Japanese Animated Movie (1987). Akira Committee/Asahi/ICA Projects. Pr Shunzo Kato, Ryohei Suzuki. Exec pr Sawako Noma. Dir Katsuhiro Otomo. Anim dir Hiroaki Sato, Yoshio Takeuchi. Screenplay Izo Hashimoto, Otomo. Based on the ongoing graphic series by Otomo. 124 mins. Colour.
21st-century Tokyo is nearly destroyed when the misguided efforts of the military and various psi-powered Children (see Talents) help unleash the nuclear and metaphysical threat of the Akira Project, which is, in effect, both Frankenstein monster and a created God. The first piece of Anime to make a significant impact on the West, where it begat a continuing cult following of anime and Manga, A is a long and complex work of Technofantasy that does not submit easily to analysis. As a work of Science Fiction it shows the thematic influence of the cyberpunk subgenre, while visually it is indebted to arcade games, to movies like Blade Runner (1982) and even, in part, Star Wars (1977), with its greatest debt being to Comics art – indeed, A views like a graphic novel come to life; the US comic Akira (1988-current) continues the story. Its fantasy elements are metamorphic, contriving to produce an original vision from a combination of stock elements. [JG]