Keywords: , , , , , , , ,
Notables: OTOMO Katsuhiro
Original Concept - Kodansha Manga Award Winner
R1 License - Pioneer (Defunct)
In yet another post-apocalyptic future, a young biker becomes the subject of a bizarre project known only as "Akira," apparently designed to bestow unstoppable pychic powers on youths, intended to be exploited as living weapons. Directed and created by OTOMO Katsuhiro.

[Movie, 1988, 125 min]
OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Watch 9 9 8 8 6 Ggultra2764 [series:219#1552]
Akira was one of the first anime movies I seen in my early days of fandom. Looking back at the movie now compared to what I see nowadays, Akira just seems kind of stale.

Sure the artwork and animation looked quite slick for a 1988 anime series and the setting of a post-apocalyptic future for Tokyo looked giddy for my fanboy side when I was in my early anime viewing days. But, I've seen better depictions of a post-apocalyptic Earth through Hayao Miyazaki's earlier works of Mirai Shounen Konan and Kaze no Tani no Nausicaa. The characters in this movie have cardboard-cutout personalities such as the angry outcast turned villian (Tetsuo) and the anti-hero biker punk trying to save the day (Kaneda). Only the Colonel stood out for me in this movie with a tough, yet sympathetic personality caring for the well being of the psychic children and opposing the methods of the corrupted government.

Another issue with this movie I have would be the graphic violence of the film. The amount of gore in some points of this movie was blatant shock value and would be a big turn-off for me nowadays.

If you have the stomach to handle gratuitous violence, Akira does make for a decent watch if you are a fanboy of sci-fi/ action anime. But if you want better substance with your anime viewing, then this won't be your cup of tea.

Last updated Saturday, May 10 2008. Created Saturday, May 10 2008.
Buy 10 9 8 10 8 8 Anonymous #2808 [series:219#2808]
One of my favorite animes, and I'll never change my dub stance- the original is better. And the idiot who called Streamline "Satan" did the old dub a favor, as Streamline didn't make the dub and they disliked it. The new dub does make more sense, but the old dub isn't impossible to follow. And the new Tetsuo is horrible; he has no emotion. I love how people bash the old dub because Kaneda's VA was Leonardo in the 80s TMNT, as the new Kaneda played Adam Park on Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.

Last updated Tuesday, January 22 2008. Created Tuesday, January 22 2008.
Watch 10 10 8 8 7 Big Fire [series:219#2441]
To be honest, i bought this DVD recently, and fell asleep watching it. But back when this thing first came out, this flick is what started me on the anime path...I like the character development during the movie, but i feel the movie drags during the middle...I still think you should watch it if for the first time, cuz this is one of the movies that got anime going on a grander scale...

Last updated Friday, January 26 2007. Created Friday, January 26 2007.
Buy 10 10 10 10 10 Violet D [series:219#1393]
I would say if you get a chance to buy it. I would say this is another classic I was drawn to when I was at hastings last week. Just the title drew me to it. Akira and had to watch it out of curiosity and also because I was searching for something out of the ordinary to watch. It's storyline and ending result was interesting to watch. My thoughts are it is another example of anime in its purest form. The special effects are amazing and left you with a thought of wow.

Last updated Saturday, February 25 2006. Created Saturday, February 25 2006.
Rent Stretch [series:219#628]
From what I'd heard, Akira was a definite classic which anyone who claims to be an otaku would have to see. I'm surprised by the wildly varying ratings here--lots of "avoids", lots of "buys", but only one "watch" (we're going to have a hell of a time fitting this one into the Best Bets formula!). The quality of the animation immediately caught my eye--a 1988 production, yet still able to compete with films coming out today. I was watching the improved Pioneer dub, and I recognized the voice of Wendy Lee (a.k.a. Faye Valentine). The credits listed Johnny Yong Bosch in one of the top roles--wasn't he the one who did the voice of Vash the Stampede? As for the music, well, twelve hours have passed and I can't remember a line of it (I don't claim to be a music critic!). The story was complex enough to be interesting yet simple enough to follow easily--though towards the end I did find myself wishing the scene I was watching would be the last one. The talk about psychic powers representing "the next stage of human evolution" had me saying "yeah, right" (sarcasm). I don't deny that psychic powers exist, I just doubt they'll be made standard issue anytime soon. The way Tetsuo dealt with the satellite that was causing him trouble was kind of neat. Near the end, I did feel a sort of pity for him, having had an unhappy childhood and all. And facing off against Kaneda, once his only friend, was virtually tragic (it would have helped if the two didn't look so much alike, though!). What happened to Tetsuo at the end just left me scratching my head--how the hell did uncontrolled psychic power turn him into one of these? Some sort of accelerated reverse evolution? Or is this what all of our descendants will look like some day? When it comes to clearly understanding the endings of anime movies and series, my record is pretty poor. All things considered, I think it was the outstanding animation and adequate plot that made this movie worth watching. And, despite the plentiful violence, it wasn't nearly as creepy as I'd expected!

Last updated Saturday, December 11 2004. Created Saturday, December 11 2004.
Buy 10 10 10 10 Otaku_King [series:219#1179]
This ANIME is the ANIME by which all others shall be graded....
now i am also a fan of the fantastic Manga as well as adore anything otomo Katsuhiro has or had anything to do with. but DAMN even Ralph Bakshi says this is one of the greatest anime ever made... the story is so complex that it leaves you questioning the exisistance of humanity, i aliken it to the first time you saw the Matrix .... The Animation... Eons ahead of its time... The Chara design is wonderful, because it gave us a harsh look at reality...and what we were heading towards if we didnt change. AND THE MUSIC holy crap Genioh Yamashirogumi is a GOD...
BTW if your intelligent dont listen to a fool who probably only views anime in its bastardized dubbed form...

Last updated Friday, January 23 2004. Created Friday, January 23 2004.
Watch 9 10 4 6 6 AstroNerdBoy [series:219#436]

Review from English dub on Pioneer DVD as I couldn't get the Japanese DTS audio to play...and it isn't worth trying to obtain a Japanese version...

I'd forgotten I'd seen this until a co-worker let me borrow it. Then I remembered I'd seen this in Japan untranslated and thus didn't know the story. Now I do and to be honest, it isn't all that.

For a movie done in the late 80's, the art and animation just rock and even still beat a lot of modern stuff. But that's where the title ceases to excel. For starters, the character designs are bad. Rei looks like a smegging guy. So do a lot of other girls. When they do look more like girls, they are ugly. But then this isn't the traditional soft and big-eyed anime character most of us love. These people look less anime and more "normal" if that is possible. That's fine, just make the women look like women!

While on the subjects of characters, I didn't care for any of them. The only (shocking) stand-out character was the military Colonel in charge of the Akira project. While a gung-ho military type, he actually cared about the Akira test children and they cared for him. So that was nice. But the so-called "hero" Kaneda was a punk at the start and a punk in the end (though slightly less of one). To be fair, I did feel a little for Tetsuo's "girlfriend" (who's name eludes me) because she cared for him though he didn't care for her.

The story didn't do much for me either. I understand that this is based off of a huge manga series and so I appreciate the fact that compressing a lot of manga into a 2-hour movie means a lot of stuff can be missed. And while some people say to watch this a few times, I just am uninspired to sit through this again. At least with a bizarre title like FLCL, there were things that made me want to watch again, even though it isn't my kind of anime. That said, there's nothing about Akira that makes me want to revisit this dark world other than the hope that maybe this time, the so-called "hero" gets killed. Since that's not going to happen, I'm just uninterested in wasting another 2-hours, especially when there's so much more anime that I haven't seen/reviewed.

Bottom line: Overrated in my opinion. Now I know why I forgot about this when other Japanese stuff I saw in the 80's stuck in my mind. Dark, dreary, poor characters, and a story which frankly annoyed me. Still, the art and animation are great even today.

Last updated Wednesday, March 24 2004. Created Sunday, November 09 2003.

Buy 8 8 8 8 Dunpeal [series:219#946]
When I first watched this movie I think I was sort of traumatized for about a week or so. I had never read any background info on Akira (big mistake), so I had no idea about the amount of graffic violence. Plus, I didn't know what the hell was going on.
I was totaly lost through out the movie.
After the initial shock wore off I read some of the mangas and rewatched the movie about 3 more times. Now I think it's a really good movie.
Take my advise, don't watch Akira until you know the back story. You really can't appreciate the movie if you go into it blind.
Even if you don't get what the movie is trying to get across, the artwork alone is worth watching the movie. It's not the greatest anime, but it still blows the pants off of alot of today's anime. That's not bad considering it's about 18 years old.

Last updated Wednesday, September 03 2003. Created Wednesday, September 03 2003.
Buy 10 10 7 9 7 Marcus [series:219#679]
I give this a "Buy" because you must watch this at least 4 or 5 times to understand it. Many people watch it once and dismiss it as too angsty, violent and confusing. I agree the story could have been better developed, and the second half drags on a bit, but the plot is actually very good. And it makes more sense the more times you watch it, as you begin to see how everybody fits into the big picture.
The visuals are stunning, of course. Even today, very few animated features can match Akira's production values. The violence is graphic, but not exaggerated, and helps paint a disturbingly realistic picture of a society decaying into anarchy. Why else would the government and military want to try something as risky as Project Akira? (Although exactly what they hoped to achieve with this 'power' is not really clear). The characterisation dissapoints some, but is in keeping with the style of the movie. And we do witness some development of the main characters, especially Kanada.
It's not perfect, of course, and certainly doesn't deserve the hype of "Greatest Anime Ever". But it did push the boundaries of anime (at the time), and helped pioneer the rise of the darker 'cyberpunk' genre thru the 90's. So ignore the hype and judge it for what it is, an ambitious but flawed attempt to challenge the status quo. On that level, Akira succeeds.

Last updated Wednesday, December 03 2003. Created Saturday, August 09 2003.
Buy 10 10 8 7 8 Greg Bread [series:219#763]
Akira! Even non-anime fans of heard it, It is a landmark in anime history. The animation was way ahead of its time, Katsuhiro Otomo sent high standards for his creation and achieved it. Anyone whose watched the movie has probably noticed that it reeks with a great effort.
The setting of a post apocalyptic neo tokyo was done well and really sets the mood for things, the animation quality can only be matched by his other work "memories". Although the music was odd and I think they could have made a more fitting score. Watching tetsuo go crazy and cause mass destruction has got to be one of the most entertaining things I've seen. There is better anime around but I believe everyone should watch akira . Its a classic.Some will hate it, some will like it.

Last updated Thursday, June 12 2003. Created Thursday, June 12 2003.
Buy 7 9 4 7 7 kakyuu_prince [series:219#404]
I will be reviewing this movie based solely on story chracters, animation, its qualities not its achievements or what it achieved for anime. The story is too compressed, I've read the first volume of the manga and I can tell already that there is a lot more story then what the movie gave us. The characters are alright, Tetsuo was interesting to me and I wish we had been able to see more development of Kaneda but none of the others were too terribly interesting. The music is odd, the animation is pretty good, even by today's standards. But there is way too much hype for this, if you think Akira is the end all, be all of anime then you need to open your eyes and look around, there's much better stuff around to check out.

Last updated Tuesday, June 17 2003. Created Sunday, October 13 2002.
Buy 8 7 6 8 8 Cenit [series:219#45]
I would star saying this. Akira is by far the most succesful anime movie ever made, the one with most attendance and the one that till this date if I'm not mistaken sell the better.
Most people have something against post-apocaliptic animes, and I guess is kinda of hard to see our "beatiful" civilization down to the poor state as Tokyo in Akira, while the ones in power have all the money, and even that cool defense laser satellite. But that's how the world goes.
Akira tells the story of a post-atomic war world, in the one the goverment sacrifices society for the militar power. And in the top of that is the project Akira, a project that used psychic talented kids and artificially increased their powers in order to make them toys of war. Of course the whole project goes down with a little kid, Akira, lost control and it's sealed away.
But now the new council (I think it is a council) decides to re-open the project Akira, and starts experimenting in an adolescent, one who completely loses control.
For all of you please remember that Akira is in a word, old. Nobody will measure the Wright planes against modern ones, who could they, but just as the old planes, Akira is a classic, it represents a historic point in Anime, and something that any collector should have. It is a great point to start watching anime, and a great collection piece for all us.

Last updated Friday, May 31 2002. Created Friday, May 31 2002.
Buy Anonymous #246 [series:219#246]
hmmm, confusing. the metaphysical imagery used throughout, gives the impression of enjamed stansers, not oristaeropugnunt from Virgil. Towards the end of the film, Kanada, looks back on the city, before everything goes to shit, and mouths, i speak of men and war, why do we push our pain beyond our own experiences. This was the best bit of the film, and was changed in the american dub, to holy shit, whats that. Anyway, it is the 3rd most important manga ever, just behind Minoke and Dbz, and alongside astroboy. Worth a look.

Last updated Wednesday, November 28 2001. Created Wednesday, November 28 2001.
Buy 8 8 8 10 Anonymous #212 [series:219#212]
Akira has one of the most complex and interesting stories I have seen in anime even today(besides Perfect Blue). I had to watch Akira several times to understand what was going on. Once that was done I fell in love with it. It is an older title so the animation wasn't perfect but it was good. I suggest the subtitled version because the dub didn't impress me a whole lot. Overall I give Akira a 9. Definate buy.

Last updated Thursday, August 30 2001. Created Thursday, August 30 2001.
Rent 8 8 4 8 4 Lord Folken [series:219#202]
First, I just watched the newly rereleased version. Its hard for any movie to live up to a lot of hype, but Akira is pretty good. To think that every single frame was hand drawn and painted made me appreciate more than I normally would have a movie like this.
When Akira came to America it was different, that is why it became a "classic." But by now it is pretty good , but not great.

Last updated Friday, August 24 2001. Created Friday, August 24 2001.
Rent 8 8 4 6 Kaneda [series:219#87]
Akira is a complex anime to write about. For its time it was revolutionary and brilliant in japan, off course we are looking at earlier japanese anime. Akira is a gateway anime, if you want to get into anime it is an excellent start however if you already are a vetran anime watcher like many of the reviewers here you will see gaping plot holes, and very very bad dialogue. Which is partially due to the fact that the dubbing of this anime was sub par at best. When i originally watched it in dub , it merely left me confused and wanting more. However once I watched the sub it came into focus a lot. Another problem with Akira is that the first time you watch it, it won't make sense, so if you watch it once and come over here and make your review obviously you won't like it. Before I personally got to my point of liking Akira I watched it about six to seven times, and everytime I watched it I saw something more. Anyways to summarize if you new and looking to get into anime by all eans watch it, however if you already know your anime well, and are experienced in the likes of Bebop and Kenshin, I'd suggest you avoid.

Last updated Wednesday, March 21 2001. Created Wednesday, March 21 2001.
Rent 8 9 7 10 0 4 Barry [series:219#122]
*weird-ass noises*
C'mon people, you don't think that kind of engaging dialog can make a good movie? It's brilliant! All kidding aside, there really seem to be a lot a people here who are disenfranchised with the whole Akira thing. I'll say this in it's defense: Akira (the English dubbed release from Streamline Pictures, or, as some call that particular company, SATAN) suffers from two main things. 1.) The movie is a heavily compacted version of a huge manga series over two thousand pages in length. Naturally some plot points and other things that might make the story a bit more conceiveable can and will be lost in the transition. 2.) This particular version suffers from a godawful translation and dubbing which, when combined with the first problem, can lead to an incoherent mess that looks and sounds beautiful, but makes absolutley no sense. Still, I'm a fan of the old ultra-violence, the art and animation are awesome and the original score by Geinoh Yamashirogumi is absolutley breathtaking, so I have to say that I enjoyed this film way more than I probably should have.

Last updated Tuesday, October 16 2001. Created Sunday, March 04 2001.
Rent 6 8 5 7 Alex Black [series:219#128]
You can't please everyone, I suppose, but I thoroughly enjoyed Akira. The story was exciting and bewildering, the style is pretty good, and the animation and effects are excellent.
Despite all the good points, I think the characters are a bit flat, and there's some screwy philosophy going on. Also, the story suffers because of a jittery-jump plot that makes it confusing for some viewers. If not for that, I would rate it higher, because it really is a landmark in the history of modern anime. I recommend seeing it, but don't buy a copy unless you've seen it, because it's not for everyone.
And for God's sake, don't watch the Streamline dub...it's just wretched.

Last updated Monday, March 18 2002. Created Tuesday, January 23 2001.
Avoid 6 6 2 The Coyote [series:219#64]
Wow and i thought my opinion was going to be really unpopular but so far everyone else agrees with me this stunk. the story was disapointing and dark (and not in a good way I don't mind a show with a dark side to it as long as it has a point this dosn't) man all i read about was how this was so great and a revolution in anime. man am I glad thats wrong spare yourself the disapointment if you have herd all the hype on this one is a real drag

Last updated Thursday, April 25 2002. Created Friday, January 19 2001.
Avoid 8 7 1 2 Jack Hawksmoor [series:219#114]
With all the hype surrounding Akira, the movie itself is a huge disappointment. Once it desensitizes you to ultra violent behavior, you're left with an empty sense of failure.
The overall movement of the anime is blase and it's hard and often uncomfortable to sit through, despite the top notch animation.
Those of you who get aroused by such things as the holocaust and Hiroshima will enjoy the Rodney King-esque brutality of the police and the general, bludgeoning, but for those of you out there who aren't brought about by mass suffering will be sadly disappointed... don't say I didn't warn you.

Last updated Saturday, January 13 2001. Created Saturday, January 13 2001.
Avoid 8 10 1 4 2 Midnighter [series:219#94]
Akira cost a billion yen ($7 Million) to make, and it's 124 minute running time contains 160,000 cels with a frame rate that is exceptionally high for an anime.
Despite the truly remarkable animation, Akira never fails to disappoint. When the novelty of animated ultra-violence wears off, the viewer is left scratching their head in bewilderment about why they just wasted 2 hours of their life.
The cardboard cut-out characters and abismal American Dubbing make this less pleasant than a dental visit. In all fairness, the new Pioneer dub and translation is much better, but couldn't save Akira. One of my major problems were the character designs. Apparently in the world of Akira, there are only 2 possible facial expressions: wide mouthed shock and angry gritted teeth. It's a wonder they don't all get TMJ from the constant strain they subject their jaws to.
I was puzzled by the constant violence. Akira seems to go from being critical of violence to glorifying it, and bounces back and forth between the 2 stances, as though it was attempting to appeal to both pacifists and sadists. It doesn't work.
The animation goes from extreme realism to exaggerated cartoonishness and back, which is very jarring to the viewer. The story Akira tries to tell is condensed from a 2160 page manga, and simply becomes too squished and unintelligable. The obnoxious, incessant feel becomes numbing after about 20 minutes, and the viewer may come away with a headache after the end credits mercifully roll. Akira seems to be aimed at autistic individuals who need hyperactive visuals and gratuitous violence to maintain interest. So maybe MTV fans will like it.
In short, don't believe the hype. Akira came when Americans only experiance with animation was kid-friendly Disney films. Sadly, the novelty has long since worn off, and this film is best left to fans of Duke Nuke 'Em and those who are aroused by mass-suffering.

Last updated Friday, January 18 2002. Created Thursday, January 11 2001.

Other Sites
the Akira Homepage http://www.lool.net/Akira/index.html
A rather decent site with lots of info on both the Akira anime & manga.

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