Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Akira (1988)

Director: Katsuhiro Ôtomo. 124 min. Rated R. 124 min. Japan. Animation.

Apparently, the landmark of Japanese anime. Being unfamiliar to the territory, the whole feature was strangely both original and post-modern to me. There's a theory (probably my own) that when grown-ups are unable to implement their ideas into an adult/live-action movie, they resort to children's medium/animation - and this two-hour-plus film, which contains extreme violence, nudity, and extravagant sci-fi concepts that would make James Cameron shiver from thoughts of the live-action budget, is a testimony to that effect. With stunning visuals throughout, the story was so wild with imagination, even a sci-fi-lover like me needed some urgent Wikipedia research.

Mo says:


  1. I love AKIRA, I don't think there has been another SF anime that comes close. There are rumours of a live action remake but it would need a huge budget to do it justice. I will be just as happy if they never make it. I have this on blu-ray and it is stunning!

    I don't consider animation to be a children's medium at all. It is for all to enjoy and is perfect for exploring adult themes. Just as comic books are no longer seen as for kids only.

    1. Toast,

      I knew about your love for this film. You are right about the (failed) never-ending efforts to make a live action version. Check out Wikipedia's story:

      And about animation being a children's medium ... I knew that comment would create some controversy!


      Of course, there's no limitation on how you can use forms of art. My original idea was from my experiences of watching movies in post-revolution Iran, where censorship on filmmaking is so tight, filmmakers resort to making "kids movies", but then mix adult-themed subjects into the story, as a way of bypassing the harsh government editing. Or even take Star Wars, where Lucas has always said was destined for kids, but in the last episode openly created a metaphor to object Bush's policies. I don't think animation was historically created as a children's medium, but its imaginative capabilities were put to great use for children (as were comic books), making kids the audience for the majority of animated films/cartoons or comic books; i.e., a children's medium. But then, an idea like "Akira" comes along, that the imaginative process is so vast, it's utterly impossible to project it in the confines of a live action movie, and therefore, the creators are forced to use animation as their conduit.

      But again, that may be just my thought process.

  2. Akira was originally a comic book, it made sense to turn it into an animated movie. Of course most animated movies are aimed at children but the best ones always have enough elements to make them enjoyable for adults too. Disney's Pinocchio being a personal favourite. Pinocchio changing into a donkey was horrific!

    Living in the UK I know all about adult movies being censored but I guess it was no where near as bad as in Iran.

    1. Even some of the Brothers Grimm tales were nightmares. Imagine, Gretel pushes the person into fire to be burnt alive ...