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- Adaptational Heroism: While he's by no means perfect in the movie either, many of Kaneda nastier traits from the manga are suspiciously absent from the movie.
- Affectionate Pickpocket
- AM/FM Characterization: In the manga, there's a scene where Kaneda sings "Starry Starry Night" to himself in the bathroom.
- Badass Biker: Stands out as this because of his Cool Bike.
- Badass Normal: Kaneda was taking on a fully powered Tetsuo with a laser gun and winning. He actually would've pulled off killing him, something even the entire military was failing at at that point, but the gun ran out of energy.
- Big EaterKei: "Is eating all you do?"
- Butt Monkey: Gets the most amount of punishment while never suffering anything really irreversible.
- Character Development: Goes from a selfish, womanizing jerk to a genuine hero who cares deeply for the woman he loves.
- Characterization Marches On: At the beginning of the manga he's a complete dick, but becomes a little more tolerable by the end.
- Chivalrous Pervert: He's a total pervert to Kei at the start, but later grows fond of her.
- Averted big time, however, with the way he treats his first girlfriend in the manga. He doesn't really care about her much and only uses her for sex and to score drugs (she's doing some kind of internship with the school nurse) and when she tells him he may have gotten her pregnant he laughs about it.
- Determinator: Throughout the story, and especially in the final battle with Tetsuo.
- Disappeared Dad: He IS one (assuming his ex and unborn child survived the events of the manga, which is hardly a guarantee).
- Iconic Outfit: The red motorcycle jacket with the Capsules' logo on the back.
- Jerkass: He starts out as a big one, especially in the manga but matures as time goes on.
- Last Name Basis: Always goes by Kaneda.
- No One Should Survive That: Kaneda is by far the luckiest character in the storyline. In fact, it could be argued that he didn't survive the obliteration of Neo Tokyo and only pulled through because of an odd application of the Timey-Wimey Ball.
- Pinball Protagonist: He's not exactly the biggest player on the manga, and even gets Put on a Bus after the time skip.
- Supporting Protagonist: In the movie.
- Unscrupulous Hero: Sure, he saves Neo-Tokyo, but he's still an obnoxious delinquent.
- Abstract Apotheosis: To some degree, by the end, Tetsuo becomes more the personification of his own power than the character he began as.
- Adaptational Heroism: While he isn't a hero by any definition in the movie either, Tetsuo is significantly more sympathetic and takes a much longer time to take a flying leap off the slippery slope than he did in the manga.
- A God Am I: To some degree.
- Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: Implied to be Tetsuo's fate in the end of the anime film, as his enormous psychic abilities led to him being the god of a new universe.
- Artificial Limbs: He loses an arm to the Kill Sat then telekinetically builds himself a robotic one out of pieces of scrap metal.
- Ax-Crazy: Moreso in the manga, where he simply kills people because he feels like it.
- Badass Cape: In both manga and the anime film.
- Beware the Superman: A fair few undertones of this, given that his extraordinary power ends up destroying the lives of nearly everyone he comes into contact with.
- Big Bad: While Tetsuo starts off just as confused as everybody else, he becomes the main antagonist eventually.
- Body Horror: One of the most iconic scenes from the anime involves this. He also suffers from this in the manga, but over a longer period of time.
- Bridal Carry: A tragic version. Tetsuo carries Kaori this way all over Neo-Tokyo after she is shot to death by his own supporters.
- Despair Event Horizon: After Kaori is killed. He goes to Akira's chamber without clear intentions, but seems to be tired of everything and loses control of his powers by the last time.
- Driven by Envy: His motivation for lashing out against everyone and even his childhood friend Kaneda.
- Eldritch Abomination: The sheer amount of Body Horror caused by his Superpower Meltdown at the end turns him into one that consumes anything it touches. The only thing that could stop him was Akira's resurrection and the subsequent birth of a new universe, which definitely adds Eldritch points.
- Empowered Badass Normal: After discovering his powers.
- Evil Albino: In the final volume Tetsuo begins to mutate but is able to pull himself together. In his reconstituted form he appears unnaturally white because he lost all pigment in his skin and hair.
- Evil Laugh: "UWAH-HAH-HAH-HAH-HAH-A-AAH"!
- Forehead of Doom: Gains a very noticeable one after he gains powerful psychic abilities.
- Freudian Excuse: Poor Tetsuo had to deal with bullies of various sorts his entire life until he discovered his powers.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: From an insignificant bullied kid with a severe inferiority complex to an insane teenage monstrosity with godlike psychic powers lashing out at everyone who put him through hell. And that's not getting into the Body Horror parts...
- Going Cold Turkey: Tetsuo goes through agonizing withdrawal to quit the pills the scientists gave him to keep him from losing control of the Power. He throws his stash into the sea.
- Gone Horribly Right: The military succeeded too well in unlocking Tetsuo's powers.
- Healing Factor: To wit, Tetsuo survives multiple shootings, an overdose of medicine, an assassination attempt by Kei, his arm blown off by a Kill Sat, gassing with a specially-engineered biological weapon, and a missile landing on him. Dr. Onishi and the Colonel discuss his remarkable resilience.
- Japanese Delinquents
- Kick the Dog: Taking young and pretty girls to be his sex slaves, and encouraging them to take drugs that will most likely kill them.
- Lima Syndrome: In the manga, Tetsuo comes to feel some degree of sympathy for Kaori, even letting her take a nap with her head on his lap.
- No Sell: When a Japanese-American soldier tries assassinating him with a new experimental weapon, it not only completely fails to take out Tetsuo, but also heals him from the Superpower Meltdown he was suffering from.
- Orphan's Plot Trinket: As a child, Tetsuo has a locket with a woman's picture in it and he tells people it's a keepsake from his mother. He actually found it in the street and just pretends it's her in order to feel some connection with his parents.
- Out of the Inferno: Right before he starts fighting the military in the movie.
- Parental Abandonment: He did have parents, once upon a time, but it's implied they dumped him in an daycare orphanage and never came back for him. No wonder he became so screwed up later in life.
- Person of Mass Destruction: At one point Colonel Shikishima refers to him as "another Akira".
- Psychotic Smirk
- Put on a Bus: In the manga. After getting his arm shot off by the SOL satellite at the end of the second volume, Tetsuo flies off and is not seen again until the end of Volume 3.
- Sanity Slippage: Suffers from this as time goes on.
- Shadow Dictator: Akira is made out to be the ruler of the empire in the manga, but Tetsuo is really the one "ruling."
- Shrinking Violet: Tetsuo was very introverted as a child.
- The Sociopath: Reads like a checklist for Antisocial Personality Disorder.
- Sorcerous Overlord: Tetsuo after the third book. Just replace magic with psychic powers.
- Spikes of Villainy: Tetsuo's hair. Becomes a lot more defined when he starts using his powers.
- Superpower Meltdown
- Tank Ammo Catch: Tetsuo does this with his mind in the movie.
- Teens Are Monsters: A great example.
- Took a Level in Badass: Thanks to his newly awakened powers!
- Tragic Monster: In both continuities.
- Villainous B.S.O.D.: After Kaori is shot to death in the manga, Tetsuo goes on a massive Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
- Villain Protagonist: While Kaneda is the "good guy" of the story, Tetsuo drives the plot far more, and ultimately focuses around the development of his powers and his descent into villainy.
- Who's Laughing Now?: To Kaneda.
- With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Tetsuo goes crazy due to his severe inferiority complex being combined with psychic power beyond his wildest dreams.
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Naturally.
- Action Girl: Shown when she fights Tetsuo.
- Character Development: Begins the manga as a hardened militant who has no problem killing to achieve her group's objectives. As the story progresses, she turns away from violence and tries to spare lives when she can.
- Extraordinarily Empowered Girl: While she shows traces of this in The Movie, it's never explained why the espers chose her out of all the other people in Neo Tokyo, The manga explains that she herself has powers; but her powers are that of a medium.
- La Résistance: A member of this.
- My God, What Have I Done?: In the movie, she shoots a soldier to save Kaneda, and completely freezes up afterwards. It's implied that she's never killed before.
- Powers via Possession: By allowing the Espers to possess her, Kei is able to use all their powers.
- Willing Channeler: What her power is. She can serve a spiritual conduit for the Espers, allowing her to use their Psychic Powers and do things the Espers themselves cannot. In the manga, it is shown more explicitly; at one point, she had to cleanse herself in a ritual bath to get rid of all physical and mental impurities before using her powers.
Voiced by: Taro Ishida (JP), Tony Mozdy (EN, Streamline dub), Jamieson Price (EN, Animaze dub)
- Action Survivor: In The Movie, he is one of the only four survivors. He also survives everything in the manga, though not unscathed.
- The Atoner: In the later part of the manga, after he sees first hand what his evil plans have done to the nation he swore to protect.
- Badass Mustache
- Blood Knight: While he is the Only Sane Man of the military, Shikishima does not hesitate to enjoy a good fight, as being a soldier is the one thing he can do best.
- Colonel Badass: In the anime, he tries taking on a rampaging Tetsuo after the guy underwent insane amounts of Body Horror, and turns out to be the only person in Neo-Tokyo's government not to be heavily corrupt. In the manga, he survives Akira's destruction of Neo-Tokyo and once he sees the consequences of his actions, he starts owning up like a man and becomes a valuable ally to Kaneda and friends. There's a reason why he has the word "Colonel" in his name.
- Last Name Basis: His full name is Colonel Shikishima, but he's referred to by rank.
- Only Sane Man: The movie can give this impression of him, given that he is dealing with heavily corrupt politicians on one side and researchers who don't seem willing to balance the potential benefits of their research against the demonstrably severe risks. He's trying to run the research program while also trying to minimize the risk to the surrounding city.
- Papa Wolf: To the Espers, and also to Kaori in the movie. Because Tetsuo was advancing on her, he was the only one aside from Kaneda to score a hit with his gun.
- Took a Level in Badass: After the time skip in the manga. Before, he's a very angry Elite Mook who spends his whole time shouting conflicting orders. After, he's a much more thoughtful and outright heroic character who shows that he's a very badass fighter who's not to be messed with as time goes on, leading up to him attempting to take out Tetsuo head on.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: He's willing to do anything to protect his country, including starting a secret project that uses psychic children as political/military weapons, and using a government-owned laser satellite to kill a psychic teenager. In the anime, he overthrows the government in a military coup.
- Ambiguous Disorder: His behavior in the manga heavily resembles nonverbal autism, but it is never given an official explanation.
- Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence In the anime. The big explosion that left that massive crater was caused by him ascending into an energy form. E=mc^2 and all that. In the manga, he also does this with the Espers, though the process is less confusing.
- Berserker Tears: Sheds these as he destroys Neo-Tokyo after witnessing Takashi's death.
- Beware the Quiet Ones: He's a small kid who doesn't talk much, but he was the one who obliterated the original Tokyo all by himself. And he does it again to Neo-Tokyo after Takashi is shot dead in front of him.
- Break the Cutie: Witnesses Takashi being brutally shot in the head by Nezu shortly after being released from cryogenic sleep. Being connected to the Espers via a Psychic Link didn't help matters, either.
- Brain in a Jar: Only in the movie. And only temporarily.
- Creepy Child: Can come across as this due to his blank facial expressions, his lack of speech and emotional reaction to external stimuli. Oh, and he's one of the most powerful psychics in the manga.
- Dead All Along/Posthumous Character: By thirty years in the movie. Subsequent resurrections notwithstanding.
- Dying as Yourself: In the final book of the manga, Akira is shot by Ryu. Subverted in that he doesn't die, but he manages to recognize Masaru and Kiyoko long enough to stop Tetsuo and ascend to a higher plan of existence with his friends.
- Emotionless Boy: For most of the manga until the very end.
- Gone Horribly Right: Akira was created by the Japanese government as a project to create psychic children to use as military/political weapons. They succeeded, but he grew beyond their control and were forced to seal him underground.
- Holy Back Light: How he comes back in the anime.
- Human Popsicle: In the manga, he is placed into cryogenic storage while still alive. Tetsuo later thaws him out.
- Neurodiversity Is Supernatural: In the manga, he can barely speak or do anything by himself (Kaori has to feed him), but he's still the most powerful psychic in existence. However, it was never explained whether or not he was like that before the government experimented on his brain.
- Person of Mass Destruction: Do we need to explain what he did to the original Tokyo?
- Psychic Children: A former member of the Espers, except cryogenics allowed him to stay young while the Espers themselves had their bodies aged prematurely from drugs and experimentation.
- Psychic Link: With the Espers, which leads to Neo-Tokyo's destruction when he "feels" Takashi being killed by Nezu. Then later on he establishes one with Tetsuo near the end.
- Schrödinger's Cast: Alive throughout the manga, but Dead All Along in the movie (though he gets better.)
- Sealed Evil in a Can: Although he's not so much "evil" as he is an autistic and emotionally broken child with enormous psychic powers.
- Strapped to an Operating Table: This was how Akira was initially found by his friend Masaru in the anime, when the latter wandered off and found him on an operating table connected to various machinery.
- The Stoic/The Unfettered: Willing to stop Tetsuo in the later half of the manga by whatever means necessary. Barely emotes.
- They Would Cut You Up: In the movie they did after he died. However, he fails to stay cut up.
- True Companions: As it turns out, all psychic children consider each other this. Including Akira.
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Akira was created as part of a secret government project to create psychic children that can be used as military/political weapons, but when he grew too powerful he was cryogenically sealed underground and forgotten until Tetsuo found him. Then after emerging into the outside world, the first thing Akira saw was an old friend, Takashi being brutally shot dead in front of him, causing Akira to single-handedly destroy Neo-Tokyo in a rage. For most of the manga he was sought by factions led by Lady Miyako and the Neo-Tokyo Empire, and used by Tetsuo to gather a massive cult following among Neo-Tokyo's survivors. Kid's got a really hard life.
Kiyoko, Takashi and Masaru
Kiyoko is voiced by: Sachie Ito (JP), Melora Harte (EN, Streamline dub), Sandy Fox (EN, Animaze dub)
Takashi is voiced by: Tatsuhiko Nakamura (JP), Barbara Goodson (EN, Streamline dub), Cody MacKenzie (EN, Animaze dub)
Masaru is voiced by: Kazuhiro Kando (JP), Bob Bergen (EN, Streamline dub)
- Afraid of Blood: In the anime, the three are so terrified when Tetsuo accidentally cuts himself on a shard of glass that it foils their attempt to assassinate him.
- Animal Motifs: Kiyoko is represented by a rabbit because she is physically weaker than her friends and relies on them to protect her. Takashi is represented by a bear because of his generally pacifistic nature, but he will reveal his claws if he has no other choice.
- Apologetic Attacker: Takashi uses his Psychic Powers to pretty much blow up a girl named Mozu, but it's clear that he saw it as the only alternative and apologizes to her before and after doing so.
- Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: Possibly what happens to the Espers in the manga.
- Berserk Button: Harming and/or threatening Kiyoko is this for the Espers.
- Big Brother Instinct: Kiyoko is physically weaker and constantly bedridden, thus unable to defend herself. Takashi and Masaru, who are healthier by comparison, are very protective of her and are willing to shield Kiyoko from anything they perceive to be a threat.
- Creepy Child: All three can come across as this, due to their wizened appearance and their Wise Beyond Their Years behavior.
- Gilded Cage: The Nursery serves as this for the Espers, possibly because they know too much about what the government intends to do with their psychic powers, and to prevent information about the government's psychic project from being revealed.
- Girlish Pigtails: Kiyoko has braids, actually. Although she is far from youthful.
- Handicapped Badass: Masaru. Fighting an angry psychic teenager who is wholly more powerful than he is despite not being able to walk takes a lot of balls.
- Harmful to Minors: In both the manga and the animated film, Takashi watched a member of the resistance be viciously gunned down by riot police. You can guess what happens next...
- It is revealed later on in the manga that before the original Tokyo's destruction, the Espers were subjected to a series of horrible experiments by the government in order for their psychic powers to develop and grow, so they can be used as weapons.
- Ill Girl: Kiyoko is bedridden and has weaker health than the others. Masaru has polio and is confined to a wheelchair.
- Mass Teleportation: During Akira's destruction of Neo-Tokyo, Kiyoko was able to amass an unusually large amount of energy to teleport a large group of people (including most of the main characters) to a safer place.
- Meaningful Name: Kiyoko, when spelled with the kanji 聖子, means "holy child", which fits in with her psychic powers and ability to see the future.
- Mind over Matter: Takashi and Masaru's powers. Kiyoko is implied to have this as she was able to levitate herself and carry Takashi's dead body (for a short time) while Akira destroys Neo-Tokyo.
- Mystical White Hair: Kiyoko and Takashi.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Takashi being out on the road all by himself directly led to Tetsuo's motorcycle accident, which later led to Tetsuo's psychic powers emerging along with a series of events that ultimately resulted in Neo-Tokyo being utterly demolished. Thanks a lot, Takashi.
- Never Grew Up: Implied to have been a result of the government's experiments and all the drugs they have to take. However, while they stayed children, their bodies aged prematurely, so they look unnaturally old.
- Oh Crap!: Takashi's reaction in the manga when he meets Tetsuo again sometime after the motorcycle accident.
- Older Than They Look: Due to the drugs and the experiments, the Espers aged prematurely, so they look like they're between their late-40's and early-50's.
- Parental Abandonment: The Espers were possibly orphans and government wards, as there were no mentions of their parents.
- Pink Is Feminine: In the anime, Kiyoko is seen wearing pink clothes. She even sleeps in a pink bed, surrounded by various toys and dolls.
- Proper Lady: Kiyoko had shades of this in the anime in the Espers' flashback before she became the physically ill girl who was constantly confined to her bed.
- Psychic Children: They, including their Akira, were part of a secret government project that sought to develop psychic powers in children so they can be used as military/political weapons.
- Psychic Link: All three are mentally connected to Akira. When Takashi is shot in the head by Nezumi, the surviving Espers scream in pain as they felt their friend dying in front of them. When Akira is later shot by Ryu toward the end of the manga, both Masaru and Kiyoko sense his pain and teleport to his side.
- Sacrificial Lion: Takashi, who gets shot in the head by Nezumi (who was aiming for Akira.) And right when he had found Akira and was happily going to him! This completely causes an horrified Akira to fall in despair and fully release his powers, taking almost all of Neo Tokyo with him.
- Sleepy Head: Kiyoko, due to being physically weaker and bedridden from the drugs and experiments. Using her psychic powers tend to tire her out for long periods of time.
- Spared by the Adaptation: Takashi, in the movie.
- Strapped to an Operating Table: Masaru found his friend Akira like this in the anime during the Espers' flashback. Then later, all of the Espers were subjected to this to develop their budding psychic powers.
- Superpower Meltdown: In the manga, Takashi's psychic powers get out of control without the steady supply of drugs he needs to suppress them. It's possible that any Esper can have this happen to them if they stop taking drugs.
- Teleporters and Transporters: Kiyoko has the ability to teleport. This saves the main characters from being killed during Akira's destruction of Neo-Tokyo in the manga.
- True Companions: Due to being psychics, the Espers have a deeper understanding of each other than anyone else. It's what allowed them to endure horrible experiments at the hands of the Japanese government pre-AKIRA.
- Two Guys and a Girl: But since they're children, their relationship is platonic.
- Waif Prophet: All of them, but especially Kiyoko who is bedridden and constantly hooked up to life support.
- Wise Beyond Their Years: All of them tend to know things most people don't, but especially Kiyoko, who is gifted with precognition and can see the future.
Voiced by: Yuriko Fuchizaki (JP), Barbara Goodson (EN, Streamline dub), Georgette Rose (EN, Animaze dub)
- Break the Cutie: More like crush the cutie in the anime.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: In the anime. During Tetsuo's mutation he accidentally crushes her, and we see everything.
- Living Emotional Crutch: In the manga, she is Tetsuo's closest confidante and the one he turns to when he needs to be consoled. When she is shot to death in an attempted coup, Tetsuo's grief leads to his losing his grip on the power completely.
- Love Martyr
- Morality Chain: She's one of the few persons Tetsuo cares for. When she dies in the manga, he went APESHIT.
- Stockholm Syndrome: In the manga, Kaori comes to feel sympathy towards Tetsuo, despite the fact he forcibly recruited her and tried to turn her into a sex slave.
- Token Good Teammate: To the Great Tokyo Empire.
Voiced by: Koichi Kitamura (JP), Drew Thomas (EN, Streamline dub), William Frederick (EN, Animaze dub)
- A Mother To Her Followers: She deeply cares for her followers and anyone under her protection. When Sakaki is morally wounded by the Colonel's soldiers, Miyako senses her death and screams the girl's name. She grieves her loss for the rest of the manga.
- Blind Seer: She possesses clairvoyance, which is similar to Kiyoko's precognition, except it allows her to sense everything that happens around her in the present day and also compensates for her blindness.
- Demoted to Extra: In the film, she's a religious zealot.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: While probably coincidental, she seems to play a very similar role to Mother Abigail in The Stand.
- Then again, the book does seem to have a decent following in Japan. Naoki Urasawa is also a fan.
- Gambit Pileup: Engaged in one with the military. Basically she can't directly expose the truth about their experiments because it would cost her the cult she built around herself and they can't expose her as a fraud without publicly acknowledging their own misdeeds, all while they both try to undermine each other behind the scenes.
- God Guise/Scam Religion: A somewhat more benevolent example than most. She uses the powers she got from the government's experiments to convince people she's a Messianic Archetype in order to gain followers to help her bring down the sadistic military industrial complex that ruined her life. She does seem to genuinely care about her followers, doing all she can to help people after the city is destroyed and even seems to believe some of her own hype, as she considers her powers and those of the other psychics to be a manifestation of some greater mystical force that the military simply blundered into discovering.
- Heroic Sacrifice: She goes to battle a mutated Tetsuo with a couple of her followers so Kiyoko and Masaru can be protected, despite Tetsuo being way more powerful than them.
- Letting Her Hair Down: Does this in the last volume as she prepares to battle a mutated Tetsuo.
- Mentor Archetype: Assists Kei in honing her skills as a medium.
- Parental Favoritism: It is implied that although she loves all her followers, Sakaki has a special place in her heart. When Sakaki is killed, Miyako spends the rest of the manga grieving her death.
- Parental Surrogate: Is possibly this to Mozu, Miki, and Sakakai, who were likely orphans taken in by her church.
- Prophet Eyes
- Psychic Link: Turns out she had one with the Espers. She was able to sense Takashi's death after he was shot by Nezu, and later when Akira is shot by Ryu in the manga, she and the surviving Espers can sense it.
- Team Mom
- Technical Pacifist: Miyako and her empowered monks try to repel an invasion of the temple by Empire soldiers non-lethally.
- Woman in White: Like all of her followers, she is dressed entirely in white.
Sakaki, Mozu and Miki
- Aloof Dark-Haired Girl: Miki looks older than the other three girls and acts very aloof.
- Fat Girl: Mozu is noticeably plumper than the other girls. It doesn't exactly stop her.
- Kill It with Fire: Mozu tries to take out Takashi with this. It didn't work as he turned out to be more powerful than her.
- Lean and Mean: Miki is noticeably thinner than the other girls, but she's not really mean, as she has close friendships with Mozu and Sakaki. She's just ruthless and very dedicated to bringing Akira to Lady Miyako.
- Parental Substitute: All three girls possibly see Lady Miyako as this, especially Sakaki. When Sakaki is fatally shot by Colonel Shikishima's men, she imagines Miyako welcoming her with open arms before she dies.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Sakaki goes absolutely apeshit when she sees Takashi a while after he kills Mozu in front of her.'Sakaki: "YOU KILLED MOZU! I'LL KILL YOU!"
- True Companions: They see each other as such. Miki calls out to Sakaki and Mozu when she's shot to death to cover their escape, and later Sakaki is horrified when Mozu dies.
- Undying Loyalty: The three girls are totally devoted to their leaderess, Miyako, who took them into her group and gave them something to live for.
- Demoted to Extra: In The Movie, we only see him in the very beginning.
- Enemy Mine: He and Kaneda form an alliance to fight against Tetsuo's "empire."
- Heel–Face Turn: In the manga, he helps fight against Tetsuo.
- Monster Clown: Averted in the manga where he becomes a pretty friendly, as well as a valuable ally in the battle against Tetsuo towards the end.
- Scary Black Man: Sort of. His face is pretty Asian-looking, but he has very dark skin.
Voiced by: Hiroshi Otake (JP), Tony Mozdy (EN, Streamline dub), Ray Michaels (EN, Animaze dub)
- Animal Motifs: The rat. His overbite and facial features are shaped similar to a rat's, and he displays treacherous behavior that a rat in fiction would display. Lady Miyako explicitly calls him a rat, but also refers to him as a "mouse" at one point.
- Meaningful Name: His name means "rat" in Japanese.
- The Mole: In the movie, Nezu is the anti-government group's spy in the Executive Council, but he's perfectly willing to stab both sides in the back.
- Double Reverse Quadruple Agent: In the manga, he's allied to Lady Miyako and her aides in addition to his allegiances above, but the truth is he's playing all sides in order to grab power for himself, so when Akira is thrown into the mix he tries to kidnap the kid so he can use him for political leverage.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: In the manga. He tries to shoot and kill Akira but winds up accidentally shooting Takashi in the head, which causes Akira to have a massive Freak Out and destroy Neo Tokyo, reducing it to a post-apocalyptic wasteland ruled by two different factions.
Kaisuke / "Kai"
Voiced by: Masaaki Ōkura (JP), Tony Mozdy (EN, Streamline dub), Michael Lindsay (EN, Animaze dub)
- Death by Adaptation: Ryu dies in the film, but he survives in the manga.
- Drowning My Sorrows: In the manga, he does this to cope with the deaths of his friends.
- Libation for the Dead: Ryu pours out his flask for a fallen comrade at the scene of his death.
- Would Hurt a Child: In the final book of the manga, he shoots Akira to prevent an impending psychic explosion. Though it was clear that he was very reluctant in doing the act.