Donnerstag, 8. September 2011

AKIRA Review

Recently i was thinking a lot about Japan. More specifically, about all the shit the Japanese had to go through in the last few months. And it just so happens that Akira is one of my favorite animated films.

Now everyone who has seen the movie knows that at the Beginning of the movie this happens:
Thats Tokyo getting annihilated by what seems to be a nuclear bomb. And about 2 hours later we see Neo-Tokyo engulfed in flames while being simultaneously flooded by giant waves.

Destruction is an important theme that runs throughout the movie and the Comicbooks it is based on. Writer and Director Katsuhiro Otomo was of course influenced by his childhood in post-WWII Japan when he began writing and illustrating the story in 1982. Akira was released in cinemas in 1988 and was an important milestone for japanese animation. The Movie Centers around a Group of juvenile Delinquents who live in Neo-Tokyo in the Year 2019. The first 15 Minutes are a blast. We see Kaneda and Tetsuo and their Gang speeding around the City on their motorcycles.
This first chapter does an excellent job with setting the mood for the rest of the movie. It's dark, it's brutal, the animation is stunning and the sheer speed and the music gets you pumped up and unable to sit still! At the end of this incredible chase-scene Tetsuo runs into a strange looking child. And by that i mean, he literally runs into it, which makes his bike explode and leaves him unable to move. The strange child, mysteriously, is unharmed and vanishes, while Tetsuo is hospitalized. And this is when the movie really starts.
What follows are two hours of intense action, wild transformations, weird psychic Powers and some of the best 2D-Animation you'll ever see in your life. Akira is a Story of destruction, violence, coming-of-age, friendship, environmentalism, nuclear warfare, social unrest, revolution,...etc etc etc There is alot in this movie, maybe a bit too much: After I first watched it 10 years ago, i had no idea what just happened. I also had a lot of problems remembering who was who, as there were a lot of different characters and some of them look really similar. Thats why i would recommend reading the Comic first, so the movie won't be confusing.

Anyway, nowadays some of the content in the movie is eerily up-to-date. Especially the Scenes at the Beginng and the End of the Movie make you think of the most recent disasters Japan had to suffer through.
As i said the animation in this film is incredible. Production Values are high all around. What amazes me the most is the fact that they've recorded all dialouge beforehand and then synced the animation to the audio. For the record: that was the first Time a japanese Animation-Studio did that. Because most the time they're lazy bastards.
                                                                  Pictured: Proof
Furhermore what really rocks my socks as hard now as it did the first time i watched the film is the Soundtrack. It's by a group called Geinoh Yamashirogumi and it's a unique blend of progrock, ambient, weird percussion and traditional japanese music. I've never heard music like this in any other movie before or since, but every good musicion gets ripped off at least once in my opinion:
Listen to just the first few minutes of this track from the akira soundtrack:

And now listen to this:
Secret of Mana is on of the most beloved SNES Games and has a beautiful score but this one's a shameless ripoff.
But at least they did just steal a musical idea. Some other Game stole almost everything else.
Well i guess thats enough for today. I wish you all a wonderful time and thanks for reading!

NEXT TIME: Brave New World by Aldous Huxley


  1. Awesome review, Akira is one of my favourite animes!


  2. thanks dude! feel free to make recommendations for future reviews ;)

  3. They say every time you watch Akira you notice something you didn't see before. I've seen it several times, and I think I'm yet to fully understand it, sometimes I think even the creators don't.

  4. Amen dude, i always notice something new, like weird dudes in the background or something, e.g. the guy with the adolf-shirt :D