Thursday, June 26, 2008


Akira; Animated science-fiction thriller, Japan, 1988; D: Katsuhiro Otomo, S: Mitsuo Iwata, Nozomu Sasaki, Mami Koyama, Tessho Genda, Hiroshi Otake

In 1988 a part of Tokyo was destroyed by a mysterious, powerful explosion. In 2019 the town is full of street gangs and bikers, while the police kills a man who was carrying Takeshi, a child of green color that has telekinetic powers. The teenager Tetuso accidentally stumbled into Takeshi, so they are both kidnapped by the army and placed in a laboratory. Tetsuo's older friend Kaneda wonders where disappeared off and meets girl Kei who tells him that Tokyo was destroyed by a higher force created when a young boy, Akira, developed and lost control of supreme powers after a ESP experiment. The army tries to discover that again in Tetsuo and succeeds because he gains telekinetic powers and wants to merge with Akira, but only finds frozen organs in the laboratory. Kaneda fights with him. Tetsuo transforms into a hideous mass and disappears in a explosion. But his voice is heard: "I am Tetsuo".

The most famous and hyped anime of the 20th century, "Akira" is a good and exciting, but in the story monochromatic science-fiction film that doesn't quite fill out the high expectations of it's legendary cult reputation. The absolute author Katushiro Otomo uses detailed animation to create a philosophical surroundings, but he is slightly confusing and odious in the ugly design of characters and places, while the finale is much more interesting than the mild beginning, whereas it doesn't offer any context. Two most poetic scenes are when the girl Kei is walking on dirty water and when Tetsuo uses his paranormal powers to bend the laser rays, while the rest of the story is rather brutal, offering such spectacular scenes as the one where a building sinks under the smoke, Tetsuo who flies off into space and destroys a satellite that shot at him and his transformation into a giant, slimy organic creature Kaneda tries to get through, something that may have inspired a similar finale in "Mononoke Hime". Too bad the psychedelic ending didn't end up as "Shin Seiki Evangelion" since the characters, especially the pale Kei, were presented in a bleak way and don't have any charm.


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