Just like many anime fans, Akira (1988) was the first anime movie that I ever saw. It inspired many fans to look into what at the time was called Japanamation, but is now known as anime. It is the most important film of the genre.
Written and directed by Katsuhiro Otomo, Akira is based off of his manga series of the same name. The movie included an unprecedented 160,000 animation cells. To this day, it is still considered as one of the most fluid animation movies of all time.
The plot of Akira is that a secret government agency turns a teenager into a psyonic-wielding superhuman that will be used as a weapon. The power actually makes him into a creature that will stop at nothing to wield his vengeance on the world.
The movie touched so many movie fans because of the overall theme of the movie. Akira tackles the issue of those people that wish to achieve so much power that they would rival a god. This is a theme that has been present in many movies, but to this point, it had never been discussed in animation form.
Akira also dealt with government and civil corruption. At times during the movie, you have to remind yourself that you are watching an animation movie, not a live action one.
Akira also was one of the first animation movies that had been seen in America that dealt with a grown-up-like issue. Most animation movies that Westerners were familiar with were children’s animation movies that came out of movie studios like Disney. This new form was as foreign to many in America as the Japanese language that was used throughout.
The interest in Japanese animation that Akira sparked caused for many Americans to want to learn more about the art form. While the interest was small, it grew with every passing year.
Currently, there are thousands of manga and anime fans in the United States. Everyday a new store opens up with the sole purpose of selling anime merchandise. Akira paved the way for these stores.
Ever since Akira there has been a stronger push in the United States to make animated movies that adults would have an interest in seeing. Movie companies realized that the Japanese might be right when they believe that adults can be as interested in animated movies as children.
In 1992, Disney introduced the world to the movie Aladdin. The theaters were not only packed in with children, but also with adults who wanted to see the movie. This started a new era for animated movies in the United States.
If it was not for Akira, anime might just be a foreign word to most people. If it was not for Akira, we might not all be flocking to see a movie like Shrek the Third. Akira is not only the most important anime movie ever made. Akira is one of the most important animation movies ever made.