Akira Retro Talk; Grade: B-
Welcome to another edition of Retro Talk! Movie theaters for the time being is replaying some ole beloved throwbacks, as I happen to catch one before my dinner plans. We’ll be talking about the loved anime film from 1988 Akira! At the time of it’s release, Akira was the most expensive anime film to make.
Akira tells a story that’s taken place in 2019 in Tokyo. The city looks pretty bad, unemployment is at an all time high, there is angry protestors and riots happening, as those asking for tax reform, gang violence... Sheesh this sounds like Covid-19 in 2020 just about. Anyhow while on an epic bike chase, Tetsuo (Nozomu Sasaki) crashes his bike into Takashi. Tetsuo is then awaken with psychic powers, as he becomes a mad man as he can’t maintain a sense of sanity with the powers he has acquired. The world of Tokyo along with Tetsuo’s best friend Kaneda (Mitsuo Iwata) is in great danger. As the government, Kaneda and his gang, and people of Tetsuo’s kind relating to the powers must put an end to his evil wrath. There could be more depth to the plot synopsis, but I think I summarized to the best of my ability.
Akira is definitely a film for those that hard core fans of anime, such as DragonBall Z. When I was partaking in watching this film, it does bring back flashbacks to my younger days, where I was into the DragonBall Z shows and of course the PlayStation 2 game my friends played at our houses. Now that I’m older I don’t really watch DragonBall Z, I feel the extreme nature of it has turned me off, as it’s still more aimed towards a younger crowd but no judgement if adults do enjoy it. So if you enjoy the likes of DragonBall Z, I can’t see how you can not love this film because it really has that range of entertainment. Even as I not much of a fan of that caliber... Akira is honestly a cool film, that I can describe the experience in one word only: NUTS!
I can see why at the time Akira was the most expensive anime film of it’s release, as the animation still holds up thirty two years later. It’s such creative world building and was so ahead of it’s time, that it can now be relatable to what’s currently going on as of right now. I enjoyed the character designs, but mostly enjoyed the landscaping of this world regarding buildings, motor bikes, laser guns... It’s so cool. The Score was also another highlight for me, as I thought this composed Score was BAD ASS. There’s quite a few bangers that really carry scenes to their full potential.
Character wise I wasn’t fully in love with them I thought how they were written were decent, I think what helps our lead characters Kaneda and Tetsuo is the information given at the end, as it explains the relationship value they have for one another. In a way they are like brothers, Kaneda always came to the rescue to Tetsuo whenever needed as he is kind of the weak link. It does make much sense as to why Tetsuo abuses his power, though one can make an argument that he really doesn’t have control over his powers, but then again he’s pushed around so often so you can understand the influence Tetsuo has to become a freak of nature. Kaneda is my favorite character solely on the fact his name sounds like Canada... Every time Tetsuo or another character screams Kaneda’s name, I screamed back to the screen “CANADA!!!!!”
Where my flaws lie on Akira is the absurd nature of this film, it can feel overwhelming and even kind of obnoxious at some points. Especially what happens to Tetsuo in the third act, as his body changes into some kind of blob... I wasn’t really feeling that at all. I also did have some issues with the story at hand, as it can become quite confusing especially those associated with Tetsuo and his power, which are known as “Ghosts” to some. It took me awhile to get into it, because early on there is a fair amount of confusion, whether it was trying to be some powerful film on corruption and such or just a straight up supernatural film. I also want some explanation on our Kaneda didn’t die when that beam of light came down on him, as Tetsuo got his arm obliterated, like how the hell did the homie Kaneda not suffer a scratch on?!
When the film becomes a supernatural action film, it honestly becomes a much better watch. It’s insane yet extremely entertaining to watch, as your mind feels like it’s on acid while watching. There are a few emotional moments in this film, regarding the brotherhood of Kaneda and Tetsuo, as well as Tetsuo’s female friend. They were well executed emotional moments where they impact the story, as you start to care more for our characters at hand. All I can say is for a film that is preferably not my cup of tea, it certainly has a fair amount going for, as it was honestly a fairly enjoyable experience.
Overall, Akira was a fairly decent film. I do recommend checking this one out, does have quite a few admirable aspects towards it. You can say I started off my birthday weekend just right. Having the theater all to myself, gambled a couple casino games, took a bad ting out on a dope dinner spot, plus kissed her cheek at the end of the night... WE LIVING BIG TYME! But seriously I do want to thank her for making my birthday and even year special, it was great to reunite with her after a long six years! Let’s keep the good times rolling my G! -Mitch Smietana