Saturday, October 5, 2002

Akira



Genre: Action
Contains violence and scenes for mature audiences
Produced by AKIRA COMMITIEE /KODANSHA © 1987 AKIRA COMMITIEE
Director: Katsuhiro Otomo
US Release: Pioneer Entertainment (USA) Inc.




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Kyubi Kitsune's Description:
In 1988 a mysterious explosion leveled a good portion of Tokyo, and World War III somehow happens. Thirty-eight years later Neo Tokyo is not that better off. The city is amidst some serious urban decay. The police and military work together to counter a garden variety of terrorist groups and gangs.

It so happens that one fateful night Kaneda, Tetsuo, and their fellow biker gang members are waging war against the rival Clown gang. Through a series of events Tetsuo gets into an accident involving a mysterious pale blue child, and the military takes a sudden interest in him. It appears he has some special powers, the in the advent of this discovery he becomes uncontrollable. Kaneda meets up with a butch girl named Kei, who is in a resistance group, and. well. a bunch random stuff occurs which includes a lot of property damage, hokey Dragonball Z style fights, and death.

Overrated. >>> by Kyubi Kitsune

Long held up as one of the best anime titles around, Akira is inevitably found on most top ten lists you will come across. This is probably one of the very few negative reviews one will find of it online.

At the root of its problems is the source material. Akira is based on an (roughly) eighteen hundred page manga that has a complex storyline and cast of well developed characters. What the movie does is take first half of the manga, eviscerate the storyline and characters, and rearrange and add things with hideous results. What should have been a six to twelve episode OAV, is crushed into a two hour movie.

The story is a shell with a little depth to it. There are some metaphysical story elements that provide fa├žade of meaning, but a lot of movie's events mostly happen quite randomly with a minimal amount of setup that somehow barely manages connects them. Little is explained at all.

Characters are flat, and most of them have generic personalities. Yet there are two exceptions found in Tetsuo and the Colonel. These two actually have some depth and are kind of interesting to watch as their characters evolve throughout the course of the film.

Animation is simply amazing for something made in 1987. The only problem is the character designs are too flat and plain, even for a design style that intends for plain looking characters.

The music is okay, and is not really used much in the film. It is an acquired taste.

Voice acting is well done on seiyuu side, and is almost comparable on the English side except for some glaring problems that lie upon the ADR director. The first of these is that Akira is almost pronounced like Acura, the car. Another is the misdirection of the generally talented Wendee Lee who voices Kei. She ends up using the voice she uses for some of the older characters she has voiced like Faye Valentine (Cowboy Bebop) and Suzuka (Outlaw Star) that really does not suit Kei.

At some point you should see Akira to see what the hype is about, but this is strictly rental and borrowing fodder. Save your money and get the manga.

Individual Rating: Art/Animation 8; Story 5; Characters 5; Sounds 8

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