The original idea was to watch Porco Rosso, one of Miyazaki’s fine movies, with an eight-year-old boy. That didn’t work out, so I pulled Akira off the shelf. Oops! Just a warning: this isn’t a movie for an eight-year-old.
I’m not very knowledgeable about manga-based anime, so much of what made Akira so revolutionary is lost on me. I watched the Trigun series and two Ghost in the Shells, and that’s all I can remember. My anime experiences are dominated by Miyazaki. I’m willing to accept that Akira is an important film in anime history, and leave it at that.
It’s an impressive looking movie, and the conclusion, when Tetsuo transforms into … well, whatever it is … is imaginative, even awe-inspiring. I don’t know the connection between the name of the character Tetsuo and the movie Tetsuo, which also features a person who becomes one with metal, but I assume such a connection exists (I think Tetsuo came after Akira … at least, the movie did).
Akira is fiercely ambitious, and it is easy to understand its large following. But if, like me, you come to Akira with no prior knowledge, you may be overwhelmed. The movie is erratically coherent (or occasionally incoherent, take your pick), which is perhaps to be expected when you are adapting something that runs more than 2000 pages. I was able to follow the basic narrative, and simply accepting the fantastic world of the film helps get through anything too puzzling. But most of what I am describing is of the “admire more than like” category. Despite being confused, I don’t have any desire to watch it again to pick up on things I missed the first time around. I might want to watch that ending, though … it was pretty cool. 7/10. Tetsuo: The Iron Man might match up well with this, but I hated it so much I can’t really recommend it. Watch a Miyazaki you’ve haven’t seen before, that should work.