Akira

"Excellent"

Akira Review


"TETSUOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!"

"KEIIIIIIIIIIIIIII!"

Neo-Tokyo is about to explode. Adapted from the mega-popular biweekly Japanese comic strip, Katsuhiro Otomoto's Akira pares down the epic graphic novel into two hours of purely visceral animated carnage. What lacks in coherence is made up for by brutal energy, starting off with a blood soaked shooting, mutant kids on the run, a kick-ass motorcycle chase straight from Mad Max, and a riveting electronica score. Hop on your bike! Let's go!

Set in an apocalyptic Blade Runner city in 2019, young cyberpunk Kaneda and his pint-sized bullethead amigo Tetsuo encounter a dangerous telekinetic child (after kicking the shit of a rival bike gang). Before you can say "makeshift plot," a band of government scientists and army helicopters are chasing our young heroes through the city before "Akira" is unleashed. The chase doesn't disappoint, leading to a monster-movie climax where one of the central characters transforms into a gigantic jelly-beast, smashing the city to pieces. Many, many people die. Hundreds. Maybe thousands. It's beautiful, man!

The old ultraviolence achieves poetic splendor with top-notch animation. Painted in a wide array of futurama colors, it's a neon glitter-dream come to life. When heads start exploding like melons, bright red splotches are highlighted against screaming white backdrops. The details are impeccable, with crowd scenes playing out as mini-masterpieces of character design.

Die-hard Akira fans will be pleased by the digital remastering of the print, now being projected digitally in some theaters. For a 15-year-old slice of anime, Akira is still looking mighty sleek. Yeah, the dubbing is still fairly inept, but who's watching this movie for the great dialogue? (Okay, fine -- I liked it too when Kei says, "Amoebas don't make motorcycles and atomic bombs!" Just don't give me a bad attitude, pops. They've cut the juiciest camp translations in the re-release.)

Akira is the rare animated film where the nonsensical plot actually doesn't make much of a difference. The action is staged fluidly and the tone is pure pop opera. It's Godzilla meets Rebel Without a Cause. While the manga fan base tends to overrate the film to a fault, Akira will appropriately smash you in all the right places.

The end or the beginning?



Facts and Figures

Run time: 124 mins

In Theaters: Tuesday 24th July 2001

Budget: $10M

Distributed by: Streamline Pictures

Production compaines: Bandai Visual Company, TMS Entertainment, Akira Committee Company Ltd., Kodansha, Mainichi Broadcasting System (MBS), Sumitomo Corporation, Toho Company, Tokyo Movie Shinsha (TMS)

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 87%
Fresh: 39 Rotten: 6

IMDB: 8.1 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Katsuhiro Otomoto

Starring: as Shôtarô Kaneda (voice), as Tetsuo Shima (voice), as Kei (voice), Tesshō Genda as Ryûsaku (voice), Hiroshi Ohtake as Nezu (voice), Kōichi Kitamura as Priestess Miyako, Council A (voice), Yuriko Fuchizaki as Kaori (voice), Masaaki Ōkura as Yamagata (voice), Takeshi Kusao as Kai (voice), Kazuhiro Kamifuji as Masaru (No. 27) (voice), Tatsuhiko Nakamura as Takashi (No. 26) (voice), Fukue Itô as Kiyoko (No. 25) (voice)

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