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"Akira" is a captivating cyberpunk anime set in a dystopian future, exploring themes of friendship, power, and the consequences of unchecked ambition.

MyAnimeList Rating
Formats Streaming
Duration125 mins
Release DateJuly 16, 1988
End DateJuly 16, 1988

It's the year 2019, thirty-one years have passed since the start of World War III. A top-secret child with amazing powers of the mind breaks free from custody and accidentally gets a motorcycle gang involved in the project. This incident triggers psychic powers within one of the gang members, Tetsuo, and he is taken by the army to be experimented on. His mind has been altered and is now on the path of war, seeking revenge on the society that once called him weak.

(Source: FUNimation)

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Editor's Review

“Akira” is a 1988 Japanese animated cyberpunk action film directed by Katsuhiro Otomo, based on Otomo’s 1982 manga of the same name1. The film is set in a dystopian 2019 and tells the story of Shōtarō Kaneda, the leader of a biker gang1.

Kaneda’s childhood friend, Tetsuo Shima, acquires incredible telekinetic abilities after a motorcycle accident1. This newfound power threatens an entire military complex amid chaos and rebellion in the sprawling futuristic metropolis of Neo-Tokyo1. The plot differs considerably from the manga, which continued publication for two years after the film’s release1.

The film begins with an explosion caused by a young boy with psychic powers that tears through the city of Tokyo and ignites the fuse that leads to World War III2. To prevent any further destruction, he is captured and taken into custody, never to be heard from again2.

In 2019, 31 years after nuking the city, Kaneda tries to save his friend Tetsuo from a secret government project3. He battles against anti-government activists, greedy politicians, irresponsible scientists, and a powerful military leader until Tetsuo’s supernatural power suddenly manifests3.

“Akira” is more than just an anime about psychic powers. It’s a story about friendship, power, and the consequences of unchecked ambition. It explores themes of corruption, anti-government protests, terrorism, and gang violence in a post-apocalyptic setting. The characters are well-developed, each with their unique personalities and motivations. Their interactions add depth to the narrative and make for some truly memorable moments.

The animation quality is top-notch, with vibrant visuals that perfectly capture the energy and excitement of the dystopian setting. The music, which draws heavily from traditional Indonesian gamelan as well as Japanese noh music, was composed by Shōji Yamashiro and performed by Geinoh Yamashirogumi1.

In conclusion, “Akira” is a must-watch for fans of cyberpunk and action anime. It offers a fresh take on the genre by focusing on the psychological aspects of power and control. Whether you’re drawn in by the engaging storyline or the stunning visuals, “Akira” is sure to leave a lasting impression.