A few days ago I went to see the film “AKIRA” at the National Film Theatre on the South Bank. It was part of a Sci-Fi series of films they are showing. I have already rated it on IMDB because it is of my favourite films.

By the pure definition of my IMDB rating system Akira gets 10. This was the first time I have seen the film in a cinema but I have purchased it in many formats, VHS, DVD and Blu-Ray. I have the books. It is a film I have watched many times.

I think I first saw this film in around 1990 or 1991 or so. I remember John had a copy and we must have watched it one evening. I was instantly fascinated. It was a cartoon, hand drawn, but it was violent, it was futuristic, it had biker gangs, it had teenage angst, it looked bloody brilliant and I didn’t understand what the fuck was going on. Until that point cartoons had always been childish, happy, Disney and Looney Tunes. They left me nostalgic for my childhood and growing up. Cartoons used to be innocent, but incidentally full of violence. Akira changed all that. It, whatever it meant, was DIFFERENT.

I went and bought it on VHS.

Akira – the story of a post world war Tokyo where the government struggles to maintain power, religious sects rebel, biker gangs fight each other, the military experiments on telekinesis subjects and it all goes to shit-town. Who is Akira?

Every time I watch this film I see new things. I notice new stories. I am amazed by the ending. There aren’t many films that do this. I thoroughly recommend watching this but be prepared to be shocked and freaked out.

My next main memory of the film was living at Winchendon Road with the Fulham Five. Rich and I must have watched Akira at some point, it’s always worth seeing once every few years. This ANIME thing was rare, different, exciting and “underground”. Rich had read the story when it was released in magazines and we quite likely spent a while discussing the film, while wearing sunglasses in a dark room and with Megadeth playing. So, we found other Manga films, most notably


It is at this point that you realise that Anime and Manga is different. It is great stuff but is quite likely to mess your head up a bit. None is the sort of film to show your parents.

Here’s a problem: Akira was my first Anime film. Akira is probably one of the best Anime films. Therefore, most films I see after that always fall short. I love the Japanese animation films. They still excite me and simultaneously make me question everything and I struggle to understand what it happening quite often.

A good Anime film leaves you stunned at the action and amazed by the story.