Movie Review: Akira

Kaneda prepares to mount his bike

It's Monday night and you want to watch a cheerful film teeming with relatable, happy-go-lucky characters that is suitable for children?
Well aren't you the lucky one tonight! Akira tells the heartwarming tale of new found friends Kaneda, Kei, and Colonel Shikishima as they kindly plead a thoroughly pissed off Tetsuo to stop killing things; in the end discovering the true meaning of love and friendship. 

Tokyo being assploded
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Rainbows And Unicorns
I lied. Surprise! Please do not watch this Japanese animated scifi flick with your children, they will cry. Akira is surprisingly violent. Anway, in reality, Akira is a decently smart movie stuffed to the tentacles with themes of power, control, and as is common with nearly every movie involving explosions of nukkular proportions, human nature. I would love to delve into that sticky pot of themes, but I prefer to avoid echoing what smarter people before me have already said about Akria. Instead let's focus on how legitimately cool this movie is. There are badass bikes, explosions and dismemberment all drawn up in mind blowing art direction. One can easily see how 24 years later, Akira has launched into it's current cult classic status and continues to be popular amongst audiences today.

That's right, all of Akira's coolness was thought up in way-back-when in 1988, a time when world superpowers secretly wanted to blow each other up and before many readers of PMI were even born. Keep that fact in mind as I explain what about this particular Japanese animation really stands out in the protein rich, crusty tube sock that is Japanese animation today.

Neo-Tokyo looking all pretty and shit
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Dat Art Direction, Day-um
Akira takes place in the city of Neo-Tokyo, Japan in the year 2019, a dystopian future following the events of third world war seemingly ending with a major explosion in old Tokyo 31 years ago.

Understand that I mean no hyperbole when I say that the quality of art found across the city of Neo-Tokyo is something that no other animated, non 3D movie has ever touched. At least no other animated, non 3D movie that I have seen comes close, I mean just look at that shot for Neo-Tokyo to the above. In a decade that was concerned with all things tacky (But admitedly arousing) and other bullshit, Akira shines as a brilliant beacon of astonishing, stylish artwork. If I could print out the entirety of Akira as one giant poster to plaster across my walls like an obsessed serial killer, I would. To get a taste of the amazing art of Akira, go ahead and check out it's trailer in the video below.

I am going to go out on a limb here and say that Akira producer Katsuhiro Otomo stores a Piece of Eden in his office somewhere as I still find difficulty in understanding how no other animation since Akira managed to pull off the captivating combination of both style and detail. And that, dear reader, is what makes Akira stand out from your Dragon Balls, Naruto, and Bedamon: It looks damned amazing.

Story Telling Takes A Back Seat
Sadly, the amount of attention given to Akira's overall style is not given to it's story telling. The story itself is highly intriguing and even thought provoking. You are presented with such an interesting premise that, despite the lack of compelling writing that you may expect from such a well made film, you will still care about what's going on in the city of Neo-Tokyo.

Tetsuo looking bearing an odd resemblance to Vegeta
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In the movie writers' defense, when you take a voluminous manga involving motorcycle gangs and totally-not-indigo children that may or may not be related to Vegeta from Dragon Ball Z and condense it into a 2 hour movie, things will feel a bit cramped, especially when there are a lot of major events that you want to cover. The story telling is not bad in Akira, just don't expect it to wait for you to catch up if you get lost along the way.

So Is Akira Worth Watching? 
Nope, Akira is a totally bad movie and you're stupid if you decide to watch this on movie night with friends and popcorn. I'm kidding, of course this movie is worth watching, silly person in my head that proposes stupid hypothetical questions for the sake of reviewing. In fact, I regret waiting so long to watch Akira, as it positively oozes with cool and genuine entertainment. Don't make the same mistake as I have, go out and purchase [sic] Akira on Blu-Ray and enjoy it with your friends. If you're a fan of anime, there's a decent chance that Akira's coolness and intriguing story will blow you away.

If you're not a fan of anime, well this just may be the movie that will make you become one, despite it's lack of unicorn based rainbow adventures. More animated movies need unicorns. I like unicorns.

Want to know more about other awesome anime movies? Check Plus Minus Infinity's popular Spirited Away movie review. As usual, you can follow Plus Minus Infinity on twitter @PlusMinusINF or you can like  the Facebook page for new post updates and other shenanigans. If you enjoyed this review be sure to share it with your friends with the buttons surrounding this post (Please?). ;D


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