G-4rce Year-End Review Marathon: Akira

Mcgillacuddy Warning: this review will contain spoilers
Alright, it's time to get down with the year-end marathon. If you haven't read my post previewing this marathon, basically I'm going to be posting a new review up every day for the rest of the week until Sunday. Three reviews for anime, three for movies, and one for an album. I'm actually waiting to see what Skullkid75 and ModernSpongeBobSucks are doing, as well, because I believe they had something planned. Be sure to to check both their profiles regularly. Think of this marathon as my Christmas gift to the TTT community and as a makeup for all the time I haven't been doing any reviews. Fortunately, for January, I will be able to do reviews more often since I'm taking online courses next semester, so if you want to see new reviews, stay updated! Anyways, let's get down to the first review of the Christmas week...

8.15 on MyAnimeList
Ranked #361

My Thoughts and Review:
Wal-Mart occasionally has its share of anime DVDs, and I just check there to see if there are any good collectibles. Just by looking at the cover of the DVD for Akira, it made me feel that I was in for something good. It reminded me of Speed Racer, but I found out that Akira was a one-of-a-kind anime. After its release in 1988, it set the bar for future evolution in anime, so I had to make sure that I got a piece of this history.

Akira is set in Neo-Tokyo, which was nearly destroyed by a powerful esper named Akira. The city is gripped by anti-government terrorism and gang violence. The main character is a teenager named Shotaro Kaneda, who is a member of a motorcycle gang, the Capsules. Kaneda's best friend, Tetsuo Shima, gains psychic abilities and, due to his insecurities, proceeds to cause chaos in the city. The story as a whole is quite confusing. The subplot is understandable, but the movie hardly reveals any background to what's going on. Instead, the movie connects you more to the characters. The majority of character development come from Kaneda and Tetsuo and you begin to understand their complicated brotherly relationship. There are a lot of intense scenes in the film that can shock viewers, but adds more the the confusion of what the hell is supposed to be happening, but I think that makes the film even better. It's not a straightforward plot. It makes you ask questions.

For its time, this was the first anime to take maturity to the extremeties. This anime is gory and contains a scene of brief nudity, giving it an iconic R rating. The thing I like about this film the most, though, is that it's not a shock factor film. Instead of slapping bloody images at every corner, this film concentrates more on its plot. The developers did their best to make it clear to viewers that this film wasn't there to just be rated R. It's there to just be just your everyday movie, whether it's a cartoon or not. The developers wanted a GOOD movie, not a guilty pleasure film, and that's something to really admire. The story itself is a bit slow, but exciting. It's a very bizarre film, and there are many moments that may confuse you as to where the story itself is supposed to be headed, but it's really until you get to the ending where you can understand what's happening. The first time watching it, you may not get much out of it, but if you watch it a second time, you'll begin to pick up on how subtle the background of the plot is, which is what makes it so unique. The animation is good for a late 1980s movie. Some active frames are slow and tedious and some of the character movements are a bit awkward, but the overall art design saves it. It's not a big action flick so don't expect epic battles and other awesome novelty stuff.

Overall, after watching it a second time, I found this movie very enjoyable. It's very different from any other anime I've seen. It feels like a huge blockbuster film (which it was at the time). The story was also very unique and interesting, but quite slow, which can deter some viewers.

Overall Score 8/10 Great:
I have to give this anime credit. Granted, I can't say that it's up there with my all-time favorites, but truth be told that if this one single film was never made, then we most likely wouldn't have gotten all of the fantastic anime we see today. This was a landmark and the turning point of anime. Afterwards, anime became more violent, mature, and badass all thanks to Akira, and I can't take that away from it. This film also became an inspiration for many American sci-fi films like The Matrix. First time watching, I didn't have a huge interest in it, but after watching it a second time, I began to understand its full purpose. This isn't a superpower, harem, comedy, cartoony anime. Instead, the characters are believable. The situations feel real. I pretended as if I was alive at this time when anime was never this extreme, and it helped me enjoy the film more. I recommend this film to ANYONE, even to people who don't even like anime. You will most likely enjoy this one because it has a very realistic feel to it. It feels like an American blockbuster movie instead of a basic cartoon, and I think a lot of people will be interested in that.


Great review. I'll be doing my Spirited Away movie review soon. - ModernSpongeBobSucks