COLUMN: “Akira,” the film that popularized anime in America


Rob Le Cates

Cam’ron Hardy is a sophomore journalism major and can be reached at 217-581-2812.

Cam'ron Hardy, Columnist

“Akira” is an 80’s cyberpunk film and after its release, it was spread across America due to its impressive animation style and the topics addressed.

The movie takes place after World War 3 that happens in 2019 and the city the citizens live in is destroyed. After a motorcycle chase goes wrong, Tetsuo Shima, voiced by Nozomu Sasaki, crashes his motorcycle, and discovers he has some sort of powers.

He is taken by government officials for a project. Shima’s friend, Shotaro Kaneda, voiced by Johnny Yong Bosch, tries to save him but in the process, Shima becomes more powerful.

Majority of the first and the beginning of the second act were the downfall of this movie due to nothing really being understood and it was just slow.

There is so much to try to piece together and so many questions at the beginning that are unanswered until the end; but there are still some questions that are not answered. The main good part of the first act was the intense motorcycle chase.

The animation style was one of the best aspects of the movie. The array of colors that the audience is presented with contributes to its cyberpunk-esque and it was just amusing to view.

The details in the scenery add to why the animation was so impressive. Overall, the style gives off a nostalgic effect.

The gruesomeness was appreciated because that is not common in a lot of animations. The amount of blood and death styles were unexpected.

As stated previously, the storyline was questionable at the beginning, but as the film progressed, some parts were able to be made sense of.

The governments presence benefits the conflict element in the movie. It appears they are always present, and trying to keep their secrets private, which some could say the same thing about the real-life government.

Essentially, if the government was taken out of the movie, there might not have been a problem and they are heavily involved in the plot. Shima’s evolution in power can only make the audience wonder how powerful he would become.

The ending is the best part of the movie because of the epic battle and how mostly everything came together and seeing how it played out.

The film tackles real life issues such as some things people believe are true about the government. They also tackle other social issues such as war, politicians, and corruption.

The way that “Akira” is essentially a myth to everyone except the government, which some believe is true about the real-life government. A lot of people have conspiracy theories about things that the government is hiding things from the public such as aliens.

There were too many characters in the film as well, and not enough time or context to grow a connection with them.

For all these real-life topics, which are not really discussed in anime, be put into a movie in a very original and creative way is admirable and revolutionary.

Rate: 3.5/5

Cam’ron Hardy is a sophomore journalism major. He can be reached at [email protected] or 217-581-2812.