Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Movie Review - Akira

Akira focuses on the themes of Post - Apocalyptic power and the consequences of becoming consumed by it. The character Tetsuo begins as an ordinary teenage boy as part of the biker group that Shotaro belongs, however he is then captured and experimented on by a top secret government that unleashes raw psychic power that enhances Tetsuo from the person he was before. 'In between these mind-blowing bookends is a sprawling, cyber-punk epic haunted by the ghost of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and obsessed with the unchecked power of the human mind and youthful rebellion. It's also a wistful depiction of a friendship changing beyond all recognition.' (Newman,2008) The past events of Hiroshima and Nagasaki are strong influences for a great destructive force and how it tears the people apart from the ones scared of consequences and the others who are drunk with the power in their hands and believe they are doing good. Tetsuo becomes insane as his power shifts his personality from what he once was to a man who is no longer dependant on other people to protect him. The character is shown to break his chains and weaknesses of being told what to do, so that he becomes his own power and shape the world as he chooses. Towards the end of the film, Tetsuo becomes controlled by his power as it mutates him into a gigantic blob that slowly absorbs himself and anyone that comes into contact, this represents how people can loose control of their power if they are fuelled by rage and unaware of the destruction that they have caused.

Figure 1, (2011), Tetsuo developing his psychic abilities
The environment of the Neo-Tokyo has been uniquely designed to fit the world of the futuristic fantasy. 'The limitless nature of animation remains purpose-fit for this city-raising futuro-fantasy about a floppy-fringed retinue of cyberpunk bikers and their dealings with a group of telekinetic sages.' (Jenkins, 2011) The style has carefully connected the characters and environment to the story of the animation giving the impression of futurism and advancement of technology, human advancement. This makes the cyberpunk world of the animation and the telekinetic possibilities seem right with the fresh look of the colours and lights. Influence of Tokyo today has also been taken in account in the layout and design to capture the overbearing but impressive city scape and the strong connection of giant screens and advertising.

Figure 2, (2011), Neo –Tokyo

The animation takes great detail to connect certain areas of the story to show the viewer the psychological and physical impacts of destruction and what replaces it. 'Visually, Akira is stunning. The way smoke billows, engulfing everything like a growing amoeba; the attention to detail; the shafts of light that tie parts of the story together all give the film a truly distinct look.' (Munro, 2010) Tetsuo's dreams/ visions are one tie in that allows the viewer to experience how the character's mind slowly transforms as he is haunted by his fears from when he was orphaned as a child and bullied as a child which leads in Tetsuo finally overcoming the restraints of the three telepathic children to change the perception of what he fears to become an individual that is feared by others. Akira's destructive power at the end of the film creates the impression of the strike of the Hiroshima bomb and what chaos it left it's wake. The characters Shotaro and Kei show the reactions of people struggling through these events and a beacon of hope against the hidden government secrets of 'Akira' and the rising power of Tetsuo and how they adapt towards their responsibilities and what they are prepared to do.


Figure 3, (2012), Akira’s destruction


Figure 1, (2011), Tetsuo developing his psychic abilities, @, Accessed on: 14th July 2011
Figure 2, (2011), Neo –Tokyo , @, Accessed on: 4th August 2011

Figure 3, (2012), Akira’s destruction, @, Accessed on: 2012


Jenkins David, (2011), Time Out London - Akira Movie Review, @, Accessed on: 28th June 2011

Munro Donald, (2010), Eye for Film - Akira Movie Review, @, Accessed on: 6th July 2010

Newman Kin, (2008), Empire - Akira Movie Review, @, Accessed on: 10th March 2008


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