Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Akira (1988)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Akira (1988, Jp.)

In Katsuhiro Otomo's landmark, visually-spectacular anime film about 30 years after an atomic bomb (during WWIII) was detonated in Tokyo in July of 1988, following experiments on Esper children possessing lime-green skin (with extraordinary psychic powers of ESP):

  • the film presented a Blade Runner (1982)-styled, cyberpunk, post-war dystopic view of a reconstructed "Neo-Tokyo" after WWIII, built upon artificial islands 30 years later in the year 2019; the metropolis was complete with gigantic skyscrapers and 3-D holographic, animated advertisements on billboards; the entire city was plagued by economic hardships (and unemployment), terrorism, violence, civil unrest and protests, and corruption - martial law was imposed to help quell the many disturbances in the decrepit city
  • the opening kinetic, adrenalin-fueled sequence was set on the streets of the futuristic metropolis; two rival vigilante bike gangs of cyberpunks (the Capsules vs. the Clowns) attacked each other, culminating in a game of chicken between the gangs led by the teenaged, cocky delinquent Capsule leader-hero Shōtarō Kaneda and his rival Clown gangleader
  • Capsule leader Shōtarō Kaneda's anti-hero friend Tetsuo Shima was downed when he crashed his bike into one of the weird Esper children - a wizened, short, greenish-skinned, pale and psychically-powerful child named Takashi (the first green Esper child aka Number 26); Espers were greenish children with dormant psychic powers who were being rounded up and recaptured by terrorists from a government lab after being set loose by Resistance fighters
  • a helicopter landed in the midst of the chaos, where crew-cut Colonel Shikishima, the leader of the military-industrial complex, emerged; the Colonel ordered the wounded and unconscious Tetsuo to be taken away and hospitalized; members of Kaneda's Capsule gang were arrested but later released, and the Esper child Takashi was also seized
  • Tetsuo was victimized by having secret psychic experiments performed on him by Doctor Onishi and on a trio of Espers (Takashi, Kiyoko, and Masaru) by the government's scientists engaged in a secret military project (known as Project Akira), directed by the Colonel; it was discovered that Tetsuo possessed psychic abilities similar to Akira, and he was considered a powerful threat to the future of Neo-Toyko
  • the film's mysterious title character was 'Akira' -- he was the legendary boy (a young Esper who was the military's first test subject) with ultimate, phenomenal powers who caused the nuclear-like destruction of Tokyo 31 years earlier in 1988; after dying naturally or somehow killed, his dissected organs were now stored in cyrogenic jars buried below a construction site in a cavernous chamber - the future site of the Olympic Stadium
  • although Tetsuo escaped from the hospital and its experiments, and made his way to his Capsule gang's hideout to meet his girlfriend Kaori, he was recaptured, and was now suffering from intense migraine headaches and hallucinations
  • in the film's climactic confrontational ending, an uncontrollably-powerful, mentally-unstable Tetsuo was triggered to use his latent psychokinetic powers to seek violent retribution against all authority; his goal was to destroy anything in his path as she sought to reach out to Akira in the chamber under the Neo-Tokyo Olympic Stadium; once he reached the stadium, Tetsuo exhumed Akira's entire cryonic chamber from the ground and opened it; nothing was inside except for dissected body parts (the remains of Akira) in individually-sealed jar-canisters for research purposes
  • separately, both Kaneda (with a laser rifle-cannon) and the Colonel arrived to confront Tetsuo; the Colonel sent a beam from the government's orbital laser weapon (known as SOL) to sever Tetsuo's right arm; enraged and in pain, Tetsuo flew into outer space, dismantled and destroyed the orbiting SOL, and used his intense psychic powers to synthesize and reinstate a prosthetic arm; the Colonel realized that Tetsuo's powers were becoming more uncontrollable and threatening to all of civilization; he offered to return Tetsuo to the hospital for treatment - to heal his injuries and help control his abilities, but Tetsuo refused

Tetsuo's Loss of His Right Arm

Restoring His Arm with a Prosthetic or Robotic Arm
  • afterwards, Tetsuo's body began to mutate, regenerate, morph and swell to gigantic and grotesque proportions as a fleshy and featureless blob (that attempted to swallow up the Colonel); the large mass of flesh engulfed Kaneda and killed Kaori; meanwhile, the three Espers communicated with the remains of Akira in the canisters to revive, call forth and awaken the messianic Akira to curb Tetsuo's powers
  • Tetsuo met his demise when Akira, the destroyer who appeared as a young boy without the need for a physical body, caused a white sphere (Akira's consciousness) to form around Tetsuo, to absorb and transform him and send him into another plane or dimension of existence (a 2001: A Space Odyssey-ish "Star Baby"?); this was followed by a massive explosion within a blinding ball of light energy, leading to the almost total urban destruction of the city of Neo-Tokyo - it was a repeat of the devastation of Tokyo's previous destruction

Three Espers

An Awakening Messianic Akira

Massive Explosion and Urban Destruction of Neo-Tokyo
  • in the end credits sequence, a cosmic 'big-bang' created a new universe, as the voice of the god-like, all-powerful Tetsuo humbly introduced himself in the new plane of existence: "I am Tetsuo"

Neo-Tokyo (2019)

Conflict Between Rival Vigilante Bike Gangs of Cyberpunks

Kaneda Skidding on His Shiny Red Motorcycle

A Weird Esper Child: Takashi - Responsible for Tetsuo's Bike Accident

Colonel Shikishima

Secret Experiments Conducted on Tetsuo

'Akira''s Severed Body-Part Remains in Cryogenic Jars

Tetsuo's Fleshy, Morphing Body Swallowing Up the Colonel

Akira's White Sphere Forming Around Tetsuo

"I am Tetsuo"


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