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Akira's Responsible for all That's Bad in Anime!
By Animefringe's own assistant editor Neil Creek
Akira is responsible for everything bad in anime!
I'm gonna be brutal here. I HATED Akira. And you know what? I think Akira is largely responsible for the bad rep anime has in the west, as well as for atrocious anime like Dragonball Z and other fighting focused hormone driven anime and the fanaticism that surrounds them.
How can I possibly say this? Akira was one of the first anime movies to make it big in the west. Enough so that it became well known, even outside the video community. School kids talked about it, parents wondered what it was and movie critics praised/damned it. It's such a damn shame that anime's first ambassador was such a load of crap!
Akira is violent, pointless, violent, gory, violent, confusing, violent and downright weird! How many other movies do you know where the 'hero' of the story is haunted by a teddy bear and a Tonka car, is obsessed with finding a brain in a jar and finally ends up becoming a gigantic mountain of flesh, goo, tentacles and god knows what else! Not to mention killing his girlfriend by surrounding and squishing her in his own bulk with a distasteful spurt of blood...
Gang violence, heavy weapons abuse, psychic geriatric 8 year olds, a stereotypical mad scientist (complete with white hair, crazy look and a lab coat)... The list of absurdities goes on and on. The plot is vapor thin, the characters are more two-dimensional than a daytime soap, and the action carries the violence, not the story.
Neil must have something against Akira for some reason.
Does this movie have ANY redeeming features? Ummmmm.... Well the artwork's pretty good in some places, especially the cityscapes. But if that's all you want, go get Ghost in the Shell!
To be fair, I have only seen the old English dub, and even many Akira fans will agree that it was a poor one. Also, I have heard from several fans who hated the movie, and whose opinion I trust, that the manga upon which it is based is far more involved and makes a lot more sense. But to me, that's entirely beside the point! I hate the movie. Most westerners have seen only the movie. Claiming that "the manga is MUCH better" is no excuse for a bad movie, rather it is yet another tragedy, since an opportunity was wasted!
Also, I must concede that Akira's influence as a work of art has been much more positive than it ever was as a piece of entertainment. The whole cyberpunk-noir style of anime owes a great deal to Akira. The towering cities of steel and glass seen in many great anime titles, the glowing streaks of the motorcycles' tail lights, the smooth and fluid motion of almost every scene, and the general 'feel' of the movie is quite distinct and unique. As a setting, it is quite remarkable.
But as a movie, I still say its garbage!
This movie is nothing more than a gore fest wrapped up in a thin plot of teen angst and paranormal forces. Pure formula designed to excite the hormone overdosed teen male, and horrify his parents.
Yes, if not for Akira we would be seeing much more anime in the west, and parents wouldn't think that it's all violence and gore. Well maybe that's an exaggeration, but I don't think the damage that the abomination that is Akira has caused can be underestimated.
My advice to you: if you find a copy DESTROY it!