Akira (1988) – State of the Art

Remember when you loved this film? You like this movie in your childhood just because you want to see action and violence? You don’t even really care about the story? Because we’ve grown up, you finally watch this movie again. And, there is something deeper if you look below. “Akira” is one of the anime that raises the anime culture in the international world. It’s the golden age of anime. Names such as Hayao Miyazaki, Isao Takahata, Shinichiro Watanabe, Mamoru Oshii, and Hideaki Anno have been famous until now.

“Akira” as it before ‘anime was a mistake’. This is before otaku culture rules. Resulted in major changes to the anime. It takes so many inspiration even many Hollywood directors who want to work on the live-action. But, this is not something familiar to now. Why is modern anime no longer looks like “Akira”? Well, it’s more like the time has been leased. Such names no longer exist for a new generation. Welcome to them where you can find a lot of otaku culture that has become mainstream among pop culture.

The story focuses on 2019. 31 years after the nuclear explosion in Tokyo that brought the world to a WWIII. Kaneda and his gang members always involved with an adventure with other gangs. They hit and make a mess with each other. Pretty simple for a movie like this. It focuses on one person with all sorts of stories throughout it. But, the story not focused on him whose not takes the spotlight too. Katsuhiro Otomo created Neo-Tokyo as a major character where all of them were protagonists and antagonists in the city. The story doesn’t focus on Kaneda and his friends but focuses more on everything that happens in the city. The government, anti-government, revolutionary, mystery, psychological, hopeless, experimental, all of that he made into one story that produces Akira.

Well, this reminds me of Stanley Kubrick masterpieces such as “A Clockwork Orange”, “2001: A Space Odyssey”, and “The Shining”. All made into one and here it is, “Akira”. Not surprisingly, this anime is one of the pioneers for Hollywood especially animation, novels, and movies. Again, many famous directors want to remake this film. It’s not surprising that I initially thought it just a motorcycle gang that seemed cliche. It’s pretty confusing if they try to understand what this story is about. What is Akira? who is Akira? why do people praise Akira as a humanity savior? What really happened in this movie?

Back again in “2001: A Space Odyssey”. People used to think that this was the worst movie of all time. It didn’t provide in-depth detail about the story. “Akira” needs some interpretation if you try to understand the story or just read the comics. In addition to interpretation, the premise of this movie seemed to criticize what would happen in the future. Everything in “Akira” impressed with our reality. A worst new generation and the government seems repugnant as well as its society. A lot of chaos that happens around us and the emergence of a new religion. It misleading people and nothing else can be trusted anymore. Well, that’s what Katsuhiro Otomo wants to show according to my thoughts. It combining things that often occur and taboo.

The art kinda reminds me of Ridley Scott’s “Blade Runner” with the three-dimensional cinematography of post-apocalyptic. In addition, each frame shows every detail. From the background to the movement characters. Characters, when they talk, are so smooth. The broken glass, wall, city, the use of lighting, and others. One of the scenes I like best is when Tetsuo creates a replacement mechanical right arm for himself. Like Fritz Lang’s “Metropolis”. By the way, that awesome freaking scene between Kaneda and Tetsuo is one of the best scenes ever. Explosions, laser, chaos everywhere, all become one as you will never get something like this again. Much modern anime some interesting action as well. But, “Akira” is at a different level because of this part seems realistic.

The soundtrack kinda looks like some loudness everywhere. Sometimes, some scenes remind me of Martin Scorsese’s trademark. He often uses a loud sound effect followed by a silent. It’s dynamic and the music placement is so precise, supporting all of that sometimes minimalistic but also occasionally ambiance. The seiyuu is great by the way, overalls. No one wants to show it all and it all comes with a good part. One of my minor problems is sometimes, I can’t hear what the character dialogue. The placement of the music is very loud and sometimes is not right. But, it’s just my minor problem and I don’t think is annoy my satisfaction.

Love the development of the characters ’cause they really good at developing it. For example, the characters that appear at the beginning of a non-sense impression. It doesn’t introduce himself. Instantly dived into the story may be a bit confusing to know who is that and who is this. Where they come from? One of the most unique among all characters is the conflict between Kaneda and Tetsuo. They fight each other but show a pitiful flashback. Not spoiler, you’ll get a slightly complex relationship and both have their respective values. It’s enough to introduce all the characters. The relationship between both of them the best as recognition. As well it well developed in this movie, from the beginning to the end.

“Akira” is one of the most controversial anime and movie ever at the times. You’ll get a lot of action and action. Combined with gore that is not too excessive. But, it’s more to make some people helpless to see it. The drama between the characters and horror that connects about a monster. “Akira” is a pioneer of the golden age of anime. Many people think that this anime has a monotonous storyline, depending on the people who watch it too. “Akira” contains many messages and symbolism about the world that criticizes the chaos in reality. It’s not a boring-type movie. The way the story well-constructed. Sometimes, the dialogue but the animation can’t be missed one frame only. It’s regret nothing.

As one of the gems of Hollywood intakes as an inspirational, “Akira” is an anime that prioritizes more for adults. Its diverse animations, action, and gore combine of symbolism and criticism. Katsuhiro Otomo blends everything into a movie that will always be remembered. No more anime with a type like this anymore after the otaku culture ruled it. But, I also don’t put hate with modern anime because some are great and some seem imposing. Not to mention, sometimes it has excessive fanservice and storyline that getting more weird and weird. Movies like “The Matrix” may never exist if “Akira” and “Ghost in the Shell” never made. An anime that will never die and forever it never. It’s worth watching if you want some blood, gore, and action but it’s more than that.

Salman Al Farisi

An Indonesian who loves to watch and read everything. A literary student who likes to write about reviews and essays on Crackdown Review. But, I just wannabe critics who love arthouse than anything.

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