- After Tetsuo first escapes from the lab and is rescued from the Clowns by Kaneda and crew, he gets assaulted by horrific flashes of the future, including a nightmarish hallucination where he falls and hits the ground and spills his guts onto the ground and tries to scoop them back up.
- The scene where Tetsuo and Kaori get cornered by a group of Clowns can be pretty hard to watch. Especially the part where one of them rips open her shirt, then punches her square in the face, knocking her out. Which causes her to faceplant on the ground. Keep in mind, this is a frail looking, terrified, 15 year old girl being both physically and sexually assaulted by guys twice her size. And all of it is played disturbingly straight.
- There's the nightmare scene. After undergoing the experiment, Tetsuo is left to recuperate in what looks like a child's bedroom. He wakes up to see all the toys come together and form some kind of gigantic teddy bear with a monster-like right hand and a milk-spewing toy car that proceed to try to kill him.
- Tetsuo's way of dispatching hospital personnel - splat.
- And then there's the mutation scene, where Tetsuo loses control of his powers and transforms into a giant human amoeba that consumes everything it touches, and we also get to see Kaori get slowly crushed to death in a bloody pulp inside of Tetsuo. The anguished cries of Tetsuo and Kaneda accentuate to the terror. And the music does not help...
"Help me, Kaneda! Help, please!"
- The official soundtrack for AKIRA is able to be frightening without words. Never try to listen to this at night with the lights off.
- The death of the spy escorting Takashi in the film is equally scary and sad to watch, especially how ruthless the military are in gunning him down. Granted, he pulled his gun on them, arguably to get them to shoot him dead so they wouldn't be able to interrogate him and make him spill the beans, but still...
- While the anime is pretty famous for its Nightmare Fuel, the original manga which the anime was adapted from was pretty nightmarish, too. For one, the characters live in a Crapsack World where there's lots of people dying left and right in brutal ways, unruly and savage teenagers who run vicious bōsōzoku gangs, brutal policemen, a shady and corrupt government whose members engage in all sorts of clandestine activities, powerful psychics, and of course an autistic child who was responsible for the destruction of not one city, but two! And the world they live in is still reeling from World War III, and is thrust into the brink of another World War by the events in the manga.
- The fact that the Espers, including Akira, were once ordinary children who were taken in by the government and subjected to horrible experiments so they can become psychic weapons to be used for military and political purposes. In the manga, it was said that some children ended up physically handicapped (like Masaru and Kiyoko), or were so damaged that they ended up brain-dead. The anime doesn't help as in a flashback we see Takashi strapped to an operating table, while Kiyoko struggles against her bindings with a terrified expression as the doctors operating on her force a breathing mask full of anaesthetic gas (used to calm patients during surgeries) onto her face.