18 thoughts on “Akira (1988) Movie Review

  1. I watched the movie during my first brush with anime (that was the Tenchi franchise) and Akira was such a different beast from Tenchi that it put me off reading the manga for at least a year. I didn’t realize it was rated R at the time so the sexualization and drugs and violence really surprised me and (considering I was only a year or two out of seminary) shocked me to be honest.

    I haven’t watched it since but it is one of those movies that I know I need to watch again as I’ve changed a LOT since then. One question for you, do you know if there is a difference between the regular edition and the 25th anniversary edition?

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    1. While sexualization is barely present in Akira, compared to other franchises where it’s almost an important cultural element… The violence is pretty impressive, since it’s mostly oriented around the giant blub and some physical violence. I feel like today’s level of violence in any form of entertainment is MUCH more intense though hahaha

      I think a rewatch would be a great idea. I know I plan on doing so in the future, probably when I decide to reread the manga series in 5-10 years.

      From what I know, the latest 25th anniversary Bluray simply contains enhanced audio with multiple English dubs (apparently over time, there were different voice actors brought into the project). The bluray edition also contains some extra content, like behind-the-scenes stuff and artbooks or something. Otherwise, I don’t think there’s a “longer” version of the movie depending on the edition you get your hands on. I might be wrong but I’m 80% certain hahah

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  2. Superb review my friend, I found it especially interesting given that you’ve read the manga series. I’ve always enjoyed this anime and it blew my young mind when it aired on BBC2 in the early 90s, which was quite significant as that was one of the most prestigious and respected tv stations back then! I can see how the more elaborate narrative of the multi-volume manga would lead to the necessary reworking and slimming down of the plot and that can obviously frustrate things. Still, I enjoy it for what it is and the animation and music (as a lover of film music I loved that you took time to talk about that) are ground-breaking and although there may be flaws to the anime I honestly can’t see a live action version working (especially if it’s Taika Watiti…we don’t want it turned into a goofy comedy a la Thor).

    For me though, Ghost in the Shell is THE definitive classic anime movie! I need to get around to reviewing some more anime – have you seen ‘Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade’? Think you’d like that one quite a lot!

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    1. Thank you, good sir! I’m amazed that you got to see it aired on TV. Now that’s something to remember forever. And I definitely agree there. Despite the issues the plot might have, I think everyone who has seen the movie, whether they read the manga or not, can agree that the animation and score make up for a lot of the flaws.

      I’m 100% with you. I am neutral at the idea of a live-action movie because Taika Waititi is on it… If he brings his comedy touch to it, it’s bound to be an ambitious move…

      I plan on checking out the anime GitS movie this year too. I saw Johansson’s adaptation and wasn’t impressed, especially when I know how much potential a live-action adaptation could’ve had if they at least tried to add the ideas behind the first manga volume…

      I’ve never seen Jin-Roh but something about the soldiers reminds me of Killzone hahah It does look and sound awesome! I’ll keep a note for it. Thanks for the recommendation! 😀

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      1. I went into the live action GitS with an open mind and hoping (even wishing) that it would be ace – but, alas, you remember my review for that. The 1995 anime, however, is a memerising masterpiece (again, you might recall my classics review for that) – can’t wait for you to check that out.

        Haha, yeah I totally get that Killzone reference and you’re right! Hope you check Jin-Roh out and enjoy that as well.

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  3. This brings back memories. I really enjoyed Akira when I first saw it, many years back. It was one of my early exposures to feature length anime. It’s been so long there’s much I don’t recall about it, such as the soundtrack. I’ll have to rewatch it at some point. I loved hearing your take on it from the perspective of having also read the manga, as I’ve never read it. Trying to pack something of that length into the much shorter length of a movie has to be a challenge, knowing you’ll have to leave out so much. And doing it before completing the manga? That’s quite a task, and full of risk of alienating the die hard manga fans. Great review, Lashaan!

    I second Chris’ recommendation of Ghost in the Shell. I’ve enjoyed every iteration of that franchinse I’ve seen, from movies to series (though for the moment I’ve skipped the US live action version).

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    1. Thanks, Todd. I really appreciate it. I think it’s the type of movie that merits being rewatched throughout our life. I know I’ll revisit both manga and movie in 5 or 10 years. There are things are simply “acquired taste” with Akira as it reminds me a lot of certain movies well-known but not loved by all (e.g. 2001: A Space Odyssey).

      I definitely plan on checking out the animated series/movies of Ghost in the Shell. I actually read all the manga last year to. I wouldn’t recommend the Johansson movie though. Despite being pretty in all the senses of the word, it’s too superficial to be a “great” adaptation… 😦


  4. Never watched the movie, though I heard some positive reviews. I do believe, however, judging by your review, that it’s not a good starting point for manga reading in general 😉

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  5. I’ve always wanted to read Akira and have even checked it out a time or two but sent it back unread. The early early manga that made it what it is today doesn’t always interest me. I don’t know that my brother has ever been happy with an animation movie version of a manga. Haha. The nature of a movie and even just a book don’t really mesh well unless the book is thin to begin with. I do love the sound of the soundtrack 🤣 and it might be worth it to watch for that reason alone … after I read it of course.

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    1. I think both the manga and the movie can be seen as two distinct things with barely any real ressemblances. It’s that different. And I think, for your own pop culture, it’s totally worth checking out the movie, even if it’s just for the animation or the score. The appeal for the story will entirely depend on your personal experience! 😀

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    1. Totally worth checking out at some point. Before or after the manga, it doesn’t even matter honestly! 😀

      It’s cause Letterboxd uses the half-star system with 5 stars being the maximum and to be able to represent the half star, I put my score on 10 and just divide by 2 hahah

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