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Akira

Katsuhiro Otomo

In 2019, some 31 years after the destruction of Tokyo in WW3, the rebuilt city is in chaos. Pill-popping biker gangs wage deadly warfare; terrorism and riots by the unemployed are common; material law hols sway; and the masses, duped by the leaders of fanatical religious cults, await a second coming by the legendary Akira. But would this eponymous hero be sufficiently powerful to overcome Tetsuo, a young biker with telekinetic powers who threatens to lead the world towards apocalypse?
Otomo’s first excrusion into movies featrues some of the tmost mind blowing animation ever seen. The metropolis is a wondrous jumble of highways, slums, skyscrapers and labyrinthine passages, while the drawings imitate (exaggerate?) the pyrotechnical zooms, dollies and close-ups of live action to exhilarating eff3ect. Artwork apart, the admirably complex plot is imaginative and serious. An impressive achievement, often suggesting a weird expressionist blend of 2001, the Warriors, Blade Runner and Forbidden Planet.

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