Katsuhiro Otomo directs Mitsuo Iwata, Nozomu Sasaki and Mami Koyama in this Japanese animated sci-fi classic where the weakest member of a biker gang is infected with apocalyptic psychic energy.
I first watched this on a coach monitor on a school trip abroad. The first thirty minutes drilled themselves into my harddrive but I do remember I struggled to remember the conclusion. Watching this on the big screen three decades later, there’s a reason for that. The last hour of the movie that broke Manga to the Western Hemisphere is very repetitive. One character shouts “ Tetsuo”, the other “Kaneda”. They miss each other with their laser beams. Then move to another location and repeat. And repeat. And repeat… The comics’ run wasn’t even finished when this was produced in Japan. Maybe that explains why the never ending finale is such a patience testing butt-number. Yet there’s still a reason why this became a cult classic… introducing a whole sub-genre of exotic animated nastiness to my generation of Europeans. With Akira you are never more than 10 minutes away from seeing extreme imagery never before put up there on screen. The opening act of awesome bike jousts and civil disobedience in a world that can only be described as Blade Runner without limits is truly thrilling. The stadium level body horror that follows is cruelly epic. Akira has never been quite able to live up to its own towering monumental reputation but in its finest moments you are seeing hardcore fantasy cinema with zero inhibitions.
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We also do a podcast together called The Worst Movies We Own. It is available on Spotify or here https://letterboxd.com/bobbycarroll/list/the-worst-movies-we-own-podcast-ranking-and/