I love Akira. Love it, love it, love it. Plus, I’m not really an anime person. Sure, I appreciate it and enjoy a good few of them. But no Dragonballs or Pokemons for me please, thank you very much. That said, I love Akira as a film, not an anime and it is a damn good film.
The plot is extremely engaging, taking many unexpected twists and turns. Teenagers, generally, are massive dickheads. I should know, I’m one of them. However, douchebaggery takes a new name in that of Tetsuo, who is a huge dingus. He doesn’t really like the less-dickish-but-still-pretty-dickish-but-he-is-pretty-charming-and-he-is-the-good-guy-so-I-better-root-for-him-plus-he-looks-cool-and-that-motorbike-and-jacket-are-frickin’-sweet Kaneda, who might be a sex offender but let’s just roll with it, but Kaneda sure likes him, or tolerates him, anyway. There are awesome futuristicy motorbikes, telekinesis dudes, bombs, meaty things and cooooool leather jackets. However, the story does progress a bit too fast, and would benefit from maybe a bit more character development and perhaps 20 more minutes, just to cover some of the events that were missed in the manga.
Tetsuo is masterfully designed as an unlikable a-hole who no-one likes, except for Kaneda. He’s whiny and angsty and “my parents just don’t understand”-y, I’m glad he crashes his motorbike, it wasn’t as cool as Kaneda’s anyway. Kaneda, who somehow puts up with him, is also a bit of an a-hole, but in a lovable Rocket Raccoon way, he has an awesome motorbike (have I established how awesome the motorbikes are in this film? No? Good, I can say it more times) and legendary, if not questionable, fashion choices. However, it ain’t just spiky hair and stickin’ it to the man, there are also shady government telepaths and ‘orrible army dudes, a plot Kaneda is dragged into by constantly harassing Kei, a rebel if I ever saw one, who looks eerily like she could be his older sister. Kaneda, buddy, something you wanna talk about?
Minus the sexual harassment undertones, this is a stunning film. The animation is so beautiful and seamless, merging hand-drawn animation with slight but noticeable computer effects. Despite the Neo-Tokyo setting, the animation feels very rustic yet extremely smooth. The colour palette is bold and striking, with the bombastic reds and flashing greens and blues near the finale. Overall, it looks very nice.
Sound-wise, this film is odd. Odd but good. Yes, during the awesome motorbike chasey scenes (with very awesome motorbikes, might I add), the sound is explosive and ear-destroying, and it isn’t lacking in the “”Hey!-Look!-Some-eardrums!-Let’s-punch-them-right-in-their-eardrum-faces!”” department and I love it, what can I say? I’m a bona-fide eardrum masochist! (without all the disturbing sexual stuff. Not that there’s anything wrong with that! Oh, wait, there is. There is a lot wrong with that.) . However, there are some periods of complete silence, silence in places where my eardrums should be getting punched. I’m talking about silence during explosions and screaming and that sort. Usually, this would be a clunky terrible thing to do for such an explosive film, yet it works. It really works. When watching this film recently with my “what points can I chop up and throw into a slapdash 800 word review” filter on, I came up with two outstanding points: the surreal imagery (which I won’t mention, oh wait.) and the lack of sound. During my viewing, I was conflicted upon whether or not this was a good or bad thing. Upon reflection, it is a pretty good thing, it disorientates the viewer, adding to the tension of whatever silent moment is happening. 207 words about the sound, eh? Not bad. OK, some of them were about masochism, slightly off topic, I’ll give you that.
Overall, Akira is an awesome, great, brilliant masterpiece in science fiction, anime, manga, animated films, the 1980s and movies in general. It is definitely in my top 20 films of all time. That may seem like a stretch but I love a lot of films so that is one hell of a statement.
Lots of hugs, kisses and lacerations
PS: I lost the damn piece of paper I was recording my Milo’s Monthly Music Mayhem on. So that’s the end of that. You probably didn’t like it anyway, it sorta sucked. By the way, do you like what Reuben’s doing with the scores? With the whole colour scheme thing? I don’t mind it. It gives me a reason not to ditch him and join Hot and Spicy with their madcap adventures.
One thought on “Akira (1988) – Review”