TETSUOOOO! The Akira Thread

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TETSUOOOO! The Akira Thread

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Postby Squigsquasher » Sun Dec 29, 2013 5:31 pm

So, recently I watched Katsuhiro Otomo's Akira, having had the blu-ray lying around for ages but not having had the time to watch it. It's widely considered one of the greatest animated films ever made, and in many ways I'd be inclined to agree.

So, my thoughts?

At first, the film was fairly confusing, seemingly flitting between subjects like a butterfly on cocaine- one minute we're watching gang warfare, the next we're seeing a massive riot, then suddenly political intrigue, and then technobabble. However, it soon begins to make a lot more sense, and as the film progresses the elements that seemed confusing all pull together. For all its layers of psychic craziness and insane philosophy that would make Mamoru Oshii proud, however, at its heart is a simple, poignant story of the struggle of growing up in a world that has abandoned you, in many ways a damning parallel to the situation that was to come, with the bubble economy about to collapse and the entire country about to be thrown into disarray. The human element, the characters that drive the story, are some of the strongest I've ever seen in any film, let alone anime- the youths are honest depictions of real people, who live, love and suffer in a way few other stories have successfully portrayed. Even Evangelion's characters don't seem quite as genuine- and Evangelion's characters were superb.

On the technical side of things, this film is a masterpiece. The animation is fluid and smooth, looking far greater than one would expect a movie from 1988 to look. Seriously, it puts Disney animation to shame. The style of the film is brilliant as well, with much more realistic-looking characters than most other anime, combined with truly gorgeous cityscapes and mechanical detail. The soundtrack, too, is excellent, taking a minimalist approach of tribal percussion and chanting vocals, with very cleverly used silences and even breathing noises. By far the best song is Kaneda's theme, a hauntingly melancholic yet strangely lively tune.

About this point I'd be saying "However, it's not all sunshine and roses..." but the truth is, aside from the previously mentioned start, a confusing ending and a few slightly dodgy lines of dialogue, there really isn't that much to pick on. It's a fantastically crafted film, easily one of the all-time greats.

One thing I will mention is that this film pulls absolutely no punches. There is violence everywhere, some of it disturbingly graphic, and a few other scenes that can make you feel a little uncomfortable. This is absolutely not a film for the faint of heart.

Overall, this film is a masterpiece in every sense of the word. With an interesting plot, brilliant characters, surprisingly good philosophical elements, a wonderful soundtrack, intense action and some of the best animation in any film ever, this deserves to be ranked not just one of the best animated films ever made, but one of the best films of any format of all time.

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Anyway, that was my fanboyish opinion. Anyone else have their own thoughts on Akira?
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Postby pwhodges » Sun Dec 29, 2013 5:52 pm

With regard to the ending, remember that, as in so many cases, the manga on which it was based was only half written when the film was made.

On the dialogue, were you listening to the dub? Because there are two dubs, which the new 25th-anniversary edition has put together on the same disk (the original dub, long out of print except in Australia, is often considered more stylish, and the later one is more accurate but occasionally wooden).

The animation was exceptional in particular because it was the first anime film to be mainly animated at a full 24 frames per second. Most anime is animated at a lower rate, doubling or even quadrupling each frame to reach the projection rate.

Anyway, I agree with your assessment - it is one of the all-time greats.
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Postby Mr. Tines » Sun Dec 29, 2013 5:55 pm

My reaction having seen it this summer --

On Sunday, July 14, 2013, I wrote:I filled in a gap in my viewing by catching the 25th anniversary screening (subtitled) of Akira as a late show last night (and actually Tuesday will be 25 years after the opening scene of the movie). It was frenetic enough in that wacky 1980s anime style that it generally distracted from the general all-over-the-place nature of the narrative (there's a neat idea -- let's add it to the mix!).

I can see why it would have been a popular event back in the day, because of the concept scatter-gunning and ultraviolence; but as a mix and match of what were to become standard 1980s anime/manga themes -- neon dystopia (e.g. GitS, Bubblegum Crisis, ...) + psychics (a number of forgettable titles, in a manner of which Shinsekai Yori was a descendant) -- it was hard at this remove not to feel somewhat jaded by it.
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Postby Squigsquasher » Sun Dec 29, 2013 6:07 pm

@Pwhodges: Nah, I watched it in Japanese with subtitles. To me, a work as important as Akira deserves to be watched in the original language.

@Tines: I can understand that sentiment, although personally I think it's unfair to look poorly upon a work because a lot of the concepts have been copied a lot- especially as it was one of the original anime/manga to use the themes, and it did it so well. I do agree that it is hard to look back fairly on a work that has been copied to death, especially when it was so successful that there were so many crappy imitators- even Evangelion suffers from this a fair bit, what with all the imitations it got (such as Tomino's utterly disastrous Brain Powered.
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Postby Rodeo » Sun Dec 29, 2013 7:33 pm

View Original PostSquigsquasher wrote:@Tines: I can understand that sentiment, although personally I think it's unfair to look poorly upon a work because a lot of the concepts have been copied a lot- especially as it was one of the original anime/manga to use the themes, and it did it so well. I do agree that it is hard to look back fairly on a work that has been copied to death, especially when it was so successful that there were so many crappy imitators- even Evangelion suffers from this a fair bit, what with all the imitations it got (such as Tomino's utterly disastrous Brain Powered.


I'm on the opposite side of the fence. The more familiar you become with the schlock that make up most of the genres, the more you learn to appreciate the truly exceptional works. Akira is a very good example of this.

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Postby AR-99 » Sun Dec 29, 2013 11:40 pm

This gives me a reason to post this image I discovered on Instagram. The artist is boyaking.

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As for my views on Akira, in short, I consider it one of the hallmarks of anime.
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Postby UrsusArctos » Mon Dec 30, 2013 3:21 am

I love the old 80s dub on this one. Those surfer accents remind me of the Turtles, which I haven't watched since I was a kid. And the music is awesome. Genioh Yamashirogumi did an awesome job, and I wouldn't be surprised if the decision to use so much Japanese chanting for GitS was a result of Akira.
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Postby Fireball » Mon Dec 30, 2013 4:01 am

Read the mango, that's all I can say.
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Postby Giji Shinka » Mon Dec 30, 2013 6:37 am

I need to see this....Yes, I'm uncultured douchebag. :3
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Postby Falcon_of_the_Sun » Mon Dec 30, 2013 5:01 pm

One of my very favourites ever and still somehow underrated for/from the general, IMDBesque public (their loss, I guess). Like somebody as already pointed out, animation is outstanding and made the whole movie age incredibly well.
As I rewatch it, though, sometimes I find it a bit too long, but that's just me being in some kind of bad mood I guess.

To the thread opener, you might want to check out some other anime work by Otomo such as Construction Cancellation Order (as found in the Neo Tokyo anthology film and Robot Carnival, also an anthology film.
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Postby TomasJC » Mon Dec 30, 2013 5:29 pm

For me, Akira was one of those movies where I wasn't too sure if I liked or hated it until I processed exactly what I had just watched. But looking back on the first time I watched it I can definitely say that it was worth the confusion (and slightly disturbing imagery if you haven't seen other anime movies/series that are similar). Not to mention that epic soundtrack that accompanied the whole shabang, it really set the scene. Definitely a must-see for lovers of classic anime (especially for EVA fans, what with the whole post-apocalyptic scenario and mentally-disturbed characters). However, don't feel pressured to watch it just because it seems like the majority of anime fans talk it up. Some people watch it and think it is rubbish. But who really cares? It IS an awesome movie! (Wow, I'm a hypocrite.)

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Besides, Tetsuo's 'transformation' near the end was worth the wait- that scene was pure gold!
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Postby The Killer of Heroes » Mon Dec 30, 2013 6:41 pm

I really hope there's a version of Akira out there where Kaneda's name is written as "Canada" and then complains aboot Tetsuo being such a hoser.

Really though, this movie has some fantastic animation. Story might be a bit incoherent, but there of plenty of better films that make less sense than this. I'm totally gonna pick up the new Blu-Ray release at this point.

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Postby Falcon_of_the_Sun » Tue Dec 31, 2013 6:33 am

View Original PostThe Killer of Heroes wrote:Story might be a bit incoherent, but there of plenty of better films that make less sense than this.


I'd be interested in hearing what these other movies are...

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Postby Sailor Star Dust » Tue Dec 31, 2013 3:28 pm

There's an older Akira thread that goes more in-depth in discussing the film vs manga, the film itself, etc: thread/7167/Man-this-Akira-movies-takes-a-turn-into-WTFvile-at-the-end/

As for me, I read the first volume of the manga in high school (not that I remember it too well), but the movie's 25th anniversary edition gives me a reason to finally watch the damn thing. It's one of those films I've always heard about but never sat down and watched.
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Postby moonwolf2024 » Sat Jan 04, 2014 2:10 am

Akira is one of my all time favorites. I prefer the 1980's dub over the new one. I can't stomach listening to the updated version, plus it leaves out one of my favorite parts. I haven't read the manga yet but I'll put it on my list this year. It does seem a bit "scattered" but after watching it a second time you get it.

Just love when Kaneda screams TETSUO!! :tongue:
Maybe if you shut up and stop over analyzing everything you just might get it........

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Postby Reichu » Sat Jan 04, 2014 12:08 pm

View Original PostUrsusArctos wrote:I love the old 80s dub on this one. Those surfer accents remind me of the Turtles

It's probably because Cam Clarke does the voice of both Leonardo and Kaneda. :tongue:
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Postby UrsusArctos » Sat Jan 04, 2014 12:24 pm

View Original PostReichu wrote:It's probably because Cam Clarke does the voice of both Leonardo and Kaneda. :tongue:


NO WONDER!!! :rofl:
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Postby Agentomega » Sat Jan 04, 2014 1:35 pm

I can't believe we got this far without...

KANEDAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!

But yeah, I saw it my senior year in high school IIRC. Despite this being after having seen EoE, I pretty much had no idea whatsoever what was going on. Of course, it probably doesn't help that it was late at night and I was nodding off. Saw it again a few years later, and I really began to understand it.
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Re: TETSUOOOO! The Akira Thread

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Postby SuperUltraMecha » Sun Feb 26, 2017 10:05 pm

I'm surprised that there hasn't been that many posts about AKIRA, considering how much the film and manga left an impact on the east and west. And how we're literally getting closer to the year that the movie takes place in... By the way, I saw this really cool fan made live action trailer: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=t1GO-93Nt3c

It's really impressive, and it makes me wonder how a live action AKIRA movie work.

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Re: TETSUOOOO! The Akira Thread

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Postby Glor » Mon Feb 27, 2017 4:37 am

View Original PostSuperUltraMecha wrote:It's really impressive, and it makes me wonder how a live action AKIRA movie work.

The trailer music felt a bit out of place, but other than that it was very good. Really nice effects and everything.

I think a lot of live action anime movies could work very well if Japan ever put a decent budget towards one. Until then, we're going to keep getting half-assed schlock like Attack on Titan and the upcoming FMA movie.
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