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Genre: Science fiction
Photography: Color
Running Time: 124 minutes
Country: Japan
Release Date: July 16, 1988
Directed by: Katsuhiro Otomo
Written by: Katsuhiro Otomo
Izo Hashimoto
Distributed by: Toho
Starring: Mitsuo Iwata
Nozomu Sasaki
Mami Koyama
Taro Ishida
Mizuho Suzuki
Tesshō Genda

Akira (アキラ) is a 1988 anime film directed by Katsuhiro Otomo. It was widely acclaimed by critics and has 2 English dubs, one by Streamline Pictures released in 1989 and another by Geneon Entertainment in 2001.


In July 1988, Tokyo is destroyed by a psychic singularity, initiating World War III. By 2019, the city has been rebuilt as Neo-Tokyo and sedition and gang violence have grown. One night, Shōtarō Kaneda has his gang, the Capsules, battle their rivals, the Clowns. During the brawl, Kaneda's friend, Tetsuo Shima, crashes to avoid Takashi, a psychic esper who fled from a secret government laboratory. Colonel Shikishima of the Japan Self-Defense Forces, assisted by esper Masaru, escorts Takashi home and hospitalizes Tetsuo. When Kaneda and his gang are interrogated, he encounters Kei, a terrorist belonging to a local resistance, and arranges for her release alongside the Capsules.

Why It Rocks

  1. Great characters.
  2. Amazing animation that still holds up to this day, and even surpasses some modern anime.
  3. The voice acting is well done, both in the original Japanese version and in the Geneon English dub.
  4. Even though Streamline's English dub was poor, they kept it fully uncut.
  5. Geneon's English dub is better than Streamline's dub as it has better acting, better writing and makes the two lead characters, Kaneda and Tetsuo, actually sound like teenagers.
  6. Amazing fight scenes such as Kaneda vs Tetsuo.
  7. Interesting concept of having psychic children trying to protect a post apocalyptic world.
  8. Mysterious great scenes such as Tetsuo's nightmare.
  9. It has challenged the stereotype of "all cartoons are made for kids" similar to how another classic cartoon film Fritz The Cat did in the classic era.

Bad Qualities

  1. The film didn't adapt the entirety of the manga.
  2. In the Streamline dub, the lip syncing wasn’t great.
  3. The story can be very messy for some viewers.