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Reviews & Ratings for
Akira More at IMDbPro »

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Akira (1988)

Author: suspiria10 from The Void
3 March 2009

Rating: 5 out of 5

Genre: Anime, Science Fiction, Comic Book

Director: Katsuhiro Ôtomo

Stars: Mitsuo Iwata, Nozomu Sasaki, Mami Koyama, Tesshô Genda, Hiroshi Ôtake, Kôichi Kitamura, Michihiro Ikemizu, Yuriko Fuchizaki, Masaaki Ôkura, Tarô Arakawa

Synopsis: Based on the beloved Manga comic "Akira" takes place thirty-one years after the nuclear exchange of World War III, neo-Tokyo is beseeched by civil unrest and biker gangs. Kaneda, the leader of one such gang tries to help his friend Tetsuo after he gets mixed up in the Akira government project. The project involved the study and development of heightened brain functions.

Thoughts: What can I say that hasn't been said before? 'Akira" is an absolute classic of Japanese anime and a benchmark. It may have not been America's first exposure to the popular genre but it certainly brought it out of the underground. I saw this first in high school and it blew me away.

In Conclusion: This is the perfect place to begin if you are new to anime. Many agree that there is none better in the anime world and I'd be hard pressed to disagree. The new Blu Ray is phenomenal and a must for fans.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

One of the best films of all time

Author: IK from NY
22 September 2003

This isn't just the best anime of all time. I feel that it trancends its boundaries as an "anime" film and can rank amongst the all-time greats. What many don't understand in their haste to compare this to films like Princess Mononoke or Ghost in the Shell is that it came out about 12 and 7 years before those films, respectively. Akira was so far ahead of its time, that it's actually aged very well.

The story, centering around two members of a biker gang, actually goes so far in depth about the nature of their friendship that you actually forget about the theme of "man vs. nature" in the story. The SE DVD was done really well and it plays really well on a good home theatre system.

You can't possibly think of a film this layered as just another Japanese cartoon. It set a high water mark for anime and along with films like Macross and Vampire Hunter D; was very instrumental in anime crossing the pacific to enjoy widespread popularity in the U.S.

The only complaint I could think of at the moment is that much of the plot was toned down from the even more adult themes of the comic book anime that this was based on. Although many people think that the original dubbed voices were poorly done, I think that they gave the movie some extra character and charm.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Simply Stunning

Author: dee.reid from United States
10 August 2001

I remember that when I first rented the video tape of Akira, I didn't like it, most likely because I didn't understand it. But after waiting 2 months for the special edition DVD of Akira, I gave it a second chance. The second time, I loved it! What probably drew me into it was the stunning and beautiful animation. A second factor that probably drew in even deeper, was the musical score. It is definitely the best I've ever heard. The violence here isn't really as graphic as some people have made it out to be. Yes, people get shot, yes there are bodies exploding, yes when people get punched or hit by foreign objects, blood does flow, but all the blood and gore here is sustained. I won't lie. I DID rent this movie expecting a gratuitous bloodbath, but to my surprise there isn't really all that much violence as in terms of graphic violence.

Akira gets a 10/10

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Confusing to the weak of mind. The best anime film ever.

Author: Amano from Newcastle, England
19 February 1999

The first time I saw Akira was when I was young. I remember thinking that the animation was superb but it was not until recently that I discovered it's true beauty. The plot, whilst complicated, is a tremendous example of imagination and foresight. The film draws you in and you really get a feeling of empathy for the characters. I recommend this film whole-heartedly to anyone who wants more than stunning visuals and violence (Akira has a balance of both).

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Anime has had a devoted following since its beginnings, but it didn't have much crossover appeal in the U.S. until Akira came along.

Author: G K from Mars
7 December 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Akira is phenomenal animation with all the hallmarks of an instant cult classic. It's about a gang of slum kids in post-apocalyptic Tokyo who band together to counter the scheming of a friend turned bad.

Akira is a stunningly executed animated film, adapted from a comic-strip by Katsuhiro Otomo, that generates so much audience adrenalin that the uneven narrative is easy to overlook. At the time, most anime was notorious for cutting production corners with limited motion, such as having only the characters' mouths move while their faces remained static. Akira broke from this trend with detailed scenes, lip-synched dialogue - a first for an anime production - and super-fluid motion as realized in the film's more than 160,000 animation cels. Akira is a landmark anime film that that influenced much of the art in the anime world that followed its release. It also led the way for the growth of popularity of anime outside of Japan.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

2001 Remastered Version Blows

Author: jxlc from United States
23 April 2007

As most things that people try to "remaster," the 2001 version that Poineer Animations put out just doesn't cut it. I've watched Akira on VHS about 4 times in my life with the original English dialogue. That original cast had great voices that supported the characters. Although the translation may not have been as accurate, the actors were portraying the characters appropriately with their voices. In the original cast, the tones of the voices and calculated pauses gave the scenes that sense of urgency and strange phenomena. This new version has lost its aura. The new English voice actors made the characters shallow and stereotypical. These new actors are lifeless. They just sound like Hollywood rejects reading lines, as opposed to acting. My mother could do a better job with line delivery. I used to say that Akira was the best example of dubbing of a foreign film. But no more. From now on, I'm only watching it in Japanese.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

a great, but loose, adaptation of great manga

Author: eightspeeder from United Kingdom
3 July 2006

Katsuhiro Otomo wasn't even finished with his sprawling, 6-volume, 2,000 page epic Akira when he got together with a huge team of animators to make the film. The books were hugely ambitious, combining Buddhist-influenced ruminations on the evolution of intelligence (What if something like an amoeba were given the power of a human? What if a human were given power far beyond itself?) with a sci-fi/action plot taking place in a post- annihilation Tokyo, featuring everything from teenage motorcycle gangs, covert military psionics research, and something called "Akira". In the film, Akira is a perpetual mystery. Until fairly close to the end, we can only guess from the facial expressions of those in the know whenever the name is uttered. In the books, however, Akira appears by book 2 of 6 and features heavily in the rest of the story. This is the main difference between the books and the film: While the film builds to one massive climax, the books have several gigantic climaxes along the way and, therefore, quite a few more notable characters. Lady Miyako, for instance, is a huge character in the books, but only glimpsed twice in the film, and only from afar. Joker, the head of the rival Clowns biker gang, only features in the opening sequence of the film and has no lines, whereas in the books he remains important until the end as an actual character. Other such massive aspects of the books' plot, such as the Neo-Tokyo Empire and the covert American military operations to stop it, are completely left out of the film. But somehow, all this shedding of material that seems quite important in the books only distills Akira down to its essentials. It keeps the jaw-dropping action sequences and the philosophical weight while slimming down the narrative structure to something that feels like a much more natural fit for film. The core characters - Kaneda, Tetsuo, Kei - are still fleshed out extremely well. All in all, though the actual worlds of the books and the film are quite different, it would be impossible to say either world is better (though more hardcore fans will definitely pick the books since there is simply much more to sink your teeth into). So I recommend you watch this film, though not on an occasion where you just want something light and fluffy. It's dark, it's a bit gory, and most of all, it's extremely heavy. If you come away wanting more, then you should definitely check out the books.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:


Author: Jason Forestein ( from somerville, ma
1 April 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I really don't have much affinity for anime. I love animated films, but, frankly, beyond Miyazaki, I'm not a fan of this distinctly eastern artform. Ninja Scroll and Ghost in the Shell mean nothing to me. Though a typical anime film in many ways, Akira seems different from all the rest. It's a fascinating film with wonderful animation, and it doesn't contain the softcore pornography that often passes for artistry in the anime world.

It's been several years since I last saw this film, so only moments remain. What I remember: the apocalyptic showdown and some demented teddy bear spewing milk while the eeriest music I've ever heard plays. First, lets take the apocalypse--I love apocalyptic works of art; Mad Max, the Watchmen, Threads, etc. all had a tremendous impact on me growing up. Perhaps because I grew during an era of nuclear proliferation, I have always been terrified of World War III. Watching the Russian tanks travel across the wasteland of Afghanistan remains with me to this day, as does the fear that accompanied those images. Akira, at its end, taps into those childhood fears and those experiences awaiting the end of the world as we know it. This is an incredibly personal reaction, I realize, but one that I probably share with a lot of people between the ages of 25 and 40.

And then there's the teddy bear. It's probably the single most disorienting and frightening scene in the history of animated film. While in a hospital room (and while probably drugged, I don't remember), one of the characters has visions of two stuffed animals grow to gigantic proportions. Milk starts pouring out of them (I think, maybe I'm imagining all of this) and this strange, frightening music plays. It's terrifying and brilliant. One should watch the film if only for those two scenes.

The story, as I remember it, is fun as well, involving secret government tests and such. It's got a whiff of conspiracy to it, and that tends to make things better. All in all, a great little movie. If you like cinema at all, see it, and, if you think you don't like anime, then watch this and be amazed that you can stomach the stuff.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

best film i have

Author: guyzie_1 from United Kingdom
15 March 2006

I am a 15 year old boy and i bought AKIRA for my psp. i went to buy pro evo 5 but i was 49p short and because i am an impatient punk i didn't want to walk back and get more money. When i watched AKIRA that night my life changed, my friends say I'm obsessed with the film and i know they would not appreciate the film if they did watch it. If you have not seen this film go and buy it now you will either love it or hate it (like marmite)if you hate it then at least you wont spend your life wondering what would my life be like if i bought AKIRA but if you are one of the people that grasp the intelligence and over coolness of the film you will never regret buying it for a second. And you will look back with sorrow at all the wasted AKIRA free years and think,"why did someone not tell me about this film", this is the only Japanese animie film i have seen but it will not be the last AKIRA has opened my eyes to a different kind of film, a kind of film without actors that are in love with themselves and in which the word impossible is nonexistent i hope you will take my advise and go out and buy AKIRA right now...stop reading this and buy it!

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:


Author: annakaffuffle from bournemouth, england
15 February 2006

akira is somewhat mind boggling. without the background of Japanese culture, and the more specific 'akira' backstory this film can get puzzling. but it's worth watching a few times to get your head around what is going on.

more important than the tangly plot is the way this film looks & the atmosphere it creates. the characters are well presented, and developed. this helps to create the very dark atmosphere of the film. the animation is stunning, most of the film is at night, and artificial light & shadows are extremely difficult to render, it's achieved superbly.

overall if you like your films dark it's worth a watch, if you like your films complicated it's worth a watch, if you're into animation it's worth a watch, basically it's worth watching.

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