Wednesday, January 30, 2008


Normally I only write about stuff I haven't experienced before, and I've seen Akira multiple times in the past, but I wrote this for a class anyway (which explains why it's a bit more analytical/spoiler-filled), so I figured I might as well post it and introduce the "flashback" category, which allows me to talk about anything I've done before, if I feel like it. Which I probably won't often.

Visually, Akira is one of the most impressive animated features I've seen. You'd think it'd have aged after twenty years, but it still looks very good. So much today is done with computers, but everything here is drawn by hand and looks amazing. Just looking at it, I have to imaging someone working on it must have gone insane from painstakingly animating so many billowing clouds of smoke. It's one of the only anime to have its dialogue recorded before animation, so everything is synced to the voices and avoids the pitfall almost every American seems to complain about. The artwork serves to enhance the story as the radical ideas are fully explored in sometimes gruesome detail.

Akira is fully in the apocalyptic mode, with the world still feeling the effects of nuclear devastation and the main characters living dangerous lives in the streets of a Tokyo I'd never want to visit. It explores corruption in government and redemption through destruction, as the only way to stop Tetsuo and save him comes to be destroying him.

Tetsuo and Kaneda are friends, but sometimes seem more like younger and older brothers, respectively, as Kaneda's always looking out for Tetsuo, who resents the protection. He begins to lash out more and more as his power grows, and ultimately his surpressed anger feeds off the energy and turns him into a monster. The disfigured children (although if they were test subjects with Akira would be in their forties or so now) are an interesting force, very powerful yet subject to the fears and desires of any little kid. Kaori represents what's left of Tetsuo's humanity, and when she is killed by his transformation, it's pretty much the end of any chance for his redemption and he ultimately perishes, nearly taking everything with him.

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