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Anime Movie Review: Akira 1988

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Akira Movie Cover
Credit: Taken from Amazon.com

Director: Katsuhiro Otomo
Studio: Funimation Entertainment
Release Date: November 12, 2013
Runtime: 124 minutes
Availability: On DVD/Blu-Ray combo pack, buy on Amazon or RightStuf


Akira is an anime classic, it is very well known because it brought anime to the attention of many people in western countries, but does it still hold up today?


In the year 2019, Biker gangs run wild in Japan, it’s during one of these gang fights that Shōtarō Kaneda and Tetsuo Shima run into an escapee from a government laboratory, due to this, Tetsuo is captured by the government and it sets off a horrifying chain of events.


Akira’s plot is very well done.  It has an interesting setup and the film establishes its characters and makes them likable.  You want to see what’s going to happen to them. 


One of the memorable things about the movie’s plot is that Akira is very hard to understand and it may take multiple viewings to figure out what’s going on, especially towards the end when everything goes crazy, in a literal sense of the phrase.


The animation is from the 1980, and while it’s an old movie, there’s something special about it, probably because a lot of animation is done using computers these days, it’s obvious this was hand drawn and it looks fantastic.  It doesn’t look too aged, but it’s still stunning animation.  The fight scenes look amazing.


The English dub being reviewed is the Pioneer/Animaze dub and not the original English dub from Streamline.  Johnny Yong Bosch voices Shotaro Kaneda and he does an excellent job, although many fans remember him for Vash the Stampede from Trigun or Ichigo in Bleach.


Joshua Seth voices Tetsuo Shima, he has sense retired from voice acting due to being burnt out, but he does an amazing job as Tetsuo and you understand his character and his motivations.  He is famous for his roles in Wolf’s Rain and Digimon.


Wendee Lee voices Kei and she’s also an excellent voice actress known for her roles in Cowboy Bebop and Haruhi Suzumiya.  Her work is definitely stellar and she did a fantastic job in this movie.


This movie is rated R for strong language, violence and adult situations.  This isn’t for kids and this is a movie meant for an adult audience.


This movie has been in and out of print for a very long time.  Fortunately anime fans can now buy this movie and DVD/Blu-Ray combo pack thanks to Funimation licensing the movie.  It aired on Adult Swim’s Toonami block and is available on Funimation’s Elite Video Streaming site if you pay $7.95 a month.  It’s a very well done movie that grabs your attention and leaves you with a lot to think about when it’s over.  It can also be very confusing, especially the ending, but it’s well worth seeing at least once, especially if you like anime.

It’s worth having in your movie collection, whether you like movies in general or you’re a diehard anime fan, Akira is a classic that deserves to be watched, even if you’re confused at the end of it.



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