Akira The Story
“Someday we ought to be able to…because it has already begun.” If you understand that phrase, then you understand Akira. As for the rest of us “mortals,” Akira presents itself as an enigma worth discovering. It, in and of itself, encompasses all traits of human nature that we long for and adore, possibly those yet not explored. Being the grand-parent of most modern anime, Akira represents the origins of animated narration that we fans have sworn loyalty to. Even though released in 1988, Akira was far ahead of its time yet it turned out to be a cornerstone in terms of realism and vividness worth exploring and understanding.
The tale of Akira takes place in Neo-Tokyo, Tokyo but thirty-one years and another world war later. Those three decades of turmoil had degraded the population, the morale, the virtues, and of course the living conditions. The current government is completely devoid of authority and the people have no respect for their government. Faith is no longer in the superfluous governing officials but in a coming “revolution.” An all powerful idol only known as “Akira” is patiently awaited for by rebels to come forth with salvation for the people of Neo-Tokyo. The army is researching a type of human evolution, in which people develop unknown powers capable of mass destruction. Two friends are closely followed throughout the story as one of them develops these powers and is consequentially abducted by the army, only to escape and begin a reign of terror. If the powers developed by Tetsuo (one of the friends) aren’t brought under control, devastating consequences are inevitable.
In a sense, Akira has a strong appeal to more mature viewers, for the young fans may lack the vast knowledge for content comprehension. The story unfolds quickly but the effects on the viewer remain that of mysticism, for Akira truly requires patience until the end and rewards the viewer with resolution. Closure is always important yet some mystery for future pondering that leaves a shadowy after-effect is what makes some anime classic, and Akira does brilliantly in that category.
It’s always pleasing to hear strong language, especially if it’s placed well in context but not overused. Most of the main characters are teens and male, so their choice of words is clearly called for. Character introduction and development is smooth, leaving no ambiguity. On the surface, characters may appear simple; however, each one has a unique personality portrayed as a consequence of childhood experiences. For example, sarcasm represented apathy fostered during childhood due to the non-existence of parental guidance.
Progressively, an inherent conflict becomes apparent: a fight against the inescapable. Friendships are forged and broken as a result of mixed convictions and the constantly changing circumstances. If not obvious at first, Akira makes many short allusions to mythical tales (Pandora’s Box) and religious principles (the Garden of Eden) adding even more depth to the unraveling mystery. Many stereotypes are presented and presented well to display an even closer bond between reality and fiction. All in all, Akira takes into account many universal features and traits and creates a complex yet well-driven story, leaving any mature viewer more than content.
If there was one word to describe Akira in terms of presentation, that world would have to be “realistic.” Often underrated or not accounted for at all, realism plays a grand role in the overall scheme of anime, and in that sense, Akira is simply spectacular. Easily surpassing most if not all of the competition, the world of Akira stuns the viewer with its strong grasp of physics and the dynamics of movement. Everything that’s seen in Akira is so intensely alive that the viewer feels guilty when taking the settings in Akira for granted. Subtle effects such as gravity, the effects of wind, and the relationship among various objects can be appreciated on a brand new level thanks to Akira. Nothing is motionless, especially not living organisms, which any other anime would portray as nearly dead, forgetting the entire process of inhalation.
Detail orientation along with realistic movement makes Akira a true gem among rhinestones. Everything presented in Akira is drawn so meticulously, the viewer is left no choice but to carefully inspect every last object on the screen. Gladly, no odd coloring schemes are found in Akira, adding even more to the ever increasing feel of reality. Redundancy was completely side-stepped in Akira. It was fresh and almost awkward to see the character wearing different sets of clothing, since in any other animated movie, no change in dress is even attempted. Realism simply cannot be emphasized enough when describing Akira.
Finally, a genuine truthfulness can be found in Akira when analyzing the characters presented. People actually act as people do, creating an authentic living environment in which a story can take place. Poor students smoke and form gangs to pass time and underpaid school staff indulges in violence. A ghetto felt and seemed like the ghetto that was staged. Humor, although not always necessary, supplied great entertainment value and Akira, despite its serious premise, never forgot about the lighter side of humanity.
Akira did not heavily depend on music although musical moments did exist. Nonetheless, drama was well intensified by the few melodic schemes. Efforts were clearly concentrated on story-telling and artistic aspect and not so much on musical elaboration in creating Akira, and ultimately the result was miraculous.
In closing, Akira accomplishes what many other animated films strive for: depth, realism, and creativity. How many times have we seen something shallow, though interesting at the time, and later reminisced about its “great” moments? Not many to say the least. Whereas Akira leaves a deep imprint of standards on its viewers, standards by which all other work will be compared to and judged by. Akira files itself away as a truly classical creation, growing on its audience with taste and inspiration.