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Akira - The Ultimate Collection [1991] - 12.48

Artist-writer Katsuhiro Omoto began telling the story of Akira as a comic book series in 1982 but took a break from 1986 to 1988 to write, direct, supervise and design this animated film version. Set in 2019, the film richly imagines the new metropolis of Neo-Tokyo, which is designed from huge buildings down to the smallest details of passing vehicles or police uniforms. Two disaffected orphan teenagers--slight, resentful Tetsuo and confident, breezy Kanada--run with a biker gang, but trouble grows when Tetsuo start to resent the way Kanada always has to rescue him. Meanwhile, a group of scientists, military men and politicians wonder what to do with a collection of withered children who possess enormous psychic powers, especially the mysterious, rarely seen Akira, whose awakening might well have caused the end of the old world. Tetsuo is visited by the children, who trigger the growth of psychic and physical powers that might make him a superman or a super-monster.

As befits a distillation of 1,318 pages of the story so far, Akira is overstuffed with character, incident and detail. However, it piles up astonishing set pieces: the chases and shoot-outs (amazingly kinetic, amazingly bloody) benefit from minute cartoon detail that extends to the surprised or shocked faces of the tiniest extra; the Tetsuo monster alternately looks like a billion-gallon scrotal sac or a Tex Avery mutation of the monster from The Quatermass Experiment; and the finale--which combines flashbacks to more innocent days with a destruction of Neo City and the creation of a new universe--is one of the most mind bending in all sci-fi cinema. --Kim Newman

On the DVD: as befits this film's status as a Manga classic, Akira has a wide selection of extras spread across two discs, including a "Making of Akira" documentary, a photo gallery, a quiz and a "Make your own trailer" feature, as well as one hidden feature on each disc. The film has been digitally remastered and presented in widescreen format, with Dolby Digital 5.1 for the English-dubbed version, and Dolby Digital 2.0 for the original Japanese language version. The only disappointment of the disc is the animated Scene Selection, where the clips are rendered so small that they can be a bit difficult to decipher. --Rob Burrow

Customer reviews (av rating: 4.5):

Rating: 5:
wow : not only the best anime i have ever seen, but one of the best films. absolutely brilliant. just finished watching it and everything about it was great. the characters, the animation, the storyline- which is complicated, but no more than the next sci-fi film. the soundtrack was also brilliant, better than the usually unnavoidable sickly score to more animes around, and what is more is in Akira the lack of soundtrack in key scenes adds weight, very clever.

im not a hardcore anime fan, but i know a good one when i see it and this was excellent. weaknesses...well the character kei is a bit underdeveloped, and there are a few mystery minor characters but aside from that it was awesome. highly recomended but not for those looking for a bit of light entertainment or a "cartoon".

Rating: 5:
Classic Anime : Akira was one of the first anime films to become popular in the West and was way ahead of its time in animation and has a great, if complicated, storyline. The film takes place in Neo Tokyo where a biker gang gets mixed up with covert military experiments. The experiments lead to one of the gangs members gaining new powers he is unable to control and as the city descends into chaos the gangs leader must do what he can for his friend. Akira is a giant of anime and there are few such films released since that do not owe something to this great film. If the film has a weakness it is that the storyline is quite complex and does apparently leave a lot out that was in the original manga, but this is inevitable when such a large amount of source material is distilled into a two hour film. At the end of the day Akira is a must watch for anyone interested in anime.

Rating: 5:
One of the best anime films ever created : I remember being recommended Akira a few times before I actually bothered to watch it - and blimey - I was NOT disappointed!

The plot and general style of the film was very much ahead of it's time. Some of the action sequesnces are just mind-blowing.

This is the kind of film that leaves you thinking for days after you've watched it. I'd recommend it to anyone.

Rating: 5:
Love it! : The most amazing film i have seen. When i saw spriggan i thought wow the matrix have got lodes of ideas from this but this wow! The drawings are perfect. This is a must see film. if you have seen spriggan and liked it you have to see this film!

Rating: 5:
Buy this : I've seen this film so many times, and I much prefer the new re-dubbed version which is included in this collection. The original version is in there too, but the new version is much more professionally voiced over whilst still retaining the adrenalin and action. There are new scenes, and some brilliant artwork on the boxes. This is worth buying even if you have the original Akira.

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