Still A Japanese Cinema Classic
Tripwire’s editor-in-chief Joel Meadows reviews the reissued Akira animated classic, in UK and Irish cinemas now…
Director: Katsuhiro Ôtomo
Voices: Mitsuo Iwata, Nozomu Sasaki, Mami Koyama
First released in 1988, this animated adaptation of Otomo’s seminal manga series has garnered a cult following over the past four decades. Manga has just released a 4K restored version of it to UK and Irish cinemas. So just how does it hold it up after all these years?
Akira the manga was a groundbreaking series which acted with Lone Wolf and Cub as the gateway for many people to printed Japanese modern popular comic culture. Arguably this animated adaptation did the same thing for Japanese anime and so its importance can’t be underestimated.
Otomo manages to boil down the manga into a two-hour anime epic with the rivalry between Kaneda and Tetsuo at the heart of Akira. Visually, it’s still very kinetic with the bike chases still some of the most iconic in modern cinema. Neo Tokyo is brought to life with neon urgency here and the 4K restoration really helps it to jump off the screen. Seeing it on a big screen definitely adds to its power and there will be many people who have never seen it at the cinema as it has been a number of years since it was last on the big screen.
In terms of pacing, it does veer a little off course towards its end and it does feel like it would be a tighter film if it was shorter. But there is no denying its impact on cinema around the world. Akira is packed full of so many ideas and concepts and it also manages to capture the spirit of the manga onscreen thanks to Otomo’s creative guidance.
If you haven’t seen Akira at the cinema, now is the perfect time to catch it, although with less cinemas open currently, that may be a little bit of a challenge. But it is worth seeking out to see on the silver screen.
Akira is in cinemas in the UK and Ireland now