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YMMV: AKIRA
General
  • Adaptation Displacement: The movie is undoubtedly more well known than the original manga. In part because the manga had a really screwed up release. Marvel Comics bought the rights to translate it/bring it over to America when the movie was released in the US in 1989 and but Katsuhiro Otomo's decision to redraw the last 1/6th of the manga led to the US version seeing a massive delay in the publication of the last eight issues and by the time the last issue came out in 1995, the series was out of print as well as the trade paperbacks, of which only 10 of the proposed 13 volumes ever saw the light of day. It was not until Dark Horse Comics got the rights to the series in 2000 that the manga received wide release, in terms of availability.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Especially regarding the roles of Kaneda and Tetsuo in the story.
  • Awesome Art
  • Awesome Music: Most of the soundtrack, but especially the opening/ending music, Kaneda.
  • Designated Hero: Shotaro, at least in the beginning.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Kaori, and to some extent, Akira himself.
  • Hollywood Homely: A prominent example is Kai (aka Kaisuke), the necktie-clad biker from Kaneda's gang. Like Tetsuo, he's not drawn in Mr. Fanservice fashion, but a lot of people call him the Bishōnen.
  • I Am Not Shazam: People who have seen covers for the movie or comic often mistake either Kaneda or Tetsuo for Akira since they are more prominent.
    • Also, there is a literal example in the first dubbed version of the movie. When Tetsuo hears the name Akira in his head, he shouts "I am not Akira!". This line was changed in later dubs.
      • And Akira's doomsday cult in the movie think he's Akira after he shows off his powers battling the army, a misconception Tetsuo is in no hurry to correct.
  • Informed Attractiveness: Kei. Kaneda comments how attractive she is just by seeing her picture and is so influenced by her looks he manages to weasel her out of the police station, but for the most part she doesn't really look that different from any other female.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Tetsuo's had a pretty sucky life. And then he pulled all kinds of shit on others.
  • Memetic Mutation: TETSUOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO * is shot*
    • KAAANEEAAADAAAAA!
  • Moe: Kaori, in a fair few ways (although the movie came out before the trope was really recognized). Like a lot of early examples from this time period, it doesn't end well for her.
    • Akira's the most adorable walking apocalypse ever.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Tetsuo crosses it when he kills Yamagata. Though in the manga it could be as early as when he takes over the Clowns.
    • He crosses this much earlier in the manga...since Yamagata and Taking over the Clowns happens in volume one. It gets worse from there... In the movie meanwhile this happens much later.
  • Ugly Cute: Kyoko, Takashi and Masaru.
  • The Woobie: Kaori

Movie
  • Animation Age Ghetto: Despite that the movie was originally rated PG-13 in the U.S. (With the 2001 redub earning an "R" rating!) you can still find stores that put this in the "family" shelf. Other stores at least put it in the dedicated "Anime" section, leaving it to the person browsing the shelf to at least use their own discretion when searching for stuff to show their children.
    • The movie is sometimes cited as the one thing that first proved there was potential for animation beyond the ghetto.
  • Awesome Art: Dear GOD YES!. Even people who aren't fans of the film won't deny how stunning its animation is.
  • Gateway Series: Towards anime. Steven Spielberg had claimed the movie to be Unmarketable in the U.S. due to the Animation Age Ghetto. This movie was rated PG-13 when the first dub hit the screens...in the 80s, this actually stood out a bit.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: As Tetsuo advances towards the city we see a young man standing down a tank, an anti-government demonstration, government censorship of the media, and the massacre of countless civilians. Remember that the movie was released in 1988. Do you know what happened in China the following year?
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: The story is in a backdrop of the 2020 Neo-Tokyo Olympics, and Akira was apparently below the unfinished Olympic stadium. Guess what happened at September 9, 2013? Tokyo has been selected as the host of the next Olympics in 2020.
  • Hype Backlash: Inevitable given the amount of praise it still gets.
  • Inferred Holocaust: The destruction of Neo-Tokyo at the end.
  • Narm: Bird-brain!
    • The 1988 dub has a bit of this, but in all honesty, that was actually not a bad dub for the time-being.
    • The later dub has this too. The line "You mess with my head!" comes to mind.
  • Nausea Fuel: You might want to stay away from meat for a while after watching Tetsuo's horrible mutation sequence at the end of the film.
  • Romantic Plot Tumor: Just narrowly averted with Kaneda and Kei's romance, because it's not really developed that much onscreen.
  • Seinfeld Is Unfunny: The 1988 dub. At the time, that was actually considered good. Some still do prefer that version because of Narm Charm.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks: Many fans of the manga have this complaint because because the film tries to cram the first half of the manga into a single movie (many for first two acts it has plotlines following three to four characters at a time) and doesn't use the second half due to a divergence in plot.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: Kaori is Tetsuo's girlfriend, probably one of the few people who really understood/cared for him and she ends getting just a handful of lines, beaten up and then kinda killed towards the end of the film.
  • Woolseyism: Tetsuo's "Bitchin'!" line.
    Kaneda: "Let's sit down and talk about the Revolution and stuff!"
    Kaneda: "Hey, your bike's still burnin', man!"

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