There’s no point in denying Akira’s status as an iconic and seminal work of both animation and sci-fi. Even now, 35 years after its release, there are segments that far surpass anything that’s been filmed or animated since, especially when it comes to sheer apocalyptic spectacle. The term “mind-blowing” gets tossed around so casually these days, but the last 30 minutes or so, as Tetsuo’s powers run amok and everyone resorts to increasingly desperate measures to stop him, are exactly that. (And I shouldn’t have to say this, but attempting to capture any of that in live action would be a fool’s errand.) That said, my response to the film was a bit cooler this time around than in the past, and I think that’s because I’ve finally read Katsuhiro Otomo’s original manga. Not to take anything away from Otomo’s adaptation of his own work, but the manga’s storyline is so much deeper and richer. The anime hits all of the important notes, and of course, is a visual triumph, but there’s so much more in the manga.
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