Rated R, 124 Min. I watched the english version.
It’s only been recently that i’ve started to check out some anime. Akira has jumpstarted my interest in anime stories that on the outside look cliche, but really have a mature story to tell that displays a wide array of interesting characters and subplots.
Akira is all about the bleak future. The year is 2019, and Neo-Tokyo is in the shitter. Corruption runs rampant, biker gangs inhabit the dark recesses of the high-rises and religious extremists roam the busy areas of the city trying to warn of “Akira” and the impending doom that comes with it. What is Akira? Why are people so afraid of it?
We follow a lone biker gang with Kaneda and his super fast motorcycle (which has no name) as they struggle through school and try to make sense of the decaying city around them. Tetsuo is Kaneda’s best buddy, but also someone that Kaneda is always looking after. After some heated encounters with other biker gangs and eventually the local government, Tetsuo gets kidnapped and Kaneda attempts to devise a plan to try and get him out.
Little do they know what he has been dragged into, and the film is full of surprises and fantastic plot twists that you don’t ever see coming. This film has a fantastic look that instantly reminded me of Blade Runner and even A.I. The music and voice acting are also top notch as well. This is the sort of film that you want to watch in one sitting. Grab a drink, turn down the lights, and go along for the ride.
Some of the scenes are unlike anything i’ve ever seen before. When Tetsuo is starting to have tests done to him, his sanity slowly breaks, and he gets in contact with other kids that are like him. This is when the film starts coming into its own and shedding the cliche skin that it had been wearing up until that point. The animation really shines here, and this doesn’t look like a film from the late ’80s in the slightest, and it holds up well. I also got the 1080p version, and it looked very crisp! The film really feels alive, its pretty amazing.
This is a mature film, and definitely earns its R rating. It doesn’t hold much back, but never feels gratuitous. That is always a hard thing to do in any film, so I salute Akira for being able to ride that fine line. So what are my complaints here? Well…..I don’t have any. This film is perfect. It doesn’t overstay it’s welcome, tells an amazing story, has fluid, visionary animation, fantastic VO’s, and characters that you can understand and sympathize with. If you are curious about anime, start here. If you haven’t seen this yet, watch it. It’s a beautiful vision of chaos and people willing to do the right thing despite the odds the world they inhabit throws at them.