"Akira" (1988) | Sam Gall Movie Review Issue #104 Gem Mint 10.0
Director: Katsuhiro Otomo
Writer: Katsuhiro Otomo, Izo Hashimoto
Starring: Mitsuo Iwata, Nozomu Sasaki, Mami Koyama, Tessho Genda, Hiroshi Otake, Koichi Kitamura, Michihiro Ikemizu, Yuriko Fuchizaki, Masaaki Okura Takeshi Kusao
Rated: R for graphic violence and brief nudity
Runtime: 2h 4min
Genre: Animation, Action, Sci-Fi
"A secret military project endangers Neo-Tokyo when it turns a biker gang member into a rampaging psychic psychopath who can only be stopped by two teenagers and a group of psychics."
You might like this if you like: 'Akira' Manga, Anime, Japanese Cinema, Science Fiction, Fantasy, 'Blade Runner' Franchise, Action, Dystopian Stories
One of, if not the most, standout Japanese anime films I've ever seen... Though isn't Anime always Japanese? I'm actually asking, is it a strict Japanese thing? Like, do I HAVE to put Japanese before it, or is it already assumed? I watch too much anime to be able to see this more objectively haha.
Anyways, most people will think of Hayao Miyazaki's work ("Spirited Away", "Princess Mononoke", "My Neighbor Totoro") as some of the best in Japanese anime films. As they rightly should, his work is incomparable. I don't think many come close to his works of art, but I can compare my level of love to "Akira" (1988).
Kanada in "Akira" (1988)
I didn't discover "Akira" (1988) until after I'd seen a good amount of Miyazaki's films, but I'd heard a lot about how "Akira" (1988) was a big influence for films I already loved like "The Matrix" (1999) and even "Dragonball Z" (1989-1996) which was the first anime I ever watched. I was very excited going in, put it on the big screen, and got lost in Neo Tokyo.
Having just rewatched it / showed it to my fiance, Rachel, for the first time, it really just reminded me how much of a cinematic feat this film is and how well it still holds up.
Kaori & Tetsuo "Akira" (1988)
It's an age-old story of power and Man vs. God, one that we're still paying tickets for in movies like "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" (2016). What technology and mankind's capabilities are. It's a forever fascinating theme that I find myself always attracted to.
From the opening sequence of one of the most visceral motorcycle races I've ever seen (even competing with live action scenes) to the gigantic and wild climax in a football stadium.. This movie is a masterpiece of classic storytelling art.
Kanada in "Akira" (1988)
Some of the most memorable images in a film I've ever seen. Tetsuo's arc as a character alone. Kanada's bike which Steven Spielberg referenced BEAUTIFULLY in his "Ready Player One" (2018) adaptation. The battlefields and colors they use... It's Japanese 'Blade Runner' in its full glory.
Written by Sam Gall on May 5, 2021
CGC Grading: Gem Mint 10.0
"The opening motorbike chase is still thrilling, but the dedication to the backgrounds as well as crowds of people filling the screen, explosions happening in the distance, and a jaw-dropping sense of scope make Akira the classic that it is." - Chris Stuckmann, ChrisStuckmann.com
"Akira's strangeness is very startling and sometimes bewildering. But there is a thanatonic rapture to its vision of a whole world ending and being reborn as something else." - Peter Bradshaw, Guardian
"Plenty of superb recent blockbusters, including The Matrix, The Dark Knight, Minority Report, Dark City and Inception, are all in its debt - not to mention a fair number of shockers, like Star Wars Episode II and the most recent Resident Evil atrocity." - Robbie Collin, News of the World
"Like Snow White before it, Akira was a step change in what animation could show." - Donald Munro, Eye for Film
"Akira is pure concentrated cinematic excellence - accept no substitutes." - Rob Daniel, Sky Cinema
Behind the Scenes:
Available on various VOD platforms
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