In July 1988, Tokyo was destroyed in a massive explosion. Thirty-one years later, Neo-Tokyo has emerged from the ashes. Following the massive redevelopment, projects work is starting to dry up, leaving the people struggling to make ends meet. Crime is out of control. Biker gangs fight for turf, destroying anything and anyone that gets in their way.
When Tetsuo comes into contact with a psychic who recently escaped from a secret government laboratory, abilities he never knew existed awaken. The government captures Tetsuo and confines him to the research facility, scared that he possesses the same potential as Akira, the source of the original explosion.
Kaneda will do everything in his power to free his friend, Tetsuo. With the help of a group of resistance fighters, he breaks into the facility, but Tetsuo no longer needs his help, he doesn’t need anyone’s help anymore. Tetsuo is drawn to a secret facility deep beneath the Olympic Park development where he may be able to revive Akira.
Akira is a timeless masterpiece. This movie was released thirty years ago and the animation is still as good as anything else out there. There is a spectacular blend of action and intrigue. The pacing is fantastic and the brilliant soundtrack just adds to the spectacle.
This is a great example of showing versus telling. In the opening scene, we see biker gangs tearing through the streets fighting one another, there is a protest that escalates into a riot, and then there is the resistance fighter guiding the psychic child through Neo-Tokyo. There isn’t any real dialogue in that scene, but you get the sense of everything that’s going on. The first five minutes are worth studying on their own.
There are some parts that are given much more detail in the manga, but then the manga is massive and if they’d made the whole thing into a movie, it would have been three movies at least. I’d definitely watch that, but that goes without saying. Ultimately, this is just a fantastic story that is produced to the highest standards. Love it.
We discussed Akira in the Otaku on Writing podcast. If you want to find out more head on over to http://otakuonwriting.libsyn.com/.