By Christopher Totten
Photo courtesy of B.D. Fox Independent
Akira celebrated 25 years of release with a special collector's
edition Blu-ray that hit shelves on Nov. 12.
Whizzing motorbikes and booming explosions fill a vibrant world packed with lush colors and intricate characters. All of these wonderful sights and sounds comprise the 1988 Japanese animated feature Akira, which is celebrating its 25 years of release with a special collector's edition Blu-ray that hits shelves on Nov. 12.
Akira was created by the genius of Katsuhiro Otomo and follows two members of the Capsules biker gang, Kaneda and Tetsuo, through the streets of Neo-Tokyo. The story takes place in 2019, 31 years after the start of World War III, in a dystopian rebuilding of a war strung Tokyo. Neo-Tokyo is riddled with government corruption and terrorist cells, these rebel groups set on political change kidnap a test subject from a government hospital. Kaneda's and Tetsuo's paths cross with the rebel and the kidnapped test subject while they are running from Neo-Tokyo's military forces surmounting in a nail-biting motorcycle crash by Tetsuo. Following the crash Tetsuo begins to develop mysterious psychic powers which he struggles to control. Tetsuo's new found powers start to unravel not only his own life, but quite possibly the lives of everyone in Neo-Tokyo.
Akira delivers a powerful story that is packed with exhilarating action and contains the swift animation to keep up with the film's quick pace. While typical animation of the time cut corners and would often only animate characters' mouths moving, Akira took the route of constant motion creating a more vivid and intense form of motion and animation. Upon its 1988 release, it was heralded as a huge success in Japan and internationally. Roger Ebert, a top critic in the United States, selected the film as a video to watch and 1989. Since its first reception Akira has grown to be one of the most loved and acclaimed animated films of all time.
Overall, the film has a high amount of action coupled with an intricate and bizarre story that will keep the anime loving audience enthralled. Akira is a classic animated movie that's reputation only grows with time. It has even been reported that Warner Brothers has a live action version of the film in the work. Cinephiles of every nature should hop on their bikes and snag a copy off their local rental store shelves.