In the year 1988, a nuclear bomb of unknown origin detonated in Tokyo. World War III broke out shortly after, and soon civilization as we knew it made a radical transformation. Thirty-one years later in 2039, a governmental project doing research on a paranormal psychic power known as "Akira" has begun to make a major breakthrough (the project began in 1988, too, if you get my drift). A young delinquent biker is infused with the power, and, well... things get pretty complicated from then on. Needless to say, all of human life lies in the balance as several forces with different agendas race to intercept Tetsuo the biker before he can do...what?
There is a rather substantial community of anime fans who consider Akira to be the greatest anime of all time. People who have never seen anime before will be blown away by the amazing animation and complex (I do mean COMPLEX) storyline found within this extravaganza. Even though this movie is one of the older anime, it easily blows away its contemporaries with astounding special effects and clean, crisp animation. The art is moody, gritty, and unapologetic, probably one of the few anime where none of the main characters would win "Mr. or Miss Congeniality" anytime soon. Wanna see some cute animated characters? Go watch Sailor Moon.
The storyline is very complex. So complex, in fact, that most people don't understand what the heck is going on after the first viewing. Or after the second viewing. Or the third, or fourth. If you're looking for an easy, relaxing escape from having to think so much, you'd better look elsewhere.
The characters are all portrayed realistically with no idealization. Even though most of the characters in this movie are scumbags, I found myself interested in what happened to them because they seemed so...real. Good...bad... it all gets blurred when everyone is after Akira.
Dubbing wasn't terrible, either. The voice talent did a pretty good job sounding natural, although my watching experience was spoiled a bit since the guy who did Kaneda's voice happened to be the same guy who did Leonardo's voice on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles TV series. ("Tetsuo! Come back here! You'll pay for this, Shredder!") Nevertheless, it was one of the better dubs I had seen.
This is considered one of THE anime out there, for good reason, too. If you haven't seen it yet, go see this one for sure. At the least, you can sound informed when all the other anime-fans you know start talking about it (and they will). Technically, it's probably the best anime there is.
I'd give it five if it weren't so dang confusing. The manga, I hear, explains more. — Raphael See
Recommended Audience: There wasn't too much profanity in the dubbed version, which surprised me a bit. There are some pretty violent scenes interspersed throughout the flick, though, and the last third of the movie will no doubt spook little kids. They wouldn't understand it, anyway.
Version(s) Viewed: VHS, English Dub
Review Status: Full (1/1)
Akira © 1988 Katsuhiro Otomo / Akira Committee
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