Aesthetically Pleasing Adventures

Aesthetic Inspiration: Akira (1988)

Last night at around 1 in the morning, I was sitting on the couch with my roommate and a good friend from out of state, Tylor. We began that familiar late night crawl, starting with Netflix, dragging through Amazon Prime, and finally ending up on Hulu. After watching a few episodes of Tim & Eric’s Bedtime Stories (I highly recommend the first season) we decided to find an actual movie to watch. We finally settled on the 1988 anime film Akira almost unanimously. It was a film that Tylor had already seen, but one that my roommate and I had been meaning to watch.

(Focus on the detailing on the walls, the album covers on the jukebox, and the colors and shading. That level of detail is absurd.)

The basic gist of the story is that the main character, Shōtarō Kaneda, is a leader of a biker gang in the futuristic, post-apocalyptic environment of Neo-Tokyo. Their is a great deal of political unrest, rebellion, and crime in this dangerous urban metropolis. Kaneda’s childhood friend and gang member, Tetsuo Shima, gains psychic powers which eventually becomes a threat to the government and Neo-Tokyo as a whole. The film follows Kaneda, a trio of psychic Espers, and the military’s  efforts to stop a crazed Tetsuo from destroying the city and awakening Akira, another supernatural being who caused the initial apocalyptic event.

I have to preface this by saying that I am not particularly big on anime. It’s just one of those things that I’ve never been into, save for Dragonball Z and maybe a little bit of One Piece.

I’d just like to take the rest of this post to talk about the aesthetic of Akira, which is absolutely gorgeous. My roommate, Blaise, is a comic book artist himself and watching the film with him was a fantastic way to see it. He provided so much commentary on the design and was able to point out things that I would’ve missed. I didn’t even realize that this entire film was drawn by hand, which makes it all the more breathtaking. There is a shocking amount of detail put into the most minute of things. Whether it’s the hyper-detailed backgrounds or perfectly coordinated colors, the whole film is an absolute treat for the eye.

(Just look at the amount of movement and color in this excerpt. It’s ridiculous to imagine the amount of effort that went into this.)

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