Wednesday, 4 January 2012


Japan: Katsuhiro Ohtomo, 1988

(Watched with the 'Original English Dub' from the US Pioneer Special Edition DVD release)

IMDB reference

AKIRA begins with images and sound to justify its omnipotence atop of the pantheon of Japanese animation. The opening in Neo Tokyo and the first drum thud as the camera pans into a crater is immense.

However, once the film proper begins and events develop I must confess to feeling a little underwhelmed by it all. The plot seemed rather muddled and any dramatic dimension to the characters quickly dissipates into a script comprising of repetitive shouting of each other's names (this issue wasn't helped by my mistake of watching AKIRA with the 'original English dub' as I'm told it has even more of the kids shouting).

I certainly don't mean to deny the film's merits: the art design and moreover the music are sublime. And despite my ignorance of Japanese animation I'm able to appreciate its historical significane and influence on the genre. Although having finally seen the film I'm left with a sense that several potentially interesting ideas and themes are ultimately not fully realised leaving the film to be good rather than great.

The Count's Verdict: A highly influential anime undoubtedly but merely a good film despite its classic status. Definitely worth seeking out if only to be able to see where modern anime began and how it has evolved - plus that soundtrack is simply stunning.

1 comment:

the danman can said...

This is easily a **** star film for me, if not more. So important and influential to animation and I've enjoyed it on many repeat viewings.

Did you watch the Blu-ray?
It has some of the most incredible surround sound I've ever heard. I'm not just saying that because of the review below; I actually switched back and forth between the Japanese and English TrueHD tracks and I still thought the Japanese one sounded superior.

Curious why this is only a *** film for you? Do you watch a lot of anime? I don't (I've maybe seen a dozen titles), but I still think this film is awesome.