Sci-Fi December: Akira

Akira illustration by Jeff SchwartzbauerAkira – 1988

Dir: Katsuhiro Ôtomo | Starring: Mitsuo Iwata / Johnny Yong Bosch, Nozomu Sasaki / Joshua Seth, Mami Koyama / Wendee Lee, Taro Ishida / James Lyon

Year: 2019

Review: A landmark Japanese animated film which aided in making serious and mature themes internationally acceptable and mainstream in the cartoon form. A gang of young biker punks find their fellow game member and friend being embroiled in a secret government project dealing with psychic powers and the mysteries surrounding a massive psychic phenomenon that happened 31 years prior that is believed to be connected to a massive explosion that destroyed much of Tokyo. After being examined and studied the punk biker rejects the governments intrusion and becomes aware of what is causing his powers and becomes a dangerous threat to all of “Neo Tokyo”. The film features incredible animation and attention to fine details in its environments which would become emulated and copied by Japanese and American cinema for decades to come. A unique and intense sountrack by Geinoh Yamashirogumi does wonders in setting the tone for the psychic struggle – its one of my absolute favorite soundtracks of all time. A combination of intriguing psychic warfare, kinetic action, rad motorcycles, cyber punks, a frightening soundtrack, minute details and a vivid color palette – there are few mature animated features that stack up to it.

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