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Worth A Look: 13.64%
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Sucks: 3.41%

2 reviews, 76 user ratings

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Akira (1989)
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by Brian McKay

"14 year old Anime' that's still ahead of its time"
5 stars

I'd heard the fanboys raving about this movie for years. You know the kind. The fucking geeks who have a 6 foot tall poster of it that they got on e-bay hanging on the front of their cubicle. I never bothered to rent it, because I figure anything that could inspire this much hardcore geekage is something I need to stay far, FAR away from. It took me years to shake the STAR TREK habit and finally be able to hang out with the cool kids, and by God, I wasn't going back. So what does a buddy of mine drag out at the house party? "Hey everyone, let's watch Akira". Oh great. Geek City, here we come. And then . . . miracle of miracles . . . IT FUCKING ROCKS.

The first time I saw this I was high as hell, and a lot of it didn't make sense to me. But the imagery was simply amazing, and still rivaled anything being put out today in the anime' world (it even puts the recent Metropolis to shame, in this reviewer's never-to-be-humble opinion). However, I saw it second time stone cold sober . . . and a lot of it still didn't make any damn sense to me. However, it still stands as an orgy of the ocular senses, and a brain-twisting cyberpunk epic.

The story revolves around a teen asian biker gang in a post-apocalyptic city known as Neo Tokyo (looking vaguely reminiscent of Ridley Scott's vision of L.A. in Blade Runner). They tear-ass around the place in these bad-ass high-tech motorcycles, fighting rival gangs and generally raising hell. One night, they're out prowling the streets and stumble across a little boy who looks like an old man. He's escaped from his keepers, a shadowy government laboratory, and is running around exhibiting some frighteningly powerful psionic abilities. When a member of the bike gang named Tetsuo is injured just before the government people recapture the boy, they take the wounded biker with them as well to be the latest test subject for their experiments. They are attempting to create a super-being with powers that boggle the imagination. The freakish old man/boy is one of their less than successful attempts. Overseeing the project is a brawny caucasian government agent who looks like Jesse "The Governor" Ventura, and two other "old" children. One of them looks like Louie "Are you ready to play THE FUED" Anderson. The other is a little girl who lays around in a floating bed a lot and, with her two male counterparts, has psychic visions. Kind of like what the Kirsten Dunst vampire-girl character would have been like if Spielberg had made "Interview with a Pre-Cog" instead of Minority Report.

When the Tetsuo escapes from the lab where he's been experimented on, he begins to have violent hallucinations and exhibits amazing abilities - able to do things like splatter his enemies against the walls and ceiling with the power of pure thought. As his powers and hallucinations become more pronounced, he begins to undergo a gruesome yet riveting metamorphosis. His best friend Kaneda tries to save Tetsuo, but when his efforts to do so fail, he may be the only one who can stop him.

I'm sure I'm not doing the complexity of the plot any justice. It really is an amazing, if convoluted, mixture of technological and spiritualistic themes. It is doubtless that much is lost in the cross-culture translation between the vision of the Japanese creators and what the Western audience is able to grasp. But what will remain with you the most is how amazingly detailed, vivid, and violent this vision of the future is (and, like all the best anime, it is excruciatingly violent in places).

Drive-In Triple Feature Mind-Blowing Cartoon Picks for Akira:

Okay, I haven't seen a whole lot of anime'. I'm no anime' connoisseur. But I know what I like, and the best two I've seen besides this one are still:

Ghost in the Shell - This tale of a cyborg assassin who ponders whether she is more machine than human was my introduction to the world of anime', and will always hold a soft spot in my hard heart. Plus, it's a damn good movie, even with the substandard english overdub.

Ninja Scroll - Ultra-violent and sexy, this stylish and sure-fire swordsman's saga is still THE definitive shiznit. Accept no Substitutions! "You can't be hard ALL OVER your body . . . can you?"

While it didn't impress me enough to go scrounging for my six foot tall poster on e-bay, it will definitely bring me back for repeated viewings. Maybe the plot will make more sense to me next time, but with imagery this vivid and stunning, who really gives a shit if it doesn't? I could watch it in the native Japanese language track, and it would be no less compelling.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=1928&reviewer=258
originally posted: 09/28/02 19:47:00
[printer] printer-friendly format  
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Brisbane Film Festival. For more in the 2005 Brisbane Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

8/25/18 Ted Fraraccio A true classic. A thought-provoking look at the abuse of power. Cam Clarke IS Kaneda. 5 stars
6/16/11 the truth Anyone who thinks this is hard to follow or needlessly violent is either slow or delusional 5 stars
3/02/11 chris c Visual balllet of a anime movie with fantasticly animated scenes and some graphic violence 5 stars
12/22/10 Josie Cotton is a goddess See the uncut version 5 stars
6/02/10 User Name Magnifficantly rendered. No dubs, just subtitles (come on, you can read, you lazy bastards) 4 stars
10/06/08 Shaun Wallner I really enjoyed this film. 5 stars
1/20/08 gsbr STFU Akira_773 and Zefram Mann. The old dub kills the new one. 5 stars
6/14/07 Anthony G A classic, destroys most anime out there and its over 15 years old. 5 stars
3/26/07 Indrid Cold If this is as good as anime gets, then I'm OK with never seeing another one. 3 stars
12/02/06 -_-''' One of the best animated film along with Spirit Away and Ghost In The Shell 5 stars
1/25/06 the laughing man superb in animation. kind of goes overboard with violence though. 4 stars
10/19/05 a ninja inspired "tetsuo" sound track but on the whole the books are better 4 stars
8/16/05 ES This movie shows how sexual repression and two atom bombs can mess up a whole society 3 stars
11/15/04 Dunce Classic sci-fi, one of the best, animated or otherwise. See the undubbed if you can. 5 stars
8/20/04 House of the Dead Hell, it's "Akira", people! The "Pulp Fiction" of anime! Classic, glorious stuff. 5 stars
8/05/04 DM Amazing how they left so much out of the book and still made it too long 4 stars
4/07/04 Sig Now this should win an Oscar or Academy... Oh well. 5 stars
3/20/04 Jack-pyschO-Lantern This is something James Cameron would do if Disney would let him. 5 stars
3/18/04 Umbrella Corporation. Violent, dark, depressing & sadistic... 'AKIRA' is what were looking for................... 5 stars
3/17/04 PAYNE_KillerZ fred, no offence but... THIS IS DA SHIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
3/09/04 fred ugly stupid Nippy a waste sick 1 stars
3/08/04 gray weird 3 stars
11/24/03 Sean Thomas Very fluid animation for a 1988 anime. The dubbing wasn't as bad as i thought it would be. 5 stars
9/21/03 Flounder This is one of the most outstanding movies that I have ever had the pleasure of viewing 5 stars
8/30/03 Rens Henkemans Arguably the best cell animation ever and fantastic cyberpunk atmos. Watch it. 5 stars
7/29/03 Jon Thumb the Toad Lyrik Stunning animation, plot, and action. A masterpiece. 5 stars
7/14/03 Jim Mind-blowing 5 stars
7/12/03 Sammy best anime ever made and maybe even one of the best movies ever! 5 stars
6/05/03 Chris amazing anime - best you are going to see 5 stars
5/04/03 roulettedares Greatest movie ever - and I don't even like anime. 5 stars
3/12/03 Butterball Cenobite confusing, adolescent-aimed plot and characters; but amazing animation and imagination 4 stars
12/04/02 XoNaR Plain awesome 5 stars
10/15/02 maximal01 The plot gets convoluted, but the "power = responsiblity" theme-and the movie-kick ass!! 5 stars
9/25/02 Morally Sound One kick ass movie. 5 stars
7/20/02 Brian the definitive anime feature in america. the new DVD is a solid buy. 5 stars
6/27/02 Zefram Mann The new dub is increadible. Better AND more faithful to the original story. 5 stars
6/04/02 Brian Although the new dub is great, the old, subpar dub was part of the classic Akira expirience 5 stars
4/29/02 Akira_773 The new English dub "sucks a fatty?" Odd, considering it actually crushes the old dub... 5 stars
4/24/02 maximal01 Never seen anything quite like this. It scared the shit out of me as a kid!klkllkkllkllkllk 5 stars
4/17/02 klkllkkllkll klkkkkllkklkk 5 stars
3/28/02 NeuroManson Don't like the dub? Turn on the Japanese audio, use English subtitles, and LEARN TO READ!!! 5 stars
2/09/02 koopatroopa new dvd dubbing sucks a big 1. wtf were they thinking? still kicks though 5 stars
12/14/01 Jim Amazing movie will blow your mind. Eeyaagh! Giant teddy bears! 5 stars
10/18/01 Reanna (kingrr@uwec.edu) Anyboy with an anti-anime bias should see this to get their minds set straight. Brilliant!! 5 stars
9/22/01 Jade Nguyen It's Hella Kool 5 stars
9/21/01 The Bomb 69 confusing plot and ending, bad english dub and editing, awesome animation 3 stars
9/16/01 LoOpY I love this movie! But steer clear of the DVD if you can, the new english dub sucks a fatty 5 stars
9/09/01 Filmhead Without doubt the best anime ever made!! 5 stars
8/20/01 Doust19 Incredible! Definately a viewing for anyone who thinks animation is shallow 5 stars
8/01/01 KC Au Incoherent, confusing and poorly drawn. One of the worst Anime I have ever seen!! 1 stars
6/14/01 zombie great anime 5 stars
6/03/01 spindrift19 Best Manga film ever, along with Ghost in the Shell 5 stars
6/01/01 javiero bonar i could beat off to this movie its so good 5 stars
5/26/01 Maria Confusing ending. Not just a guy film,I'm13 yrs.old and a girl,7th grade. I get the point. 5 stars
5/16/01 Dustin Great Animation & Energy/Bad Character Develpment, Confusing Plot, Bad English Dub Acting 3 stars
5/02/01 Jinx Beautifully drawn, jerky animation, no story 3 stars
3/31/01 Korben Dallas NO WAY DUDES!!!! i think Akira and Ghost in the Shell both rock. 5 stars
3/12/01 Jon Cotleur I think Ghost in the Shell is better, but Akira DESERVED to be... it kept too many secrets. 4 stars
2/11/01 LOOBER Imaginative with one of the best anime animations but confusing,bad ending,acid and grazy 3 stars
1/29/01 jjshabaloo you'll never see animation the same way again 5 stars
1/06/01 Matt If you do not want to have to think, don't see it. 5 stars
11/20/00 Son Gokou another classic anime with great visuals and cool action 5 stars
10/27/00 viking Animated ultra violence 4 stars
9/26/00 mr.roboto yeah whatever, this is one of the stupidest movies i've ever seen. where's Disney 1 stars
9/17/00 Patrick Clark Kick ass! 4 stars
8/12/00 Frank Mitko Liked it. Wish to hear about other anime. 4 stars
6/12/00 Azza Fucking brillant 5 stars
5/17/00 Tunnel Rat I enjoyed the film, but it isn't as good as Ghost in the Shell 4 stars
3/11/00 Inflatable_pink_sheep Saw it when I was 9 - even now it inspires me. 5 stars
3/08/00 Nevawuz (jog60@hotmail.com) Akira ( the Japanese version) is a work of Art---- a deeply resonant, life- changing film 5 stars
9/19/99 Aaron White Combines the kinetic energy of a Terminator flick with the panache of an Orson Welles. 5 stars
9/16/99 strike Disney will never have the guts to make a masterpiece like this one. 5 stars
8/21/99 Physh Akira put a whole new dimention into animated movies...intelligence. 5 stars
4/29/99 Rob Mckechnie Is there any other movie on the planet similar to this? It Kicks Major Arse! 5 stars
4/07/99 Ah Dooey Anime... gotta love 'em... 4 stars
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  02-Feb-1989 (NR)


  02-Feb-1989 (M)

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