Jake Corona: Storyline, Major Themes Thuy Ly: Overview, Technical Aspect, Cultural AspectsEvan Punongbayan: PowerPoint, Introductions to film and Text, Characters, Movie Clip
Manga SeriesThe movie, Akira, is based on a Japanese mangaseries created by Katsuhiro Otomo. Manga aresimply comic books that correspond to aJapanese style, which originated in the mid-1900s. Part of mangas popularity is thediversity to attract any kind of audience. TheAkira series ran from 1982-1990, and totaledmore than 2000 pages. Like most popularmanga, an animated version was created. Whileworking on the manga, Katsuhiro Otomo agreedto an anime adaption which was created in1988. Otomo was the director, writer, designer,and illustrator for the anime movie. With hiscreative control, he focused primarily on thefirst half of the comic book series.
Inspiration Otomo absorbed many influences in his life,which inspired the making of Akira. Otomo held a fanatical love for movies since he was a child, where he would often travel over three hours on a train to a bigger city in Japan to watch films. Bonnie and Clyde (1967) and Five Easy Pieces (1970) were two big inspirations in making Akira. He was also deeply impressed with the cityscape of New York, where he and his wife went on their honeymoon. His impression on New York was easily translated with his imagination of Neo-Tokyo. Katsuhiro Otomo is a big fan of the animated robot show Tetsujin 28-go. His love for the show resulted in naming his Akira characters similarly to the Tetsujin 28-go characters.
Technical AspectsAkira was created withapproximately 160,000animation cels. Everythingwas completely hand-drawnand hand-painted. It was alsothe first anime to incorporatelip-synched dialogue alongwith different facialexpression for the characters.Akira is one of the most fluidand detail animation of alltime.
Storyline: BeginningThe film begins with a nuclear blast that destroys the city of Tokyo in 1988. Thestory takes place 31 years later, 2019, after World War III in the city of Neo-Tokyo.Its a city of neon lights, technology and science inhabited by corrupt politicians,street gangs, and revolutionist groups. Kaneda is a leader of a biker gang called theCapsules made up of misfits including his best friend Tetsuo. While wreakinghavoc throughout the city, the Capsules run into a rival biker gang that causesmore havoc. During this chase between both biker gangs, Tetsuo collides with anodd looking boy. Unfortunately for Tetsuo, he becomes a secret experimentalproject known as Akira and is taken away with the kid by the government. Opening Scene- Click to Play Bike Scene – Click to Play
Storyline: MiddleTetsuo is not feeling well. Along with the blaring headaches echoing the name"Akira", he has some gruesome hallucinations of the earth crumbling and his gutsspilling out. Kaneda, on his way to save Tetsuo, runs into a group of anti-government activists who are looking to disrupt the AKIRA project and see whatdark secrets the government are hiding. Kaneda and the activists agree to worktogether. The odd looking boy in the accident turns out to be an Esper, a child withpsychic powers. In fear of Tetsuos growing abilities, the Esper childrenunsuccessfully attempt to kill him. Realizing the powers he holds, Tetsuo preparesto create chaos on the world that has oppressed him. Tetsuo eventually discoversthe location of Akira and is eager to find out what he is and hoping it can make hisheadaches go away.
Tetsuo Tetsuo is meek, anxious, and is often quick to anger. His unstable personality is a result of the pain he suffered as a child: abandoned by his parents and resented bysociety. When Tetsuo discovers his telekinetic abilities, he displays more of his stubbornness and naivety. The more he discovers his newfound abilities, the more he ignores the warnings of his strange, uncontrollablepowers. Tetsuo uses his powers by causing massive damage throughout Neo-Tokyo. Tetsuos feelings towards the mistreatment he felt throughout his life was his overwhelming purpose to seek destruction.
KanedaKaneda is the leader of the gang of bikersknown as the Capsules. He is arrogant,confident, carefree, and defiant. He shows norespect for people outside of his gang,especially authorities. Hisfriends woulddescribe him hot-headed, but loyal. Kanedais willing to defend and fight for all of hisfriends. His main objective in the movie wasto help Tetsuo, but upon hearing the news ofTetsuos malicious crime of killing a mutualfriend, Kaneda intends to kill Tetsuo.
The Espers and Akira The Espers are a trio of close psychic childrenwho have been been part of a secretgovernment project designed to acquire their psychic powers. Although the Espers are children, their bodies take on a wizened appearance due to the special drugs designed to inhibit their psychic growth. They are all selfless and caring, and they often look out for each other. Akira is also a young child recruited by the government for his psychic powers. He befriended the other Espers, but his powers were so much greater. His great powers destroyed the original Tokyo. As a result, Akira was taken by the scientists and was dissected to discover the cause of his sudden psychic growth. Akira is described as "the ultimate form of human evolution, and the consequences of humans trying to evolve too early by taking biological shortcuts.” Throughout the film, Tetsuos quest is to find Akira.
Storyline: EndUsing his powers Tetsuo kills anyone who tries to stop him from finding Akira,who is located in Neo-Tokyos Olympic Stadium. When Tetsuo finally discoversAkira, he could only find his dissected body parts housed in individual canisters. Adisappointed Tetsuo is confronted by Kaneda who is angered by the news of hisfriends death caused by Tetsuo. Kaneda unsuccessfully attempts to defeat Tetsuo.However, Tetsuo is in great pain due to his intense powers. Unable to control hispowers any longer, Tetsuos body begins to morph into a giant mutation. Thethree Espers arrive at the stadium to awaken Akira which triggers a giantexplosion. Kaneda wakes up after experiencing the childhood memories of Akiraand Tetsuo. In the darkness, a big bang is initiated with a voice speaking out, "I amTetsuo." Kaneda vs. Tetsuo – Click to Play
Cultural Aspects: CybercultureIn the 1980s,Japanese society begin to revolutionize information by usingtechnology to speed up data exchange. This Lead to Cultural Anxieties. Japanesecitizens were concerned that this new society would turn into a controlledsociety. Writers begin to predict the impact by creating cyberpunk genre such asAkira. Japan expansion into an information society transformed its economic &social structures. In 1998 Japan’s Internet market was the second largest in theworld.
Cultural Aspects: Post-War After WWII, Japan was faced with economic tragedy dealing with inflation andunemployment rate. The future of Japan was unclear and citizens were worried about the problem with nuclear weapons. Japan was struggling to control and maintain its own nation. Eventually, Japan financially recovered due to the significant impact of the Japanese government.
Theme: Corruption of PowerThere is corruption within Tetsuo is also an example of thethegovernment of Neo-tokyo and corruption of power. He was a weakNezu is the ringleader. Nezu is a character who often relied on Kanedaparliament member who is also the and his friends to protect him fromleader of the terrorist resistance harm. Tetsuo admired Kaneda, but hismovement against the government, aspiration is also a bit of jealously.but he has allegiance with neither. He When Tetsuo realizes his newfounddoes this so he can have all the power powers, he denies any help for heif the rebellion is successful. When could protect himself now. His hungerthings start falling apart, his avarice for more power caused him to lose hiskicks in and tries to leave the city control over his powers, whichwith a briefcase full of money. resulted in his destruction.
Theme: RebellionA key theme is rebellion against society. Rebellionruns rampant in the streets of Neo-tokyo,resulting in an intense amount of violence at alllevels of human interaction. Throughout themovie, rebellion is seen from criminal acts ofjuvenile delinquency to gunfights and to militaryand paranormal confrontation. The Capsules, ledby Kaneda, generally don’t care about anyone andthey wreak havoc on innocent bystanders. Innumerous occasions, they are disrespectful toauthorities and adults in general. Then, there arethe members of the Resistance movement. Theyare a group of people who believe the governmentis up to no good, so they stage numerous terroristattacks to disrupt the government’s plans.
Theme: Technology Technology is the source of all the catastrophe happening in Neo-Tokyo. The original Tokyo was first destroyed because of Akira’s extraordinary powers. His powers were a government project conducted by scientists. Tetsuo’s powers were also a result of a secret project. The government wanted control over Tetsuo’s powers, so he could be used as a human weapon. As a result, the combination of Tetsuo’s abuse of his powers and the government’s insistence to control it destroys Neo-Tokyo. Akira and Tetsuo embodies the fear of technological weaponry and the inability to control what we create.
Akira Parallel to JapanAkira is a film that tries to presentthe postwar society of Japan. It usescurrent experiences in Japan topredict the future that containsadvance technology. Akira portraysa tale about government corruptionand power that leads to civilianrebelling. It also showed Japan’scultural concern and economicgrowth. The film outcome aboutJapan demolishing due totechnology is fictional instead, itstrengthen Japan’s society.
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