Spectacular animated science-fiction through which a mainstream western audience discovered Japanese anime.
Japanese science fiction has followed a different trajectory from its American and British counterparts, and 1988’s Akira was a spectacular reminder that the Anglo-Saxons weren’t the only ones with a distinctive vision of the future.
Adapted from his own manga comic book, Katsuhiro Otomo’s film was the first work of anime to break through to mainstream Western audiences, helped by the unprecedented quality of its animation. The Akira of the title is a boy bestowed with incredible psychic powers, who initiates a power struggle between the government, the military and underground resistance groups in the city of Neo Tokyo.
Like the Japanese cross-cultural hit Godzilla before it, Akira reveals a lingering obsession with the effects of nuclear weapons, but it also incorporates new undercurrents in Japanese society such as the alienation of youth and a distrust of technology.
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