Co-Writer/Director: Katsuhiro Ohtomo
Running time: 124 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15
UK Release date: 25th January 1991
Watched on Sky+ Saturday 2nd July 2011.
PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.
I must admit I have not seen a great deal of Anime but having seen this I am keen to see more. The version I saw was dubbed into English, which made it a little easier to concentrate on the visuals which were quite stunning. The plot I found to be very inventive and quite enthralling, if a little complicated. Here’s a brief summary before I give you my thoughts.
After World War III, Tokyo is destroyed. It is re-built and re-named Neo-Tokyo. Parts of the old city still exist but are not inhabited. A biker gang lead by Shôtarô Kaneda, known as Kaneda for short, travels the streets, picking fights with rival gangs and generally doing what kids do. There are riots in the streets and anti-government protesters have broken into a secret facility and kidnapped a small boy. This boy has special powers and is separated from his kidnapper before he is involved in an accident with one of the bikers, Tetsuo Shima. The government people holding the boy come to pick him up and also take Tetsuo with them. His accident has released a power within him, one that he will struggle to control in the future. He becomes aware of another who had similar powers, Akira, and he makes it his mission to locate Akira. Many will try to stop him, including the boy and his two companions and Kaneda. Will they be able to stop Tetsuo from releasing Akira and possibly bringing about another catastrophe on Tokyo? Well, you probably guessed I’m not going to tell you here, those Spoiler Police are tough.
As I’ve already said, the animation is first rate, I assume that there was very little, if any, work done on a computer, given when it was made, which makes it even more remarkable. I did find it a little too long and a little too drawn out towards the end, but it didn’t detract too much from, what is, a very fine piece of work.
The thing that struck me was, as with the majority of Anime I’ve seen, all the action takes place from the point of view of the young people. Personally, and probably because I’m older, I would prefer to see a more balanced point of view. It’s only a slight niggle, I know, but maybe something the filmmakers might like to consider. Over all though, a rather excellent piece of work!… Recommended.
My Score: 8.6/10