Released: July 16th, 1988
Budget: ¥1.1 billion ($10,000,000)
Before starting off with this review, I would like to thank Dead Donavon for requesting Akira, a classic anime movie that has forever changed the world of anime, and even animation, itself. I had one heck of a time viewing this movie, along finding the pros and cons in the film. And I apologize for posting this review later than I would have liked; I have been quite busy with family. Huh, right when I say I wasn’t going to be busy, I get stuck with work, babysitting, and summer assignments for school. Anyways, Akira was really entertaining to watch and has made me think differently about anime films, in general.
In the fictional universe of Akira, the viewers are introduced with a bomb that attacks Tokyo in the year of 1988, which leads to the events of World War III. Then, in 2019, thirty-one years later after the bomb exploded in Tokyo, the world has completely changed: the city is now named Neo Tokyo and there are many biker gangs riding around the city. In spite of the terrorism and riots that take over the city, protagonist Shotaro Kaneda, leader of the biker gang The Capsules, tries to stop his friend Tetsuo Shima from making contact with psychic Akira.
Before I even started viewing the film, a lot of people had been telling me at school about this movie and how well made it is. But did it live to the expectation I had of it? Yes, very much so…but there were still a couple of flaws with this animated film. One of those flaws would have to be the story of the movie and how it’s set up. While the plot pulled me into the film, the story ladder felt a bit off and some pieces were out of place for the plot. Since Akira was a manga series before the movie was made, there was not a lot of information from the whole manga. There were over a thousand pages in the visual novels, yet only two hundred of them were used to execute the film. With this in mind and reading some of the manga, I wanted to see more of Akira, and see the characters that were in the later parts of the graphic novels. One good aspect of the story, though, has to do with the questions that the viewers will ask during the film: Will Tokyo end up like Neo-Tokyo in the movie? Will our society use children as science experiments, almost like what had happened to Tetsuo and Akira? Questions like these will help the viewers think about the film and maybe make up their own theories on our future and society around us.
Speaking of the characters, the ones shown in the film are mostly enjoyable, and I can understand their emotions in the movie, especially Kaori, the female protagonist. She seemed relatable in the movie and I would always get excited when she would show up on the screen. Even though that her boyfriend Tetsuo had been taken over by Akira, she still followed him and tried to keep him safe from danger. In addition to Kaori, I also enjoyed seeing the main protagonist, Shotaro, fight to save his friend Tetsuo. Also, I really admire the scenes where he rides his motorcycle and comes into the crime scene to save some riots, along with him shooting a laser gun; those were probably some of the coolest scenes I had seen in an animated film.
What I really enjoyed while watching the movie was the art and animation. Readers who have not seen Akira, even though that this film is older, it does not mean that it has “horrible” or even “lazy” animation. In fact, both the art and animation are stellar and jaw-dropping. Tokyo Movie Shinsha, the company in charge of the production for Akira, spent a lot of money working on the art for the movie, and the viewers can tell that they did. The three hundred colors used to tell the story vary throughout the film, making the scenes more and more beautiful as the movie plays. As for the animation, I do not know where to begin. It’s quite stellar to a point where I had to re-watch a few of the scenes just for the animation (not a joke). Some of my favorite animated sequences have to be the motorcycle slides and the action-packed frames in some of the battles. Here are some gifs to show you some of their smooth animation sequences and some posters of how amazing the art is:
Before composer Tsutomu Ōhashi even read the script, he had already started putting together some of the tracks for the film. Unfortunately, some of these tracks had to be edited in order to fit into the right scenes, and to capture the right emotions for the characters. Most of these pieces of music have that traditional, calming Japanese sound in some parts of the film, while there are a bit of rock pieces in them as well. Overall, the soundtrack for this film has some memorable music pieces, and a few of them could possibly land on your music playlist.
Now, since I did watch this movie in English Dub, I was a bit worried about the voice acting for the film. I watched the 2001 English Dubbed Remake…and it was mediocre at best. I can understand that Akira is an older movie, but the voice acting, in my opinion, is a bit forced for a few of the characters, specifically the side characters. In addition, the lip syncing does not match the diction for the characters’ lines. My favorite voice actors in the remake, though, are Johnny Young Bosh (Shotaro) and Wendee Lee (Kei). This film reveals these actors’ big breaks in their careers, and why they are amazing at what they do—Bosh, especially, because he can use the right emotions for the characters that he plays. Other than those two voices, I did not enjoy the voice acting as much as I thought I would.
Overall, Akira does live up to its name when it comes to the animation and the plot of the film, which is why I am giving it a four out of five stars. This gritty, emotional, action-packed movie will have the viewers on the edge of their seats, engulfed in the post-apocalyptic world and the slick animation. If you are a fan of movies, especially classics, then this will be the perfect movie for you. Also, if you are just looking for something scientific and action-packed to view, then Akira will definitely fit on your “watch-list” of upcoming movies to watch.
Warnings: Violence, Suggestive Content, Some Sexual Abuse, Profanity, An Emotional Roller Coaster
Again, I would like to thank Dead Donavon for requesting this movie for me to watch and review. It was truly a delight to view and I will definitely re-watch it again when I have the chance. If you have not checked out his blog, it’s quite awesome and filled with tons of spooky horror stories, awesome artwork, articles about anything in the horror genre, and much more!
Remember, if you want to request a show or movie for me to watch, or a book for me to read, leave a comment down below!
Upcoming Anime Movies I Plan on Watching and Reviewing (in order, but this list will possibly change):
- Your Name
- Perfect Blue
- Spirited Away
I hope you, readers, enjoyed this review. Tune in next time for a review of Your Name and some posts of the 30 Day Anime Challenge I will be taking in August!
GG 🙂 ❤