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Club Library
To Rent: CLUB MEMBERS ONLY. PM me here and state the titles you want, and they'll be brought to the next meet/ social for you to pick up.
Prices: FREE! Limit of 3 items a time. Rental is for period of one month.
Review By avmakt
Posted: 14/10/10 11:25

Adapted in 1988 by Katsuhiro Otomo from his own manga, Akira is one of the best known anime around. Akira is set thirty years after a Tokyo is destroyed in a nuclear explosion; now the artificial island of Neo-Tokyo is consumed by an endemic unrest that manifests in the youth as gang violence.

The plot follows a few main characters; Kaneda and Tetsuo are members of a bike gang ( Kaneda being the leader.) Having been friends for many years, Kaneda feels protective towards Tetsuo – a fact that Tetsuo deeply resents. This wouldn’t be too much of a problem if it didn’t turn out that Tetsuo has certain latent psionic abilities that rival those of Akira; the ESP-er whose uncontrolled power was able to cause unimaginable destruction. Kei is a revolutionary who serves little purpose other than providing a convenient method of breaking into government facilities and acting as a focus for Kaneda’s relatively unsuccessful advances.
The ESP-er’s only significant member is Akira and he doesn’t exactly feature in the film. The other three (Masaru, Takashi and Kiyoko) are strange, shrivelled child-like things that are apparently in their forties. They are part of a secret government research project involving psionic powers.

Much of the story seems to deal with Tetsuo’s feelings of inadequacy, there are some references to political and civil unrest but to be honest it doesn’t impact the actual story to a high degree. By this I mean the unrest itself is not integral to the plot as it is in, for example, Appleseed but it does provide context for the story and thus depth to the plot. Akira is cyberpunk and as such there are some dystopic elements to the plot but the strongest theme in this is that of corruption; how when given the ability to wield unimaginable power, even seemingly normal people can become monsters. This theme is covered very well and powerfully conveys the horror the “monster” experiences as he realises what he is becoming.

The copy of Akira the anime library has is the two disc version; containing both the old cut and a remastered, revoiced one. The two have slightly different translations and one does not have Japanese audio, so it might be worth watching both to see the differences.

The translation seems clumsy in places and the English voice acting is at times painfully melodramatic (although that is how I feel about all translations, so perhaps I’m not entirely objective). The graphics aren’t quite up to today’s standards, but then again this film is older than I am; so I suppose that is to be expected. On the other hand, the graphics are well drawn and do look very good (particularly the bike scenes).

All in all, very engaging and a truly landmark classic that must be watched!
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