Japan, 1988, 121 min, 4K DCP, Dir. Katsuhiro Otomo, Rated R, Japanese with English subtitles, Funimation
"An impressive achievement, often suggesting a weird expressionist blend of 2001, The Warriors, Blade Runner and Forbidden Planet." —Geoff Andrew, Time Out
Released in 1988, Katsuhiro Otomo’s Akira was a landmark release in Japanese animation. It spawned a wave of anime fandom in the early 90’s that influenced a number of works, including The Matrix and Looper, and stands as one of the greatest anime and science fiction films of all time. Based on Otomo’s own manga of the same name (though heavily truncated, adapting only the first half of the six-volume work), Akira is set in 2019 Neo-Tokyo and tells the story of teenage bikers Shotaro Kaneda and Tetsuo Shima as they deal with Tetsuo’s burgeoning, latent psychic powers. Hot on their heels is a JSDF general, aided by a trio of espers, and a group of resistance terrorists seeking to reveal the truth behind the fabled Akira. With both the film and manga, Otomo explores the power of youth to shape the world they live in, the loss of humanity in pursuit of grand power, and the importance of friendship. Featuring scintillating animation, iconic cyberpunk character designs, and a powerful score with touches of gamelan and noh music, it is easy to see why Akira became such an influential work of art.
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