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Akira (アキラ) is a 1988 anime film directed by Katsuhiro Otomo, produced by Ryōhei Suzuki and Shunzō Katō, and written by Otomo and Izo Hashimoto, based on Otomo's 1982 manga of the same name. The film had a production budget of ¥700 million ($5.5 million), with its combined production and advertising budget reaching ¥1.1 billion ($9 million), making it the most expensive anime film up until then. Akira premiered in Japan on July 16, 1988, where it was distributed by Toho; it was released the following year in the United States by Streamline Pictures. It gained an international cult following after various theatrical and VHS releases, eventually earning over $80 million worldwide in home video sales. It is widely regarded by critics as one of the greatest films ever made in the animation, action and science fiction genres, as well as a landmark in Japanese animation. It is also a pivotal film in the cyberpunk genre, particularly the Japanese cyberpunk subgenre, as well as adult animation. The film had a significant impact on popular culture worldwide, paving the way for the growth of anime and Japanese popular culture in the Western world as well as influencing numerous works in animation, comics, film, music, television and video games.


In July 1988, Tokyo is destroyed by a psychic singularity, initiating World War III. By 2019, the city has been rebuilt as Neo-Tokyo, and sedition and gang violence have grown. One night, Shōtarō Kaneda has his gang, the Capsules, battle their rivals, the Clowns. During the brawl, Kaneda's friend, Tetsuo Shima, crashes to avoid Takashi, a psychic esper who fled from a secret government laboratory. Colonel Shikishima of the Japan Self-Defense Forces, assisted by esper Masaru, escorts Takashi home and hospitalizes Tetsuo. When Kaneda and his gang are interrogated, he encounters Kei, a terrorist belonging to a local resistance, and arranges for her release alongside the Capsules.

Why It Rocks[]

  1. Amazingly well-developed characters such as Shōtaro Kaneda, Kei and Tetsuo Shima.
  2. Astoundingly beautiful animation that still holds up to this day, and even surpasses some of the modern anime.
  3. The voice acting is well done, both in the original Japanese version and in the Geneon English dub.
  4. Even though Streamline's English dub was poor, they kept it fully uncut.
  5. Geneon's English dub is infinitely better than Streamline's dub, as it has better acting, better writing and makes the two lead characters, Kaneda and Tetsuo, actually sound like teenagers.
  6. Fantastically entertaining fight scenes such as Kaneda vs. Tetsuo and the motorcycle chase sequence.
  7. Interesting concept of having psychic children trying to protect a post apocalyptic world.
  8. Awesomely mysterious scenes, such as Tetsuo's nightmare.
  9. The iconic "Akira Slide" scene.
  10. It has challenged the stereotype of "all cartoons are made for kids", similar to how Fritz the Cat did in the classic era.

Bad Qualities[]

  1. In the Streamline dub, the lip syncing wasn't great and the voice acting was cringeworthy at best.
  2. The story can be confusing at times.
  3. Our main characters can be unlikeable at times.


  • An iconic scene from the film, known as the "Akira slide" scene, refers to a scene where Kaneda slides into view with his motorbike, as he uses a sideways slide to bring his bike to a halt, while the bike gives off a trail of smoke and electric sparks caused by the slide. It is regarded as one of the most iconic anime scenes of all time, and is widely imitated, referenced and homaged in many works of animation, film and television.

External Links[]

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