12th April 2021
While many debate whether Akira is a good film due to its bizarre plot, one thing cannot be contested: the cinematography, full of colour and expression, is beautiful. Despite the fact that the post-apocalyptic cyberpunk action film came out in 1988, it is a timeless film that was way ahead of its time. It was directed by Katsuhiro Otomo, written by Otomo and Izo Hashimoto and based upon Otomo’s epic 1982 manga of the same name. The film is all hand-drawn at 24 frames per second. The film, therefore, has incredible attention to detail. Whether you enjoy the plot or not, its colour and fluidity of movement are uncontestable.
The film follows the story of a biker gang, with the two main characters Kaneda and Tetsuo, in dystopian 2019 Neo-Tokyo filled with corruption, riots, new religious movements and scientific military experiments. However, the film is only based on part of the manga, leaving those who have read the behemoth of a manga more satisfied at the ending of the film due to a fuller context of the plot.
The main problem with the film is not the fact that it was based on the manga but rather that it leaves full explanations and key moments to the manga while only bringing hints of those aspects to the film, leaving many viewers feeling puzzled. While some can analyse some coherent meaning behind the film and reflections into Japan before, after and during WWII, the plot breaks down due to insufficient explanations and characters that seem unnecessary. If you would like to watch around two hours of beautiful images, a coherent plot up until the 80-minute mark and the inspiration for Kanye West, the Matrix or Inception, or would just like to know what the fuss is all about, this is the film for you. Be careful, if you watch this and blink, you’ll miss hundreds of hours that the artists poured into those frames.