It is the 21st century. The horrors of World War Three have faded from the minds of the people of Neo-Tokyo. Once again, the city slips into decadence as its residents turn a blind eye to its problems. The corrupt government is powerless to contain the escalating problems. Biker-gang battles rage in the streets. Terrorists and radical religions run amok in the corruption with one word upon their lips: "Akira."
Akira skillfully depicts the decadence and corruption of 21st-century Neo-Tokyo. All the technology and preparation of the city is cast aside as a boy awakens to his powers and uses them to take revenge on the society which oppressed him for so long. Even if you've seen Akira before, check out the incredible artwork (all hand-drawn!) and the incredible backgrounds. Listen to Geinoh Yamashirogumi's marvelous soundtrack which adds to the emotional impact of each scene.
Akira is based upon the manga series by Katsuhiro Otomo. The film became a huge success in Japan despite the fact that the creators assumed that the audience would be familiar with the characters from the manga. Here's a little intro to make things a bit clearer:
Akira: The Cast of Characters
Tetsuo: Orphaned at an early age, Tetsuo was always picked on by the other kids. He awakens to his ESP powers, only to be used again, this time as a scientific experiment. Tetsuo breaks free and rages through the city, exultant and fearful of his new powers which he can barely control.
Kaneda: Leader of a biker gang of teenagers and Tetsuo's only friend from an early age, Kaneda becomes the only one who can hope to stop him as he rages out of control.
Kay: A young revolutionary who is drawn into the struggle by her involvement with Kaneda. She seems to possess some psychic potential as well.
Kiyoko, Takhashi, and Masaru: Three government experiments. They all possess great powers held in check by medication. They come together at the end, attempting to save Neo-Tokyo with the help of Akira.
The Colonel: A veteran of pre-WWIII Tokyo, he foresees the end of the city, but the politicians tie his hands. He hates Neo-Tokyo but refuses to give up his oath to protect it.
Ryu: The leader of the revolutionaries who is supported by a member of the City Council.
Kaori: A girl who hangs around Tetsuo. She depicts the listlessness and ignorance of the next generation.
Akira: ? A godlike figure to Neo-Tokyo's residents. Some think his return will bring a cleansing fire which will wash away the sins of the city. The 3 "babies" seem to know more about him than they let on, though....