How did you hear about it?
J: When I was younger and still in school me and my friends watched anime (yes DBZ too). We often discussed about many of them and one time this movie came up and it intrigued me… I first read the actual manga of the author and was impressed by the art and the deeper underlying messages it had in it. Afterwards the movie came out on DVD (because earlier only VHS was available) and I just had to buy it! I must say the movie version left a lot out but even though they cut out a lot it was still worth it and still carried the message through.
K: I had heard of Akira before, but never really watched it until last year. I remember Joeri had decided to educate me in its existence…but we had to buy a second copy because I didn’t read Dutch too well back then. I was so surprised I hadn’t seen it and I think even he was because the moment we got the English sub…it was in the PlayStation before I could say a word. I have to say…he does have some good tastes.
What’s it about?
J&K: It’s based in a futuristic Japan (mind you, this was published first in 1988) after a fictional world war 3. The Japanese Government have been testing human enhancement on kids for years and one of them manages to escape the facility with the help of underground resistance fighters. A juvenile biker gang gets into the fray of this escape and one of their members, Tetsuo, is affected by the human enhancement. Tetsuo discovers his new-found powers and goes on a power trip and after hearing about his prodigal predecessor, Akira, he goes to look for what remains of this kid. Meanwhile his best friend and gang member Takeda goes looking for Tetsuo in the best intent to help his friend out. Sadly they find themselves on different sides of a conflict and things escalate further.
What appeals to you in the Movie?
J: It is, in my opinion, a classic anime movie with some great animation scenes and a deep story of people trying to discover something bigger than themselves and their place in the universe. This movie even went on to inspire western movie makers ranging from the Matrix to even South Park. Even if I re-watch it after a while I still get entranced by the way this movie was made and the music that accompanies it. There’s so many memorable scenes in there that actually make you want to re-watch this.
K: I’ve always loved Japanese animation (not everything, though) and have a deep fascination for science fiction, so Akira is actually the perfect combination of both. My very first Japanese animation movie was actually Ghost in the Shell (stocked full of awesome!), so you’d think I’d have at least seen a snippet of Akira. Apparently not! I really like the story and how it developed…though it did freak me out a little in some parts. Like, reeeeeaally freaked out…still it was an amazing movie to watch.
Would you recommend it to anyone?
J: I would if those people enjoy anime, it’s a must see as an anime fan. It’s a very ‘special’ film though, it touches some issues of modern society and where we as humans are heading to. I would even say that the Movie Lucy is loosely based on Akira, the set-up is different but the entire becoming a powerful mind and having a god complex really is fairly parallel. Even though it might still feel a bit heavy sometimes it’s still very entertaining and leaves you thinking “how would I handle this?”
K: To anyone with similar sorts of tastes. It’s not like all the new animation getting pumped out for the masses (I admit, I even like some of them) but it’s not bad either. I think people who enjoy taking a step back into the past will enjoy this movie and also anyone interested in futuristic worlds and societies. All in all, Akira should be seen at least once.