Word of the Day: Akira

Teen-age biker gangs, post-apocalyptic Tokyo and, yeah, chasing through the streets. Thank Katsuhiro Otomo for this 1988 masterpiece–and be warned that it might not be rated G. 

 

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Duke
Duke MegaDork
1/28/20 8:33 a.m.

NickD
NickD PowerDork
1/28/20 8:57 a.m.

I've seen this film twice now. I still do not understand the ending. And when both me and my friend Anthony immediately said the end was dumb, our friend Cody (who was making us watch it) got really mad and said "What? It's so deep." Okay, what's it mean? He failed to provide anything resembling an explanation.

Duke
Duke MegaDork
1/28/20 9:05 a.m.

I've got the US-import manga compilations, some in the colorized '90s version, and some in the original black and white.  It's a very long story that doesn't condense well into 2 hours.

 

NickD
NickD PowerDork
1/28/20 9:09 a.m.

If you're going to go down a car-related anime direction, might I suggest 2010's Redline, from Studio Madhouse? 

It's, uh, really something. And I mean that in a good way. 

Mndsm
Mndsm MegaDork
1/28/20 9:24 a.m.

Wallens, if you haven't already, check out a guy named Joe peacock. (seriously). He curated the single largest collection of Akira stuff anywhere for a good long time. Gave talks, travelled the country, etc. Recently donated it to the Oscars museum and got the movie honored there. Cool stuff. 

Appleseed
Appleseed MegaDork
1/28/20 9:42 a.m.

Even after reading the phone books (the Manga is that long) the ending still isn't that clear. Regardless,  the animation,  especially the bike chace, still hold up. It is a film by which all other animation will be measured. To be an Otaku back then was difficult and expensive,  with mail order and oddball comic shops the only way to get our fix. Seeing it in 1990, it blew my mind, and things were never the same. 

Mr_Asa
Mr_Asa Reader
1/28/20 10:00 a.m.

In reply to NickD :

As mentioned, there is a lot of it that's cut out.  However the gist is that within Tetsuo and everyone else is the dormant power of a god.  Akira was brought back by the spooky-kids and helped Tetsuo get himself in check before he destroyed the world.  The little glowing thingie at the end that Kaneda touches is the real Tetsuo, not the physical remains that the govt carts off.

I could see it being seen as deep

_
_ Dork
1/28/20 10:57 a.m.

TETSUO!

Gearheadotaku
Gearheadotaku UltimaDork
1/28/20 10:59 a.m.

I remember seeing it back in the day. (Early 90s) One of my gamer buddies was big on anime and passed a copy around. Yeah, got sucked in to the otaku life of fan subs and tape trades then it was conventions and cosplay girls. It did motivate me to learn how the use a computer and the internet. 

Somehow through that 15 year period I managed to keep autocrossing and maintain a shred of non-geek life.

tb
tb Dork
1/28/20 11:13 a.m.
Duke said:

I just threw up in my mouth. The world doesn't need this kind of blasphemy; some people need to step away from the kool aid...

tb
tb Dork
1/28/20 11:17 a.m.
NickD said:

If you're going to go down a car-related anime direction, might I suggest 2010's Redline, from Studio Madhouse? 

It's, uh, really something. And I mean that in a good way. 

QFT. Definitely deserves a mention and I think that almost any regular car guy would enjoy watching it at least once. Tone perfect and enough going on to inspire many hours of bench racing / apocalypse prepping.

The0retical
The0retical UberDork
1/28/20 11:30 a.m.

In reply to NickD :

You can watch Redline for free via the Plex channel within it's app. I watched it a few weeks ago, it's frantic fun.

 

Akira is a wild ride. The producers smashed a number of graphic novels together and removed a bunch of context to get the film to the length that it was. As a result things are a little less than clear.

I grew up on Robotech, Starblazers, and old Speed Racer. Watching Akira for the first time really pushed me deep into the more "hardcore" anime.

Donebrokeit
Donebrokeit UltraDork
1/28/20 11:36 a.m.

And you can buy one if you want.

 

 

Appleseed
Appleseed MegaDork
1/28/20 11:45 a.m.
_ said:

TETSUO!

KANEDA!!!

Fueled by Caffeine
Fueled by Caffeine MegaDork
1/28/20 11:56 a.m.

In reply to tb :

track car bro.

dculberson
dculberson MegaDork
1/28/20 12:37 p.m.

My wife and I are very much not anime people, but we decided to give Akira a shot. We really enjoyed it. It's a solid movie even for adults not into Otaku stuff.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
1/28/20 12:47 p.m.

Glad to see the chatter. I first saw Akira in 1988 or so via a Japanese-language VHS. My friend Steve thinks it came from a Blockbuster or something. (I recently wondered and asked.) We were totally mesmerized. 

Later that year, I saw the English-language dub in the theater. Drove (well, rode) an hour each way to get there. Still didn’t totally understand it. smiley

Like some of you, I have the books, too. They take up several feet of shelf space. 

Still a classic, even if I miss some of the one-liners from the original dub. 

tb
tb Dork
1/28/20 1:21 p.m.

I first saw Akira in 92? At the ripe old age of 12? Too long ago to remember clearly but the details I will not forget:

 

I borrowed a VHS dub from a very cool teacher after she insisted on a signed permission slip. My very cool father agreed without question and watched with me.

 

Many years later the bikes are still epic; timeless classics and I would totally whip that tribute build all around town. Yet another miata "track car"... yawn... I'll pass, thanks.

 

Glad to see that I am not the only one who will instantly start yelling names when I see a reference, even if I never did finish the books or even collect them all!

spacecadet
spacecadet SuperDork
1/28/20 1:39 p.m.

I saw Akira for the first time like 6-7 years ago.

I actually saw Redline before I saw Akira.

love them both, awesome visuals and just beautiful animation. They're truly special.

 

jb229
jb229 New Reader
1/28/20 3:32 p.m.

Redline is tremendous fun, I seem to recall the story around it at the time was that it had been in the works for over a decade due to funding issues stemming from the director's insistence on using hand-drawn animation.  The reason the animation in Akira looks so spectacular is because it was funded in the same boom era in Japan that gave us all of those wonderfully solid, reliable, niche cars.  They had money to throw around and they didn't want to carry balances on the books, so out the door it went.

Studio Madhouse's style is more... eclectic than Akira.  The movie's much less of a head-trip though.

Knurled.
Knurled. MegaDork
1/28/20 3:36 p.m.

I'll watch it someday, looks properly intriguing.

 

 

Type Q
Type Q SuperDork
1/28/20 5:46 p.m.

I saw Akira in '90 at little art-house movie theater with my wife (we had just started dating at the time). When the it was announced that the 2020 Olympics would be in Tokyo, I thought of the movie and immediately wondered how prophetic the rest of the story would turn out to be. I hope none of it will be since I am planning to be in Tokyo during the Olympics.   

 

 

Mr_Asa
Mr_Asa Reader
1/28/20 5:59 p.m.

In reply to Knurled. :

That was more disturbing than the movie was.

Knurled.
Knurled. MegaDork
1/28/20 7:43 p.m.
Mr_Asa said:

In reply to Knurled. :

That was more disturbing than the movie was.

I watch anime because it is disturbing.  As the Russian Ambassador said in The Hunt for Red October, "Americans are addicted to happy endings."  If you watch something from Hollywood, you can be assured that everything will be okay in the end, and this.

Destroys.

Tension.

Anime in general does not have that sacred cow.  Awful things might happen.  The main character might even die in the first fifteen minutes.  You've no idea what will happen, there are no foregone conclusions.

(except for Intial D, where Takumi will always win by a last minute ditch hook, or pass with his headlights off, unless they HEAVILY foreshadow that he's going to blow his engine, and then he blows his engine, and his opponent says "I didn't win against you, come back with something that doesn't suck" which is also a total crapfest.  But we watch Initial D anyway because what else is there?  Wangan Midnight?  Ha!)

_
_ Dork
1/28/20 11:25 p.m.

In reply to Knurled. :

Hey! You leave Mid Night Wang An out of this! Lol. 

red_stapler
red_stapler SuperDork
1/29/20 9:08 a.m.

I was too young when Akira was new, and I finally saw this in the theater last Feb. and it didn't disappoint.

Cooter
Cooter UltraDork
1/29/20 9:40 a.m.

All I know is she is supposed to be a genius, and to trust whatever her hips tell you.

Brett_Murphy
Brett_Murphy UltimaDork
2/5/20 3:11 p.m.
Cooter said:

All I know is she is supposed to be a genius, and to trust whatever her hips tell you.

Mr_Asa
Mr_Asa Reader
2/5/20 4:57 p.m.
NickD said:

If you're going to go down a car-related anime direction, might I suggest 2010's Redline, from Studio Madhouse? 

It's, uh, really something. And I mean that in a good way. 

This was really good.

yupididit
yupididit UberDork
2/5/20 5:24 p.m.
Duke said:

I've got the US-import manga compilations, some in the colorized '90s version, and some in the original black and white.  It's a very long story that doesn't condense well into 2 hours.

 

Let me get those

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