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It is easy to see why this is one of the most influential anime of all time. Every moment in this film is gripping and suspenseful. The animation is beautiful and detailed. From the beginning, we are thrust into the futuristic Neo-Tokyo world and the complex setting is very naturally built up as the story progresses. The characters are perhaps a little one-dimensional, but this is an action movie after all. My favorite part is the music - it sends chills down your spine.
Akira is graphic, but by no means in a gratuitous way. It lets us feel Tetsuo's agony as he gradually turns into a monster. We also feel his delight at taking his revenge on the older and stronger Kaneda. We feel the "kids'" otherworldly aloofness to all the destruction that is happening. There is nothing that is really gratuitous in this movie. All in all the story is fast-paced and exciting, and raises issues of run-away technological progress that are increasingly relevant in today's disconnected post-modern world.