MOVIEmeter
Top 5000
Down 5 this week

Akira (1988)

8.1
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 8.1/10 from 79,764 users   Metascore: 76/100
Reviews: 398 user | 136 critic | 4 from Metacritic.com

A secret military project endangers Neo-Tokyo when it turns a biker gang member into a rampaging psionic psychopath that only two kids and a group of psionics can stop.

Director:

(as Katsuhiro Otomo)

Writers:

(screenplay), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
Watch Trailer
0Check in
0Share...

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Instant Video

Related News

The Vault: Akira
| 24framespersecond.net
'Akira' Nabs A New Writer
| LatinoReview

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 44 titles
created 08 Nov 2012
 
a list of 28 titles
created 10 months ago
 
a list of 35 titles
created 7 months ago
 
a list of 30 titles
created 3 months ago
 
a list of 47 titles
created 3 months ago
 

Related Items

Search for "Akira" on Amazon.com

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: Akira (1988)

Akira (1988) on IMDb 8.1/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Akira.

User Polls

6 wins. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Animation | Action | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A female cyborg cop and her partner hunt a mysterious and powerful hacker called the Puppet Master.

Director: Mamoru Oshii
Stars: Atsuko Tanaka, Iemasa Kayumi, Akio Ôtsuka
Paprika (2006)
Animation | Mystery | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

When a machine that allows therapists to enter their patient's dreams is stolen, all hell breaks loose. Only a young female therapist can stop it: Paprika.

Director: Satoshi Kon
Stars: Megumi Hayashibara, Tôru Emori, Katsunosuke Hori
Ninja Scroll (1993)
Animation | Action | Adventure
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A mysterious vagabond sets out on a journey to confront his past. Little does he know he is up against a demonic force of killers, with a ghost from his past as the leader.

Directors: Yoshiaki Kawajiri, Kevin Seymour
Stars: Stephen Apostolina, Dean Elliott, Wendee Lee
Memories (1995)
Animation | Fantasy | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

"Memories" is made up of three separate science-fiction stories. In the first, "Magnetic Rose," four space travelers are drawn into an abandoned spaceship that contains a world created by ... See full summary »

Directors: Kôji Morimoto, Tensai Okamura, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Shigeru Chiba, Hisao Egawa, Kayoko Fujii
Animation | Drama | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

In the year 2032, Batô, a cyborg detective for the anti-terrorist unit Public Security Section 9, investigates the case of a female robot--one created solely for sexual pleasure--who slaughtered her owner.

Director: Mamoru Oshii
Stars: Akio Ôtsuka, Atsuko Tanaka, Tamio Ôki
Animation | Action | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

Concurrent theatrical ending of the TV series "Shin Seiki Evangelion" (1995).

Directors: Hideaki Anno, Kazuya Tsurumaki
Stars: Megumi Ogata, Megumi Hayashibara, Yûko Miyamura
Perfect Blue (1997)
Animation | Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A retired pop-singer-turned-actress' sense of reality is shaken when she is stalked by an obsessed fan and seemingly a ghost of her past.

Director: Satoshi Kon
Stars: Junko Iwao, Rica Matsumoto, Shinpachi Tsuji
Animation | Action | Adventure
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

Warrior/pacifist Princess Nausicaä desperately struggles to prevent two warring nations from destroying themselves and their dying planet.

Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Stars: Sumi Shimamoto, Mahito Tsujimura, Hisako Kyôda
Animation | Action | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A hacker known as the Puppet Master is hunted by a female cyborg cop and her partner. This film is a revised version of Ghost in the Shell (1995).

Director: Mamoru Oshii
Stars: Atsuko Tanaka, Akio Ôtsuka, Kôichi Yamadera
Animation | Action | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A terrorist explosion releases a deadly virus on the masses, and it's up the bounty-hunting Bebop crew to catch the cold-blooded culprit.

Directors: Shinichirô Watanabe, Hiroyuki Okiura
Stars: Beau Billingslea, Melissa Fahn, Nicholas Guest
Metropolis (2001)
Animation | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Kenichi and his uncle Shunsaku Ban must find the mystery behind robot girl Tima.

Director: Rintaro
Stars: Toshio Furukawa, Scott Weinger, Yuka Imoto
Animation | Action | Adventure
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

When a girl is abducted by a vampire, a legendary bounty hunter is hired to bring her back.

Director: Yoshiaki Kawajiri
Stars: Hideyuki Tanaka, Ichirô Nagai, Kôichi Yamadera
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Mitsuo Iwata ...
Kaneda (voice)
Nozomu Sasaki ...
Tetsuo (voice)
Mami Koyama ...
Kei (voice)
Tesshô Genda ...
Ryu (voice) (as Tetsusho Genda)
Hiroshi Ôtake ...
Nezu (voice) (as Hiroshi Otake)
Kôichi Kitamura ...
Miyako / Council 1 (voice)
Michihiro Ikemizu ...
Inspector / Council 8 (voice)
Yuriko Fuchizaki ...
Kaori (voice)
Masaaki Ôkura ...
Yamagata (voice)
Tarô Arakawa ...
Watanabe / Council 7 / Army (voice)
Takeshi Kusao ...
Kai (voice)
Kazumi Tanaka ...
Army (voice)
Masayuki Katô ...
Sakiyama / Council 4 (voice)
Yôsuke Akimoto ...
Barkeep (voice)
Masato Hirano ...
Yûji / Council 6 / Spy (voice)
Edit

Storyline

Kaneda is a bike gang leader whose close friend Tetsuo gets involved in a government secret project known as Akira. On his way to save Tetsuo, Kaneda runs into a group of anti-government activists, greedy politicians, irresponsible scientists and a powerful military leader. The confrontation sparks off Tetsuo's supernatural power leading to bloody death, a coup attempt and the final battle in Tokyo Olympiad where Akira's secrets were buried 30 years ago. Written by Tzung-I Lin <tzung@hugo.att.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The end of the world was only the beginning See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for graphic violence and brief nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

24 July 2001 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Akira: The Special Edition  »

Box Office

Budget:

JPY 1,100,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$439,162 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(70 mm prints)| (re-release)| (35 mm prints)| (2001 re-issue)

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

In the riot scene, Kei pushes past a man wearing a 'Young Magazine' t-shirt. Young Magazine was the bi-monthly comics anthology series that the original Akira manga was serialized in. See more »

Goofs

When the camera is far away from Akira's capsule, the nameplate is in katakana (a Japanese alphabet). When Tetsuo walks closer, it has mystically been translated to Romaji (English) characters. See more »

Quotes

Kiyoko: The future is not a straight line. It is filled with many crossroads. There must be a future that we can choose for ourselves.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Credits roll with Big Bang-like footage of stars and galaxies, in the background. See more »

Connections

References Harmagedon: Genma taisen (1983) See more »

Soundtracks

Tokyo Shoeshine Boy
Performed by Teruko Akatsuki
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Landmark Japanese animation that opens boundaries and minds.
29 March 2005 | by (Brighton, England) – See all my reviews

'Akira' is an astonishingly influential film, easily as much so as cinema's touchstones Citizen Kane and Pulp Fiction. Its impact is made more difficult to judge, though, given that it was made more than sixteen years ago, and didn't make an initial impact outside of Japan. Oddly, this made its influence even more profound, benefiting from 'word of mouth' and the influx of cheap VHS at the end of the Eighties. It's also gained enough of a following to warrant being digitally remastered, at a cost of over US$1 million, as a 'Special Edition,' which I am basing these comments on.

Rather than suffering the humiliation of being advertised, Akira filtered, like a software virus, into the bedrooms of what would become Generation X. Hollywood began to sit up and pay attention after teens began abandoning the pap of the day like Last Action Hero, and started seeking out something different, dissident, and Akira finally had its audience. Japanese animation now has a firm presence in our media, and so many paths lead back to the cultural genesis of Akira. Finally, its role in the history of film was cemented with the release of last year's mega-hit, the Wachowski brothers' The Matrix. Without Akira, there is no Matrix, and with no Matrix, you have to wonder how very different Western cinema would be today.

So what is Akira? It's a Japanese animated film, an adaptation of 2,000 pages worth of graphic novel by Katsuhiro Otomo and set in the futuristic world of Neo-Tokyo. Rebuilt from the ashes of World War 3, it's a technological dream of neon, computers and soaring science, mated to the social nightmare of corrupt politicians, a rampant military and an oppressed working class. Add to this the rise of a powerful breed of psychics (or 'psionics') capable of various degrees of telepathy and telekinesis, and somehow linked to a top secret military project known as Akira, and Neo-Tokyo seems ready to explode. You can almost feel the heat, the sweat, and the grime, courtesy of the borderline-masochistic attention to detail in every frame of every scene of animation.

Akira is all about hyper-reality, which later became known as bullet time. Animation, and more importantly imagination, allows impossibly kinetic and 'free' camera movement. The style rams home every car crash, explosion and death defying stunt. It's not the easiest film to watch in one sitting, nor indeed, at all, but you'll come away knowing where the inspiration behind so many late Nineties blockbusters came from. More importantly, you'll appreciate how mediums come to influence other mediums, and barriers such as language and culture can be hurdled with ease.

It's not just an action-fest either. The main arc of the story is that of Tetsuo, who begins developing psychic powers but doesn't understand what is happening to him or the responsibilities that come with such godlike power. This opens the door to some genuinely moving scenes of film-making endeavour and artistic triumph, as Tetsuo wonders if he is losing his mind and eventually lashes out against anyone and everyone. The standout scene in the whole film, for me, should be mentioned about here. Whilst under observation in a hospital bed, Tetsuo hallucinates being attacked by childhood toys. Dreams and reality are folded into each other and so it remains for much of the rest of the film. Horizons peel away and reality itself seems to disintegrate, fragment after animated fragment, as Tetsuo battles his way to downtown Neo-Tokyo and prepares to face Akira, whatever that may mean.

The only other character developed to this level is his best friend Kaneda, who in a number of small, well-judged scenes, comes across as bright, breezy, confident and heroic, and on hand to reason with Tetsuo. No matter what point Tetsuo's powers escalate to, and no matter how much he is wanted by the police and the military, Kaneda just wants his old friend back, and it is this hope of redemption which gives the film its emotional backbone.

Other strengths include the intelligent use of sound. A minimum of scoring is used: mostly Japanese drums and percussion, and some voices during dramatic parts. More interesting is the use of silence, absolute flat silence, during key moments. It fits in very well with the themes of psychic/telepathic powers, and in a more general way, the vivid hyper-reality of the film's delivery. Put it this way - when you dream, you dream in a silence of implied words, and Akira knows this too.

I thought the dialogue was excellent too. The street kids have catchy and sardonic street lingo ("Tetsuo's our friend! If anyone's going to kill him, it should be us!") The military are represented by a titanic general whose lines have gained a certain amount of hilarity during translation ("You hedonistic fools! Can't you see it is utterly pointless to fight each other!") I found myself eagerly awaiting the next punchy exchange between players, which is something that Hollywood has been missing recently. In seven out of ten films I see, the dialogue is truly awful. How difficult can it be to get two people to talk naturally?

'Akira' is not for everyone. In the first twenty minutes we have strong language, an attempted rape and the kinetic carnage of a fight between rival biker gangs. Some will simply not tolerate this in an animated movie which is, despite all efforts, going to be viewed by younger children. Even if you can stomach the unsavoury content, you might be beaten by the sheer oddness of Japanese culture. (They certainly have an unhealthy obsession with seeing Tokyo laid to waste.) But if you can skip over these points and see the overall genius of Akira, you may just appreciate Akira's place on the pantheon of modern culture.


246 of 270 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Akira Q+A Thread Miller0700
Pls DON'T ruin one of the BEST FILMS EVER by watching dubbed.... rollingthedeepdice
Other movies that correctly predicted... quionaxionada
Question about the manga's ending... TheDoctorfromOz
I cant get Kaori's death seen... Kuntana
How Gory is this? EpsilonX
Discuss Akira (1988) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?