Akira, Japanese (Animated) movie (1988)

It has been called one of the most influential films of all time. A movie that many feel is responsible for causing Anime to become popular in the Western world. Based on the Manga of the same name that consisted of more than 2000 pages, a lot of people still find this one of the finest anime movies ever created. I am ofcourse talking about the masterpiece called Akira, directed by Katsuhiro Otomo, the man that also created and wrote the manga. So why is this movie so incredible, and still after all these years a classic that has withstood the test of time very, very well? I will get to that question shortly, but let me first start with describing what this movie is about, for those that are not yet familiar with it.

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In the year 1988 a strange psychic event occurs that completely obliterates the city of Tokyo. Soon after, World War Three starts, and Tokyo is rebuild into a new city called Neo Tokyo. The movie itself picks up the story right after these events. It is now the year 2019, and Neo-Tokyo has become a city with wide scale riots and motorcycle gangs that rule the streets. One of these gangs led by the young Kaneda, one night gets into a fight with another gang called the Clowns. During the fight one of Kaneda’s best friends, Tetsuo Shima, nearly runs over a strange boy who is right in the midde of the street. Crashing his motorcycle, Tetsuo is seriously injured and is taken to the hospital. Once there it soon becomes clear that the boy he nearly ran over, was no ordinary boy but someone who possessed strange psychic powers. And it appears that Tetsuo has now somehow also received these powers. Meanwhile Kaneda desperately searches for his friend, while being pursued by secret government forces. However Tetsuo’s powers soon begin to grow out of control, and the event that destroyed Tokyo so many years ago might repeat itself…..

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It had been a very long time since I had last seen this movie, but seeing it appear on Netflix was enough to make me rewatch this film. And it is still every bit as powerful as when I first saw it. The animation for this movie is simply amazing. In every scene there are so many things that are going on in the backgrounds, that you will probably see new ones every time you watch this movie. With so many details presented in each frame, the city of Neo-Tokyo truly feels like it is a character itself.

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And speaking of characters, that is one of the other highlights of this film. The young and somewhat cocky Kaneda, the hero of the movie, is someone that is incredibly hard not to like. He provides most of the comic relief in this film, something that is very much needed as this movie can at times be seriously depressing because of it’s dark themes. Kaneda’s quest to find his friend is at times heartbreaking, especially during the final parts of the movie where he is forced to make some really tough decisions. Tetsuo is a character a lot of people might relate to. A person who has always stood in the shadow of someone else, and now comes into possession of something truly incredible. The powers change him entirely and it comes down to that age old saying: “power corrupts”.

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The story of Akira is very dark, and it certainly is not a movie for everyone. There are some very brutal and graphic scenes throughout the film, and it definitely established at the time that animation certainly was not only for kids anymore. It is amazing that a film that was made almost thirty years ago now is still such an incredibly powerful movie. It’s fantastic animation, thought provoking storyline and dark and tense atmosphere make this an absolute must see for every anime fan out there. Akira is a timeless classic and will still be worth seeing even after another thirty years from now.

I give Akira a 10 out of 10 score.

 

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25 thoughts on “Akira, Japanese (Animated) movie (1988)”

  1. Fantastic write-up! I watched this for film class, and was blown away by the animation style. Loved every detail of Neo-Tokyo. The complexity behind the story is also impressive. This is one of the best, indeed! That’s even if I am still creeped out by Tetsuo’s hallucinations at the hospital, haha.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, yeah I know exactly what scene you are referring to. That was seriously creepy allright. The animation style still has me impressed, even though it dates back so many years. As always thanks for commenting and the kind words: appreciate it 😊

      Liked by 1 person

    1. It was the same for me, I think it has been almost 10 years ago since I had last seen it. Luckily Netflix now has it, and seeing it there just made me want to watch it again 😊 Hope you manage to see it again 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You know, you contribute to my watchlist inflation as much as I do to yours…

    I’ve heard of this – hard not to – but this is my first time reading a review of Akira and you’ve definitely got me interested. No idea when I’ll manage to get around to it but I will…hopefully before I’m six feet under 😀

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  3. Wonderful review! It definitely has piqued my interest as is looks like an amazing film. I am a bit worried by the graphic and brutal descriptions though. I may have to look into it further before giving it a go, lol

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  4. Wow, this is on Netflix for you? We don’t seem to have it in US region.

    This movie comes across as timeless because it has some of the best elements of what anime has produced, even to this day. The other thing that really helps its staying power is that it was confident about its own identity and message, unlike many shows today that try to cash in on specific interests. Fads are transient, but a well crafted story stays with you.

    The story is deep, but also very personal, and the characters do such a good job of making you understand the struggles they go through. A truly fantastic film.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yep I could not believe it either, but it was on Netflix. It’s always nice when browsing through the Netflix list and discovering gems like this one 😊 As I said to Karandi above, I remember when I first saw the movie I did not like it at all. But now I am really seeing this one for what it is: a landmark in anime history and a timeless classic. Off topic: did I see that correctly? Have you changed your avatar? 😀😀

      Liked by 1 person

  5. As much as Akira is influential and important, this is one movie I just didn’t get in to. I genuinely expected to love it because it seemed right up my ally but I don’t think I clicked with any of the characters and I ended up genuinely indifferent to the ending.

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    1. I can remember when I first saw this film, I did not like it very much. Admittedly I was very young , about 11 or 12 years old, and not much into anime yet. The second time I saw it, I was older and enjoyed it a lot more. It was pretty much the same with the original Ghost in the Shell movie. But I do agree, this is a movie that is certainly not to everyone’s tastes. The themes are dark, the violence at times very graphic, and the story is not one of the easiest to follow. Still, I think it is a landmark in anime history. Maybe if you rewatch it yiu might get into it more (hey it happens lol 😂) What I truly like about movies or anime is that everyone experiences it differently, and that is why I love this medium so much 😀. As always I appreciate your comment 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      1. True. I saw Akira when I was just getting into anime as an adult and possibly my opinion now after consuming so many other anime and being a bit older would be quite different. Still, sometimes things just don’t connect with you whether they are good or not.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you 😊 Yeah true, the violence in this movie can at times be unsettling. Because of that I can’t really recommend it fully, as not everyone likes that sort of thing. But it is still an amazing movie and a landmark in anime history. If you do get a chance to see it, I hope you will enjoy it 😊

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  6. The opening to this movie is something i”ll always remember for being so impressive. The explosion that breaks out with everyone running around frantically is really powerful, and with the stranger trying to escape with the little ‘boy’, whilst they aim a spotlight on his every move, shooting him.

    You really do feel for Tetsuo and his friends who go through so much and that heart wrenching scene towards the finale with the mutation.

    It’s graphic but it’s done with such style and I love the hand drawn animation style they had in the 80’s and 90s. Even the little details on the motorcycle and buildings look beautiful.

    Such a wonderful review for a wonderful anime. ☺

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much. It was great to see this movie again after so many years, and it was amazing that it still was so impressive. The animation is absolutely breath taking, and I agree, I also love that hand drawn animation style as well 😊

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  7. I’ve watched this movie twice, and both times it never really… did it for me. I mean it’s a good movie and all, but… didn’t really do it for me. Also the spoiler-esque paragraph below is a factor.

    Well, when the first thing that I remember from the movie is how horrifically disgusting Tetsuo’s change is near the end of the film is… well it’s not a pretty picture. It doesn’t help that I had often allowed myself to imagine what would it be like, for that to actually happen to someone? It’s gruesome.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree that the final scene that you are talking about is definitely gruesome. Akira is one of those movies that certainly doesn’t do it for everyone, I can really see that. The level of violence is one factor, and some of the scenes are absolutely horrifying. Even though I love the film, I can totally respect and see how there also people that don’t like the film. Thank you for your comment 😊

      Liked by 2 people

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