I give Akira a 9 out of 10, It is EXCELLENT!
Feel free to leave a comment.
Critic's Log - Post-script: Well, I just got to 25 reviews and an Otaku's work is never done. Even though I don't get paid for posting reviews, I do have fun writing reviews and posting them. Feel free to check out my other reviews that I have posted if you feel up to it. I also want to thank some of my friends that I have or made throughout the time I had making these 25 reviews. With that said, That is all I have for the time being and have a great day. read more
Jul 28, 2007
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
Apr 11, 2010
My main problem with "Akira" is the vagueness of the story. I mean, I'm not the biggest fan of these abstract, philosophical stories to begin with, but "Akira" also suffers from a lack of completeness, which only serves to exasperate my confusion even more. I was watching it with a friend and he was having to constantly explain what to me what was happening using knowledge that he'd accumulated from reading the manga (and in fact my friend didn't fully understand everything himself either cos he hasn't read all the manga). My own view on this is that an anime should be made to be self contained, I shouldn't have to go digging for the manga in order to understand what is going on.
The presentation of "Akira" was supposedly amazing at the time. But if it was, it hasn't aged particularly gracefully, though it hasn't done too badly either. Some of the background scenery still looks great, but the characters themselves look kind of wobbly.
Even though I didn't find the music particularly to my taste, I appreciate the fact that it tries to do something different. The chant heavy soundtrack used often had a primitive and alien feel to it. In the context of the anime, it worked quite well in a weird way and didn't sound out of place. Unforunately the same cannot be said for the voices, which sounded rather horrific on the dub, with the sub sounding a little but not much better.
Other than Tetsuo's character, which was quite well done, I found the rest of the character to be a little wooden, which probably affected my enjoyment of this anime a bit. And as you probably will have guessed by now, I'm not too impressed regarding the grand, complicated plot underneath that's nigh on impossible to follow unless you've read the manga.
If you like those philosophical kind of anime, you'll probably enjoy "Akira". I can't deny that it's an interesting watch, but for me, that's about as far as it goes. read more
Nov 19, 2007
One thing that is sure to turn many viewers away, and that should be mentioned, is that this anime is rated as it is for a reason. If language, graphic violence, protrayl of drug use, and sexual stitautions bother you, then stay away. There is an attempted rape scene that I find to be difficult to sit through. The world in which this movie occurs is a very corrupt one on all fronts: morally, socially, politically, psychologically, and physically. It is very dark at points as such. However, they do not go over the top to make you terribly uncomfortable, I feel. The aim, while it does want to shock you, is not specifically geared towards grossing you out. Yes, it looks at the darker vices dwelling in human nature, but it's not as in your face about it as, say, Elfen Lied. Everything unsettling about the movie is all meant to enhance and make more real the world in which it occurs, it does not go beyond that. I'm not sure how best to explain it, but let me put it this way, Elfen Lied did not sit well with me and I didn't like it, but for some reason, Akira, while also full of violence and sinister themes, I enjoyed. The evil undertones of the Akira world make it seem real and less repulsive, if that makes any sense.
Another thing that can turn people off is the art style. Personally, I very much like the art style, but I will admit that the first time I encountered it, I was a bit reluctant to keep watching. It's very unique and the aim of the film isn't to make really pretty characters to look at but realistic ones. The buildings and vehicles of the film seem to have a life of their own and were awarded just as much thought and attention to design as the characters. For this reason, Kaneda's motorcycle, the coolest design of one I've ever seen, I consider to be a favorite character of mine; yes, character. The bike is so full of personality that it deserves character status.
While I would argue that the film does have some amusing moments, it is not at all light-hearted. Plus, said amusing moments are mainly amusing to me because I get a kick out of sarcastic, satirical humor. So, you humor lovers won't get much out of this one. It's also not for you romance people. Romance, while present, is not one of the main drives of the film and is almost tacked in as a short of after thought. This one is mainly for those of you out there who like to think about things or watch something and ask "What....the....". If you like Stephen King novels, then I'd wager that you'd like this, even though it's not strickly horror. That is just an opinion of mine. I am a Stephen King fan and if you think about it, Akira has an attitude akin to one of his books. If I'm wrong on that though, sorry.
The major themes of the film seem to be the nature of friendship and betrayl and how far man can truly force his evolution and pursuit of progress before it overtakes him and leads to a regression. Basically, it's about limits and knowing where they lie.
I forewarn you now that the one big downside of the film is that many, many things go unaswered and unaddressed. This is likely because the film attempted to condense a manga of monsterous proportions into a single movie. As a result, the two are very different. In fact, while Akira the manga actually deals mainly with a boy named Akira, Akira the movie awards the same boy I think a total of a minute of screen time. It might be even less. I'm including dialogue spoken by him as well as the images shown of him. The movie is really more about Testuo, an underappreciated social outcast and weakling gone berserk, and Kaneda, a street smart but book ignorant punk who's head of a street gang. The relationship between the two and polarity of their characters makes their interactions highly entertaing to watch.
All in all, I would recommend this movie. You should try it out if only to say you've seen it. read more
Jan 30, 2010
Caution there might be a few spoilers contained in this review.
The movie starts off with a large mysterious explosion which destroys Tokyo, the movie then begins 31 years later in Neo Tokyo. Akira for the first 20 minutes or so follows a punk high school bike gang and takes you through a bit of their daily routine so you can build a relationship and relate with their characters. Right off the bat you're introduced to 2 of the main characters in the movie, Tetsuo and kaneda. Kaneda is the leader of the bike gang and is more or less what you would expect from a lead anime character he has a big heart never gives up. As far as Tetsuo goes he is portrayed as a weaker character that is often taken care of by Kaneda. Following a clash with a rival bike gang the tone of the movie changes, as an unknown kid is introduced to the plot the movie switches from punk bike gangs to a more complex story about mysterious abilities, government experiments and cover-ups.The movie uses alot of references about the war and bombing of Hiroshima, if you follow along closely you will see there references used such as when Testua blew up and created that nuclear explosion, well the same area in which that took place is when Hiroshima was bombed from the americans. Although it doesn't have a direct story telling of the bombing, there is references used that point to a post apocalyptic setting and the history of war and military power.
Directly following this Kaneda and the rest of his gang are dragged off to jail while the unknown kid and Tetsuo are taken by the government. The action in Akira is very well paced at no point do you feel overwhelmed with continuous fight scenes or long drawn out scenes of talking either. From art direction to music this movie is a masterpiece especially when you factor in when it was made. It is a very violent and dark movie well in it's right though as the violent and dark overtones are needed to portray the story properly, this is not a Disney movie and to spite the art style is not really a movie for children simply because besides the violence there is no way a child would be able to follow the plot, nor would they be appropriate for a child.
I think it is important to point out that while I enjoyed the movie a lot there are some things that had a few issues with nothing big enough for you not to watch the movie but that should be mentioned non the less to make this review as thorough as possible. The first of which is the story, while it is complex and you get a pretty good understanding of what's going on I felt that it could have delved deeper into the history of Akira and some of the other characters. At times it seemed like they were trying to compress something much larger into a 2 hour and 5 minute movie. How ever, if you read the manga, the original story is far greater. So i really recommend you check out the manga if you want to see how the entire story is portrayed. It is much longer. Its a shame that a movie was cut so short.
Akira is one of the best anime movies I have seen in all my years of watching anime. It is in all respects a classic that should be seen by people interested in or thinking of getting into anime or who's already an anime fan but haven't seen it yet. If you like action or complex stories then you will enjoy Akira, it's a solid mixture of both never giving too much of one and too little of the other and while you probably won't fully understand the story from the movie or relate with some of the characters it's a minor spot on a beautiful work of art. But you should definitely check out the manga as thats the original story and where the movie took place from. The manga is fleshed out alot more and dives deeper into Japanese modern history, the war and the characters.
I hope this review helps clear up the argument or debating on if this movie is a movie worth checking out! In all honestly i can say you probably won't be disappointing! read more
Dec 26, 2010
It's the future in Tokyo, or Neo-Tokyo, and everything has gone to Hell. The streets are a warzone between gangs, the government, and everyone else. In between all of this are a number of children with psychic powers that enable them to do pretty much whatever they want. One of these children is a teenager from a biker gang named Tetsuo. He and his friend Kaneda get caught up in the government's attempt to . . .
I'm sorry, I'm giving this plot way too much credit. Do you want to know what I recall this movie being about? It's a series of one senseless act of violence after another. Sure, there are scenes of expository dialog, and an important flashback, but this is pretty much the entire movie right here: someone gets the crap beaten out of them. Someone else gets shot. Someone else gets exploded. Someone else gets the crap beaten out of them. Throw in nonsensical psychic powers, among even more people dying whether they deserve it or not, throw in one of the worst endings in cinematic history, roll credits. The film does not even bother to explain most of the things that happen. It's pretty much like all those mindless action flicks that plagued Hollywood in the 1980s, except animated. Then again, Akira was made in 1988, so I guess it was just following the leader in this regard. 3/10.
Akira is famous for its fluid animation. Indeed, it is the oldest anime I've seen that has motion as fluid as what you would expect from an American animated film. As gruesome as the violence is, it is well-crafted. So why then does this only get a 6? Two problems. One, the coloring. I know, this is a bit unfair, seeing as how Akira is a pre-digital anime, but the coloring is drab for the most part. At times, it is fitting of its dystopian setting, but other times, it's just, well, drab. And two, this film has some of the most bland character designs I have ever seen in a theatrical animated film. It's like the filmmakers weren't even trying in this aspect. This and the coloring bogs down my score, but at least there's no choppiness in the animation. 6/10.
The sound is alright. The soundtrack is eccentric, but works. The sound effects do their job. The ending credits song is lame retro 80s synth fluff, but it could've been worse.
I got to see parts of Akira in both Japanese and the English dub by Geneon. The Japanese dub is superb. Unlike most anime, Akira's Japanese dialog was recorded before the animation work was completed, much like an American animation. Unfortunately, because of this, foreign language dubs look off compared to the original. Now, dub purists are probably thinking, "But . . . but . . . Johnny Yong Bosch! Wendee Lee! Joshua Seth!" Yes, I love them too, but honestly, if for whatever morbid reason you do decide to watch Akira, you're better off seeing it in Japanese with the subtitles on. 7/10.
Characterization? What characterization? This, along with the threadbare plot, is what killed Akira for me. Who are these characters? Why are they doing the things they are doing? Why should I care for them? Only one character gets any such development, and that's Tetsuo. We learn his motivation and his desire to strike back at the world, and why he and Kaneda are conflicted with fighting each other at the end, but that is it. Seriously, that's all the characterization you get in this film. When a character dies, you don't care for them, because you know nothing about them. The characters whose names I even remember are Kaneda, Tetsuo, and Akira, and that's only because the first two keep shouting each other's name, and the last has his name in the title. Like, for example, who was that girl Kaneda kept hitting on? The one that, thanks to the lackluster character designs, looks like a boy? What was her purpose in all of this? What about all those government guys? The rival biker gang? The other children with psychic powers? And why does Akira do what he does in the ending? None of this is either elaborated, or done in a way to make me care as an audience member. 2/10.
Enjoyment: If all you want to see are brutal, pointless acts of violence, then you're in luck, because that's exactly what Akira delivers, in spades. If you want more than that, you're going to be sorely disappointed. I know this is a compressed adaptation of a manga, and the manga is supposedly better, (I don't know, I haven't read the manga version of Akira) but couldn't Otomo have made the anime at least stand on its own for those who haven't read the manga? As it is, it is a confusing mess, chock to the brim with sensationalized violence. Now, mind you, I don't mind seeing mature content in my entertainment. What I do mind is seeing "mature" content used only as a means to shock and awe the audience. That's all Akira does, and somehow, it managed to delude a large number of anime fans into thinking it was "deep" and "meaningful", when all it really is is a crappy 80s action flick that dissolves into nothing by the end. That's about as much sense as I can make out of the ending anyways. 3/10.
Now before any of you say "You just hate Akira because you didn't see it back when it first came out!", I want to point out that that is a moot point to make. My favorite film by Hayao Miyazaki, Castle in the Sky, predates Akira by two years, and is a much, much, MUCH more enjoyable film than this. And also, Katsuhiro Otomo would go on to make the film Steamboy, which, unlike Akira, actually has a proper plot, characters worth giving a damn about, really nice coloring, and slightly less bland character art. So really, there's no point in seeing Akira anymore, except to laugh at it, because as far as I'm concerned, the anime version of Akira is nothing more than a joke. read more
Feb 28, 2011
That said, I still think that Akira is largely a hodge-podge of crap.
The first few moments of Akira are breathtaking. We take in the lights, the sights and sounds of neo-Tokyo, a hauntingly familiar yet eerily distant dilapidated, frustrated city, rife with neon lights, traffic noise, and trash.
Sadly, it's all downhill from there.
See, Akira is a trilogy of 6 hours or so wrapped up in a 2 hour film. It introduces new characters, violence, and important plot devices faster than the motorbikes the characters blaze down the highway with. For a lot of people, this rushed pace, combined with the "weirdness" factor is going to be a turnoff. It is actually rather surprising to me that this anime is as popular and mainstream as it is, because I do not consider it very accessible at all.
The terrible pacing, sadly, becomes a bit of a snowball affect, or feedback loop. The more that is introduced the viewer, the more that needs to be introduced to try to clear up the former, but it doesn't really work out and now you're left with all kinds of new ideas that all feel horribly underutilized or misused. It doesn't help that the dialogue feels a bit like 80s Dragon Ball Z; lots and lots of yelling, little substance or insight into the characters or plot. Banal might be the word to use.
On that note, the central love story of sorts that is introduced halfway through the film is developed so fast, you might not even know it exists until you sit back and think about it for a bit, only to realize it was way too sloppy and feels forced. The characters never had much experience together, but before you know it, their trying desperately to save one another at their own peril.
To be fair, the original manga is a large scale work, but that doesn't eliminate all the blame for this mess.
Problem is, because there are so many characters and loose ends regarding them, it's hard to feel attachment, or even repulsion towards any of the characters. It feels sort of like they are all running like a chicken with their heads cut off, if I can use that term. Kaneda is not a compelling protagonist, and his rivalry with Tetsuo and his rise to power is suitably mishandled and tough to swallow. And the bottom line is, most of these characters are stock stereotypes. Kaneda is a bit of a womanizing gang leader. Tetsuo is... well, we don't really know what he is, but it's apparently enough for him to threaten every living thing on the planet. And yell a lot at Kaneda and everyone else.
A lot of people seem to like the soundtrack and sounds of Akira. While I admit the roaring motorbikes and city noises are great, the music seems inadequate. It peaks at all the wrong times, trying to drum up drama when there is little to go on. Perhaps part of it has been lost in translation over the years and it was more effective in the 80s. I myself am not convinced.
It's all too bad, because their are interesting ideas here; themes of fear of technology, class struggle, and more, but once again, they're rarely actually explored; merely hinted at by the film. We're not ever told why it's relevant or why we should sympathize or feel antagonistic at any of them, besides the shock use of violence. When you throw in the psychic powers and government conspiracy and the like, the whole thing just feels bloated without having real substance. It's a film lacking exposition; the aged psychic children, and powers, Akira, it's all barebones and too little to go on. Relevancy is never established.
I can't leave without saying that the violence is over the top, and not in a cool, stylized way. It more borders on ridiculous. But maybe that's fitting in a film as ridiculous as this. For me? I'll try to find something more thought out and compelling. read more
Apr 7, 2010
Full list of the review series can be found on this page, 3rd post from bottom:
Amongst the most classic anime titles of all times, Akira has passed in history as the best otaku advertisement of the early 90’s. Based on a manga, the movie portrays how damaging the psychological angst of a teenager can get, if unleashed through psionic enhancing.
ART SECTION: 9/10 (8 in the manga; it was black and white)
Analysis: General Artwork 2/2, Character Figures 1/2, Backgrounds 2/2, Animation 2/2, Visual Effects 2/2
When Akira was produced, it was the most expensive anime movie ever made, as of yet. And it worth its money as the graphics had more details than you could count. The animation was the most realistic experience for over a decade, as even the slightest thing was moving on its own. Ok, that feeling wore off after Miyazaki’s films came to be and women look like men; but they still beat most graphics of modern series. And those mutation and gore scenes will scar you no matter how many years pass.
SOUND SECTION: 8/10 (duh, the manga only had written words for sounds)
Analysis: Voice Acting 2/3, Music Themes 3/4, Sound Effects 3/3
Eerie drums and hymns that make your hair lift up. Reaaaly spooky stuff. It boosts the atmosphere sky-high. Not your average cheery, squeaky voiced J-pop.
Voice acting and sound effects were superb in terms of passion; although the context of the dialogues was usually screaming one another’s names for 10 times in a row, which was kinda silly.
CHARACTER SECTION: 7/10 (9 in the manga)
Analysis: Presence 2/2, Personality 1/2, Backdrop 1/2, Development 1/2, Catharsis 2/2
Two prevailing characters, Tetsuo and Kaneda, orphans that grew up together in a world gone crazy. Although having the same background, Kaneda feels only like an edgy, teenage delinquent. He is the leader type that makes others like him and follow him and kicks ass when somebody questions his ego.
But Tetsuo, wow, the guy is one, big, crazy, son of a … His weak presence early in the film is quickly replaced by an insane megalomaniac, out to get even with the world that was hurting him all his life. He hardly knows whom to blame first; his researchers, his best friend or even his own self. And makes A LOT of damage because of it. Down inside, he is just a normal kid that never got the affection it needed to feel secure and now everyone will pay the price! A cult figure, for a good reason.
I prefer this kind of problematic characters to those lame heavy-dudes of today. Most recent series with teenagers with issues don’t go further than shoveling us a silent-type guy whose woman was kidnapped or village was destroyed and now got ultra powerful and fights evil. Bleah! But being a movie all development feels rushed and kinda ruins your appreciation about the whole deal.
Although there are over 20 other secondary characters in the movie (3 times as much, in the manga!), none of them get the airtime they required to let their personality shine properly. The stuck-up military guy that wants to protect the status quo, the curious scientist that challenges the powers of the unknown just to see what they can do, the rebel zealots, the scheming politician, the psychic kids, all of them contribute in the story but the theme is not about them.
STORY SECTION: 6/10 (9 in the manga)
Analysis: General Scenario 2/2, Pacing 1/2, Side Stories/Extra Spices 1/2, Plausibility 1/2, Conclusion 1/2
The theme is the rotten society and the psychological damage it does that causes its own youth to rebel and bring upon its own downfall. Yes, it’s a typical theme nowadays and there are a hundred series with a similar premise.
Amoral scientists experiment on little children, in order to harness their psychic powers. Searching in the dark for something they have no idea about, a kid named Akira goes amok, destroys Tokyo and brings about worldwide chaos. The politicians hide their shameful mistake from the public and scientists repeat the same experiment years later on a kid named Tetsuo… and get screwed again.
The story is simple and straightforward (it’s a movie, after all). There were 10 times as many events and a gazillion plot twists in the manga the movie was based on, but here, the story is nothing to praise.
The duration is not enough to let the story unfold smoothly and the conclusion is left open to discussion (this is not a problem in the manga). There are several good ideas in it about evolution, God, the essence of life but need personal thinking to make sense. But it’s more of a movie about the psyche of teenagers, not cool graphics or in-depth scenario.
VALUE SECTION: 10/10 (10 in the manga, as well)
Analysis: Historical Value 3/3, Rewatchability 3/3, Memorability 4/4
“Oh, it’s old! Oh, it doesn’t have emo characters! Oh! The manga was better!”
These are some excuses I have heard over the years of why Akira is not supposed to be high on value. Let’s make this clear: If Akira wasn’t filmed, several tens of millions of people would still be saying: “Anime? What’s that?”. Its film projection in America convinced several simpletons that anime are not just for kids and allowed many otakus to finally admit in public that they like them without being ridiculed. And I know that such a fact is insignificant now that anime are well known. But it doesn’t change the fact that without it, most of you reading my review would STILL CONSIDER ROAD RUNNER TO BE THE BEST ANIMATED SERIES EVER! So pay your respects instead of acting like spoiled brats.
As for replay value, I have personally watched it 6 times in 7 years and will probably watch it many times more.
ENJOYMENT SECTION: 8/10 (9 in the manga)
Was it fun to watch? No, it wasn’t! It’s a very disturbing movie, out to give you nightmares and insecurity about the future. And know what? Good for it! Do you think watching Son Goku beating the bad guys and resurrecting all the good guys with the Dragon Balls is entertaining because it’s cool and cheery? No, it isn’t! It’s pathetic! The movie tries to give a moral meaning that goes beyond the phrase “get strong, defeat evil and everything will miraculously be solved”. It fails to do so in the most part but at least, it tries to be more than a brainless Hollywood action film.
Well, it didn’t take much consideration. The accused is found … NOT GUILTY! … All charges were just slander and are dropped. The accused is free to go. We hope for more of you to be out there.
The cult title Tetsuo Iron Man
All the following titles are inferior to Akira but have partial similarities.
These titles involve psychics, secret human experiments and a lot of splatter scenes.
Akai Kiba Blue Sonnet
Choujin Densetsu Urotsukidouji
The same guy who made Akira also made this title. It also became the most expensive anime movie of its time. But story and characters suck!
Steam boy. read more
Apr 22, 2008
In a nutshell:
made it possible for you and I to watch anime
Not only for its time, but even still today, its suspense, paranormal structure, and plot are highly regarded.
In all fairness, it really does deserve a 10 read more
Feb 8, 2008
Before we start...I finished watching this anime...about 30 minutes ago, still fresh in my memory.
Akira has a big reputation as you probabaly know if your reading this. OMGZ THE BEST ANIME EVAH!! No it's not...don't get too excited...If your not thinking that...and you think it's just an anime, with some amazing art work, great story line, unique characters and one of the best anime ever...then continue reading :) I reccommend EVERYONE watches this atleast once.
The story line was well designed, at the beginning I thought it was quite confusing, it seemed to be going off in different story lines by different characters, later on you see where this all meets up and how everything fits into place, I would not for one second think they didn't try hard to make this story well structured, because if one thing if for sure, it's that Akira is a very well structured anime.
The animation work put into Akira seemed very detailed to me, the scenary, and everything that happened looked very well designed and drawn. The animation was smooth and very beutiful. The gore wasn't quite so beautiful but well drawn regardless.
The sound was a good addition towards adding feeling to the anime although times where sound was muted? I didn't quite understand this...I actually thought I had a fault copy of the movie lol...but I guess maybe it was towards how the character felt...maybe I misunderstood, besides this the sound went well.
The characters in this anime we're possible to connect to, It was quite realistic in terms of some troubles character's had it wasn't a difficult task to put myself in the situation to understand the characters actions.
The ending of this anime was slightly confusing i'm a little lost but it was cool anyway. I think I would have to watch this again to fully fill in some gaps for things I may have understood. Great anime, recommended to anyone except people sensitive to watching violence, some people may think this is sick, i did not. read more
Nov 4, 2007
The animation is very good for when the anime is from and even now, watching it makes it feel better because it does have older, rougher animation, giving the feeling of the anime an even more dangerous and unfamiliar one.
The music is very good and also goes extremely well with the movie and the voice actors are excellent in English and Japanese. read more
Aug 6, 2009
Start out with cool biker gang and leader on cool bike. But wait a minute .... who's that other biker gang coming to harass them. Just some random gang for action?! Important to the plot? Why heck no. Not in this movie. In fact, this biker gang that for some reason choose to dress like the Jokers from Batman Beyond come in and mess with our heroes and are never seen from again.
However in all this a strange boy walks out into the street. And he appears old. Real old. Heck maybe it will be explained later. Seems important to the plot to have a kid, who is like fifty walk out onto the middle of the street. And there are cops surrounding the kid. Uh oh, story is picking up. Ain't it.
Tetsowo (whatever) crashes and Kanda and the rest of his gang go to jail or back to school pen for juvenile delinquents while Tetsowo goes to a hospital.
Kanada sees a pretty girl .... that looks like a boy and springs her and his friends out of jail or wherever they were, by causing a riot. Pretty clever our hero. He tries to hit on her but she will have none of it. In fact, it turns out she works for some kind of resistance. A resistance, oh boy where is this going?
So to sum up, we have an old looking kid that the government is interested in. A rebellious biker gang, two in fact and one has a cool looking bike the other dresses up like clowns. and A resistance! 0.0 A resistance a against what? It's so secret not even the audience knows. I think they want to bring down the government. From how this movie played out you'll never know it.
But Kanada's got that nice tough guy image who won't rat out this do nothing resistance, so they let him go.
Meanwhile Tetsowo leaves the hospital. He just walks out. But not before the army just ran some test on him to see if he was psychic? Why they do that? Just because?
Well Tetsowo goes to see his old girlfriend but a couple of nameless bad@$$ street punks see him and because he's weak and a punk, he gets his butt whooped and she almost gets raped. Thank goodness, Kanada is there in just the nick of time.
Oh yeah, Tetsowo is doing drugs because his guts just open up and spill out onto the sidewalk. As he realize it's all an illusion. The army comes and takes the druged Tetsowo away leaving behind his friends, important to the plot, they die by Tetsowo hands er mind ... gee I hope I didn't let loose any spoilers making it Kanada's job to go out and kill him.
So now Tetsowo is in another hospital and freaky stuff starts happening to him. More drugs, yes! but more old kids!! Is the cause of these weird events, and not drugs. Drugs given to him by the military of Japan to keep his powers in check, so it's okay that he's doing drugs. Oh did I mention that one of the old kids is the kid he crashed into 0.0 This kid who ran away at the beginning now seems content to live at the army base. WHY?? Maybe that old little psychic girl decided to give him some. She seems quite chummy with that fat old kid psychic one. I think he ran away because he wasn't feeling the love in the group. It's up to your imagination of why he ran away in the first place and got hit by Tetsowo.
Meanwhile the leader of this army and a scientist is going over the data about Akira and how Tetsowo matches. They comment on how strong Tetsowo should be compared to Akira. All in the present tense. Mind you. Which will become important and will seem very odd later on.
The leader of the army wants to know whats the best way to control Tetsowo for the good of Japan. And there's a few bits of him talking to show you that he isn't out for power but rather to protect japan.
Back at the hospital, Tetsowo has gotten rough with the three old kids and through this shake down of old child-like little people, he learns that he has psychic powers. And again he walks out of the hospital but this time he kills a number of people just because he can.
Uh oh he is enjoying it.
He goes back to the bar and kills everybody. Including his former biker gang. Wait! I forgot to mention the bar at the beginning. No wait, the bar was only seen for about a minute and it didn't have Kanada or Tetsowo in it, just random people who where going to die 30 mins later in it. Yep, I was right to leave it out.
Completely not important to the plot. Like a lot of things in this movie.
side note: The biker gang at the beginning is the clown biker gang. We finally find that out. Now that the story is almost complete.
From the shake down, Tetsowo learns about Akira. I forget either from the old kids or the army leader he learns about this guy named Akira and he sets out to free him. Of course, a bunch tanks get in the way. No problem for the newly powerful Tetsowo. The army doesn't want him to awaken Akira, but he's going to do it anyway. He's such a bad boy. ;)
After tearing up half the city, Tetsowo finally gets to Akira, only to learn that he's dead. Wait what?!
So the army built a vault and sent tanks and missiles after Tetsowo to keep him from waking up .... a dead kid. A brain in a jar no less.
Okay at this point, I'm really pissed off.
Kanada hot boy looking girlfriend gets possed by this guru and she talks about a bacteria with the power of a human to help explain Tetsowo to the audience and to a revengeful Kanada.
Not only does this boy looking girl gets posed but she also through her contacts with this useless resistance is able to get Kanada a laser rifle.
It's laser time kiddies.
Kanada tries to avenge his fallen comrades with laser action and the Army leader tries to shoot Tetsowo with a laser cannon orbiting in space. Wait? Why didn't he do that at the beginning when those tanks weren't working ... oh well, who cares.
Well both attempts fail and Tetsowo gets more powerful but wait, what's this .... He's turning into a monster. A monster that's eating up all of Tokyo! And he's now crying out for Kanada to save him.
but wait what's this those three old kids have come out of nowhere to save the day.
Kanada gets sucked into the monster and the three old kids go into it to rescue him.
inside the monster known as Tetsowo there is a montage of his early childhood of being bullied and about the kids, who got old and never grew up. At least physically.
I have watched this thing five times. Everybody loves this movie. I keep on watching it thinking, maybe this time I will see the thing everybody else sees or I will finally understand something i didn't see before. I just keep saying to myself why did I waste my 90 minutes on this crap. In reality, the only thing I found is that people invent something that isn't there. I did agree with one person's interpretation of the movie but I still didn't like. It just fails on sooo many levels story wise. read more
Dec 16, 2011
Akira was created in 1988, and is set in Neo-Tokyo after World War III. The city is in ruins and a wasteland for criminal activity. During a gang fight, Kaneda and Tetsuo encounter strange men from the government, and Tetsuo is kidnapped and used as an experiment, ultimately gaining massive telekinetic powers. Kaneda fights to regain his close friend, while the government fights to secure him. Tetsuo uses his newfound powers to prove to everyone that he is no longer weak, which results in an all-scale battle. The story is quite exciting, and the suspense is fantastic. You get a sense of grit and roughness, which in itself makes the story more real. Combined with superpowers and a future setting, the result is a wonderful experince.
For the time it was created...you know what scratch that. It doesn't matter what age this was made. The art for Akira can stand up to some of today's best animation, let alone the 80s.Being able to read their lips was a new experience for me, and personally blew my mind. Also, the design of the city is amazing and truly innovative. Aside from that, there are several scenes that show just how phenominal the art is (remember the "blob" scene).
The soundtrack, sadly, didn't stick. In fact, when there wasn't any sound, I found myself even more terrified and on the edge. This worked in a sense, but I would've liked to hear more music. As a musician, I prefer a soundtrack that drives the movie.
The characters are only a handful, but surprisingly realistic. They all have the attitude you would expect them to have in a failing world. However, even through all the chaos, they still show signs of being human, which is truly notable.
Akira was overall enjoyable, but there are some parts that are overly disturbing (again, the "blob" scene), and this at one point made it hard to watch. I would recommend this only to people who can handle very graphic violence. If you can handle it, I don't know why you haven't seen it, honestly. This is, for me, the horror anime that made horror anime what it is today, and must be watched. read more
Aug 30, 2008
When people say "arguably the greatest film of all time", I'll be first in line to be on the arguing side. The two main characters of the story are both whiney and lame. The ending was creepy and gross, and if this anime weren't drawn so damn beautifully then I would bet lots of money that it would lose a substantial portion of its fanbase.
It was the very first full length anime movie I ever saw. I was in my early teens, and luckily for whoever enjoys reading my reviews I was born with that "there's gotta be better than this" kinda curiosity and gave other animes a chance. Next film was Ninja Scroll, much better, much more entertaining.
So yeah, Akira... summed up in a gesture... I give it an apathetic shoulder shrug any day of the week. read more
Apr 14, 2010
I first saw akira when I was 14 I think. Got the lend of it off a guy in my class. He and his mates were hyping this film up to me, and I figured I’d give it a shot myself. My first impressions weren’t that great. While the art was good, it was the story, characters and pacing that let me down. Why were there little old man children, what was the point of him turning into a giant blob, these thing I just didn’t understand.
A few years later and few years more mature I gave it another go. Able to better get what was going on and having since watched a lot more anime, my opinion of it did improve. I still dont understand what the hype was and id say the movie was average at best.
Story (im gonna be kinda vague here so as not to spoil)
From what I can remember (its been a while) it starts off following a biker gang through neo Tokyo as they get up to the sort of stuff you expect from a teenage biker gang, riding around, fighting rival gangs that sort of thing. They run into the military chasing a boy who looks like hes really old. One of the group (tetsou) gets taken away by the military. When he awakes he has telekinetic powers. He escapes the facility hes in and his power begins to go to his head corrupting him as he was portrayed as a rather weak character before who envied the bike gang leader for being stronger and sticking up for him. Then its up to the protagonist/ bike gang leader to try and stop his friend from destroying the world. Also the character Akira eventually helps (theres a bit of mystery around him, hes kinda like jesus).
Didn’t care for any of them. I know tetsou had to be weak and whiny so that later he can be powerful and arrogant but this led me to just not care about what happened to him. The main character was a stereotypical anime lead. Everyone else barely get any development. Generally that’s the problem with the characters, any depth to them is not provided by in the movie.
The art was good and there were a few memorable pieces of music. The film suffers in that it doesn’t provide enough depth, because of this I didn’t feel attached to any of the characters and spent a good portion of the movie wondering when Akira would actually show up.
While I may have only really said bad things about this film I still recommend people watch it as it is an anime that everyone will eventually come across at some stage and it is still worth having an opinion on it because of this. Whether that opinion is good or bad. I’ve known people with no interest in anime at all and yet they’ve heard of Akira. read more
Apr 20, 2012
Story 3/10: Okay, read these lines out loud "KANEDA! TETSUO! *RATATAT!* *BOOM!**GRAHALGRAHAL!!*" congratulations, you have just recited the whole plot of Akira that you will be able to understand. Yes there's more then just that but it makes absolutely no sense. You will always here from people "read the manga" but that's the problem, you shouldn't have to read the manga to understand the plot of the anime, that be like saying you have to read the comics to understand the plot of The Dark Knight.
Art 10/10: This is Akira's true saving grace, it's ungodly good animation. Most anime features stiff characters that stand perfectly still for a majority of the time with nothing but their mouths moving into only a single position so it looks like the only thing they're saying is "ah ah ah ah ah" and it still somehow manages to look choppy. Akira on the other hand has constant movements from characters who actually move in a somewhat more relaxed and realistic manner, and they even have slight movements with dialogue and lip syncing, LIP SYNCING! And on top of it that animation is so smooth you will be in awe, I don't know how many frames per second Akira has but you will never find any anime that moves this smoothly (and this movie was made in 1988)
Sound 5/10: First on music, the music in Akira was fine, nothing wrong with it what so ever, but it's forgettable. Most people will never remember a single song from Akira or feel compelled to listen to it again. Now as for the voice acting, first a little info, there are two dubs, one made back in 1989 (streamline) and another in 2001 (pioneer,) and there is constant debate among the Akira fanbase as to which one is good and bad, the truth is they're both bad. The streamline has the right emotions displayed and the actors can actually scream in pain and such when the script calls for it, but the characters in Akira are a bunch of 15-18 year old punks while the cast sound like they're all 40 year old greasers from the 50's, while the other dub had more suitable voices but the acting was half-assed, so you have a choice between bad acting or distracting out of place voices (I haven't seen the sub so I can't really talk about that)
Character 6/10: The characters are kind of a love hate thing with me. For one I liked the major characters personalities, Tetsuo's punk "kiss my ass" nature (later turned psychotic power hungry mega being badass,) Kaneda's cocky, fun-loving, "I just don't give a fuck" attitude, and most of the bikers. Most of the other characters though were just horrible, from that resistance fighter with the mustache (pick which one) to the girl who looks like she's Kaneda's clone. Which raises the other issue, the character designs, every character looks like every other character from that group, Kaneda looks like Tetsuo with combed hair, the girl Kaneda meets looks so much like him he's practically moving around with a mirror, all the resistance fighter guys have trench coats and pencil mustaches and there's no way to tell any of them apart.
Enjoyment 6/10: Okay, Akira had a confusing as all hell plot and lacking character designs, but still the animation is wonderful and that does help make the action scene brain melting. You will enjoy the hell out of the biker gang fights, the shootouts, the mutation scene near the end, and even some of the dialogue because of the movements and lip syncing (LIP SYNCING! The lips actually move to accommodation the word being said!!! I still can't get over this!) is enjoyable. So yes although a lot of the time you're just gonna be saying "get on with it!" there will be many enjoyable moments.
Overall 6/10: Akira is essentially the Citizen Kane of anime, what could possibly be called the single most important movie in anime, and it has truly set the bar from animation quality (a bar that no other anime has come anywhere close to.) But ultimately this film is the most over-rated anime there is, yet it's one of the most important to anime, I'd say watch it just so you can say you have (maybe you might enjoy it if you did read the manga, who knows.) read more
Dec 30, 2008
Normally, I tend to avoid being bias at any costs but seeing as this is my first review on this site, I'm going to be bias. Why? Akira is my favourite anime movie.
The Story: 9/10
If you've read the manga and watched the movie, you'll understand the differences between the two. I prefer the manga which is why the story didn't get a 10 from me. Don't get me wrong, the movie might be different from the manga but that doesn't take away from it and it's best to view these two as totally different stories involving the same characters.
I love the art style of Akira and most of Otomo's works. There are a few minor points in the art style that I don't care for. For me, his style when drawing women isn't that great. Most people become confused on whether or not Kei is male or female.
How can you not give this soundtrack a perfect score? It's completely fresh and it stepped far away from people back in 1988 were use to hearing. The tracks are long and set the mood for the scene they play in. I would touch more on that but I would have to spoil it in order to express my full enjoyment.
(First dub = Streamline dub - Second dub = Pioneer dub)
I didn't rate this and I'm never going to. Akira has two English dubs that I'm about to touch on. The Streamline dub had bad synchronization between sound and mouth movement during some scenes and it was also bad that when some character's should have been shouting their dialogue, the words were softly spoken. Of course this was 1988 we're talking about so it's expected to be bad (but you can find some humor in the bad voice acting). Kaneda and Tetsuo have better voice actors in the Streamline dub (in my opinion) because they sound more natural to the character as opposed to the Pioneer dub. It should be noted that I watched the Pioneer dub first and prefer the Streamline version. The Pioneer dub fixes a lot of the problems but if you're like me, you'll find one thing very annoying: Joshua Seth. The entire time I was watching the Pioneer version, I just kept thinking about Digimon and how annoying Tai's voice is. I wasn't able to pay as close attention to the movie as I should have during my first time. If you don't want to get into the whole "which Akira dub is better" situation... just watch it subbed. Probably the easiest way to watch it. Another thing to note is that the Pioneer dub has a lot of unnecessary swearing which can get annoying after awhile.
I only give it an 8 because I want to rate it high but at the same time, in comparison to the manga... the characters were under developed. It's a shame that certain characters from the manga weren't included (Chiyoko) and that some had minor roles in comparison to their larger roles in the manga (Lady Miyako and somewhat Joker). Kaneda, Tetsuo, Colonel and Nezu were built up strong but in comparison to the manga, it lacked. (Yes I know I said to view both of them as two different things XD)
Enjoyment / Overall: 10/10
I enjoyed Akira because it fit my more mature views on anime. I admire it because it helped set standards for certain anime of my generation today. I would touch on other things that made it enjoyable but I can't because I don't wish to spoil anything. I'll say this much: I watched the movie first and loved it (especially the climax) and when I read the manga, it helped draw in an emotional connection to the characters and story. I wouldn't recommend this movie to everyone because not everyone will love it but I do suggest taking some time to watch it if you haven't already and see if you like it. read more
Aug 9, 2011
Upon viewing this the first time I was just dazzled by the detail in animation keeping in mind before this most animations I had seen were from the Walt Disney camp. I was especially captured by the background / landscape detail – scenes like when the “kid” Takashi screams and a whole tower block of windows shatter were just mesmerizing.
A slight downside was maybe the character designs were a tad carbon copied but this never really bothered me at all. I just passed it off as the chosen character template.
Again, scenes containing tremendous destructions and everything within the last 30 minutes where just so mentally stimulating to a young 6 yo’s mind it still brings a giant sense of nostalgia every time I re-watch it. I don’t really expect anyone watching this today to be blown away as much as I was but I think it can still be appreciated to some degree
Upon watching this anime the first time I am proud to say it was in its original Japanese language version with English subtitles, since then I have watch 2 different English dubs and of the two I can honestly say the first dub is the more acceptable but the Jap is my preference.
The dialogue in Akira is really nothing spectacular, same goes for voice acting and background music. Actually the only thing I really love about the sound is during the memory sequences near the end of the movie, very nice.
A lot of people make a big deal about how confusing the story is, well I believe Akira on a whole is a story you either want to understand or don’t, in the case you want to understand fully what this is all about you will probably find yourself re-watching this again or reading the manga.
Akira to me is not just one simple story but a story that contains many sub-plots, ideologies, concepts and interactions, but at its core deals with friendship, politics and science.
It’s hard to say how today’s audience would take the story of Akira because upon first viewing it’s a complicated story with many subplots that eventually come together.
So in a nutshell I believe Akira has some great concepts that come together well but may take some patience and concentration to fully digest and enjoy.
I’ve read a lot of reviews where other people claim the worst part of Akira were under developed characters….well I completely disagree. The characters in Akira are predictable-yes because everyone is just playing their role in the story, the teenagers act like teenagers, the scientists act like scientists and the army surprise surprise act like the army would! I mean are you expecting each character to delve into a monologue about how they are feeling or what they are thinking lol akira is long enough without it.
These charters are on an adventure whether they know it or not and I found it entertaining watching them all come together so in my humble opinion there was nothing wrong with any of the characters in akira.
Akira to me is just a dazzling experience of a fictional Neo-Tokyo which was animated wonderfully and given an exception storyline to boot. I have 3 different editions of Akira on DVD so I guess that kind of answers the “did I enjoy it” question.
Well in the past I have recommended Akira to other people with mixed results. In todays anime scene Akira is still rated highly but many people find it confusing and overrated so I think newbie’s to anime may not enjoy Akira but it serves as a good tracing point in the history and development of anime in general.
So bottom line, Akira still has high value to this day but I think it’s a movie more suited for the experienced and not so superficial anime fan.
Btw If you did watch Akira and did enjoy it I would recommend these titles: Neo Tokyo, Memories, Metropolis & Megazone 23.
Planet Tyro Rating: Hall of Fame
planettyro.com read more
Jul 7, 2011
So yes, Akira, right, this is a review. The point I'm trying to make is, the perception people have of something can evolve over time, often beyond its merits. Something's legacy can often grow past it's own shadow, and we remember it as more grandiose when we should.
Akira falls victim to this. Not bad by any means, but something mediocre has since been seen as something "epic", to use a trite word. So why is this? Well let us take a trip back to somewhat glorious 1988. Peepshow, Suffer and Green had all just been released and the world was finally getting an animated film from Japan that wasn't all robots or shenanigans.
Anime fans from all around flocked to their local nickelodeon to see said film, Akira. Their thoughts upon leaving? "Well that was pretty good." By and large, nothing beyond that.
How it grew to the "gold-standard" that it holds today I'll never know. The direction, the art, the voice acting, hell, even the writing, virtually none of these qualities excel to the point of influence. So that's out, but what about pure enjoyment, or simple likability? Well, for "my first anime", sure. But a serious fan of the medium? No sir, not at all.
So where to start? Well, how about our bland framing device also known as the plot? I'd rather not, to be honest. The less I spend talking about this thing the better, but the people must know, and on I press!
Combine the silly gang antics of West Side Story with a touch of over-the-top Mad Max and perhaps a bad episode of the Twilight Zone (Read: All of them) and you have Akira's ridiculous story. (And if these combined elements sound good to you, please finish asphyxiating yourself, as you're obviously halfway through and already brain-dead.) Oh, and a silly, Napoleonic revenge plot. Joy.
Does much more need to be said? It's ineffective, it's silly, and it just tries to tie together the numerous set-pieces scattered throughout the film. It has clearly taken a back seat to some of the other elements in the movie, and that will simply not cut it.
The art, thankfully, fares better, but it still falls under our "mediocre" umbrella that is the true nature of the film. Everything is drawn technically well, but it has no style of it's own. It's very "color by numbers". This is a man, this is a building. It is *not* the artist's own person, or the artist's own building, and that is a rather missed opportunity.
Not to mention every frame of the film has that grainy, low quality tint to it that colored every piece of '80s animation. Not a particular fault of the filmmaker's, but it does detract from latter day enjoyment.
Sadly each character who is animated is there in sight only. We don't feel their presence, nor we perceive them as a representation of a person. They are cartoons, and nothing more.
The lack of personality is simply staggering given the film's (Unearned) legacy. Damsel in distress Kei, McGuffin Akira, blind rage Tetsuo or needless asshole Kaneda. They are all interchangeable with thousands of thousands of characters from other shows.
We watch all of them "do", and none of them "be", and that is a trap plenty of amateur screenwriters fall into.
Voice acting is equally bland, no outstanding performance on either end of the quality spectrum.
So why, we ask, do people love this movie so much? Much like the adoration of Led Zeppelin, it is mob mentality. A few people like it, some silly sheep bah in agreement, and suddenly half the world holds something near-worthless in high esteem. Is it deserving? No, shoot no.
But should you watch it? Ultimately, I'd say yes. It may not be the greatest animated film of all time, nor the worst one, but there is obviously a large grey area here, and it can fall anywhere therein for each viewer. We can all develop our own opinions, but reviews are here as a guiding source, and this reviewer says it's worth taking a look at.
If only to get the legions of sheeple off your back for not having seen it already. read more
Nov 4, 2009