In this edition of 30 Things, I discuss an aspect of my 26th favorite anime, Akira. This film has been well known to Western fandom for over a quarter century now. I even remember seeing the ads that were something to the effect of “Violent Animation from Japan that is Definitely Not for Kids” with some other late 80s anime that was likely trash. Then seeing it at Blockbuster in VHS form along with the other kids cartoons. That last part might not have happened.
Akira was the theatrical adaptation of director Otomo Katsuhiro’s manga of the same name. Originally released in July 1988, the film has gone through several releases and re-releases over nearly 28 years. The film is set in the year 2019 in Neo-Tokyo, which was created after a psychic explosion caused World War III in 1988. Normalcy has returned to the point where Neo-Tokyo is preparing to host the 2020 Olympics (just like real life), except that underneath all of the promise of a rebuilt Tokyo remains a deeply broken society. Two friends, Kaneda and Tetsuo get involved in a government project related to the incident 31 years earlier, and it has tragic consequences for everyone in Neo-Tokyo.