Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Why Haven't I Seen That: AKIRA

On this edition of "Why Haven't I Seen That", we explore exactly why I haven't sat down and actually watched Akira. it's supposed to be an anime classic, as well as a sci-fi, and film classic as well. Its been on hundreds of top ten lists and has influenced countless films and television shows including The Matrix and mostly Josh Trank's Chronicle. It brought something different to animation and something new to film in general but I've never seen it or at least not completely until recently, sort of.
Akira has recently been released on Bluray in honor of it's 25th anniversary. WIth that I ended up getting it for Christmas, it was one of two of the only things i asked for. I had never seen anything from it, only a bit of what they've shown on television. So I had no idea what i was getting myself in for and after unsuccessfully trying to watch it at my cousin's house one night (i fell asleep) I tried yet again tonight. Again unsuccessfully as i ended up on the phone as i watched it, it becoming background noise to my conversation with my best friend. So in all honesty I don't think i can really say I have seen it, at least not yet. 

What I can tell you is that it is beautifully animated. Especially for a film that came out in 1988, maybe I was watching a remastered version. Either way it looks incredible. The film shines on bluray and I'm sure it'd look cool on a big screen in a theater. Which if i can get through the home video version I'm sure the theater version will look fantastic. I can see the influence it had on certain films and the influence it took from others. The city of Neo-Tokyo very much reminds me of the city of Los Angeles in Blade Runner. It's bleak and dark but it shines in the night. They both actually make me think of Times Square on any given night especially if it's raining. 

Like i said the film itself has influenced many science fiction films and I can see why. the visuals are breathtaking. The film kicks off with a high speed motorcycle chase through Neo-Tokyo as two gangs try and take out each other's throats. It makes me think of another visually engaging motorcycle chase, the one in the not as good as the original sequel Matrix Reloaded. That chase scene is still incredible even if the entirety of the film isn't that great. You can see where The Wachowski's were inspired. Another film that's heavily influenced by Akira is 2012's Chronicle. The film about the teenagers who gain superpowers, quite an enjoyable film with a very familiar ending. One of the lead characters goes on a telekinetic rampage throughout the city destroying anything in his path very much like Tetsuo does at the end of Akira.

I wish I could talk more about the story but I honestly wasn't paying as much attention as I could have been but it's okay I own it and I'll always have another chance to watch it at the moment. I say definitely check it out if you're interested and have never seen it. I advise you pay more attention than I did though. So even without my whole knowledge and on the visuals alone and the influence it has had on science fiction films and the genre as a whole i recommend you check this out. This film will be a classic for that reason alone. 

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