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.
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.