This time up, our recommendation comes from our buddy BrikHaus over at AwesomelyShitty. He’s recommended the Anime Classic “Akira”. In the ongoing attempt to strengthen my basic anime knowledge, I’m more than happy to check it out.
Click through to read a little more about why he felt it was worthy of recommending, followed by my thoughts on the film!
My questions in bold. Brik′s answers below.
Thanks, Brik! My review is below!
When Tetsuo, a member of a biker gang in post WWIII Neo-Tokyo, encounters a strange, psychically powered child, he finds himself endowed with psionic powers as well. He’s quickly captured by the government and held for observation, however. Kaneda, his best friend, is left to try to free him.
Kaneda joins forces with a group of rebels to attempt to break Tetsuo out of his imprisonment, but it’s too late. Tetsuo’s powers have begun to rapidly manifest themselves, and he’s broken himself out. Government troops pursue him into the heart of the city, as Tetsuo leaves a trail of carnage in his wake. Troops and tanks are no match for his telekinetic prowess, and Tetsuo marches through the city undeterred. He’s after the mysterious Akira, an individual who’s rumored to hold the key to all human power. The only thing standing in his way is his friend Kaneda, and the three espers… the child-like mutants empowered with the same sort of abilities that Tetsuo has.
Right up front, I’ll lead with the fact that Akira is the type of movie that kept me away from Anime for so many years. It’s a fantastical story of a military state, a scientific conspiracy, and a mutating psychic superpowered monster, all rolled into one. It’s set in a “near future” that isn’t too far from our own, with motorcycles, cityscapes, tanks and stadiums, but from there all bets are off. Biker gangs race through the streets beating on people, toxic sludge runs through the sewers, and Tetsuo has hallucinations of giant stuffed animals while under examination by the government’s science team. It’s all very strange and foreign feeling in its sensibilities.
The art is substantially different in its style from what we’re accustomed to in the west. Scenes race by, and everything is very kinetic, but there are times when I felt more attention was paid to the hyper detailed backgrounds than to the characters. Kaneda and his girlfriend look exactly alike. It certainly all is set to a very distinctive, cool soundtrack, though.
“Akira” is very much an adult oriented animated film. It’s hyper violent, and occasionally gory. The themes within are certainly adult as well, with the selfish seeking of power leading to mass destruction serving as a parable for nuclear confrontation. It’s very much an animated action movie, with one battle leading to the next, interspersed with pieces of sci-fi strangeness. It all culminates in one of the most bizarre finales you could wish for, complete with a sprawling, all-engulfing monster, flying psychic children, phantom apparitions, orbital lasers and some cosmic scale events that only add to the confusion.
While I didn’t connect with it entirely, I can see how this movie influenced an entire genre. It is bold and imaginative and violent and strange. I can see how so many people latched on to it. It might not be for everybody, but certainly fans of anime will cherish it.