Magazine article Screen International

'Akira' (1988) - Screen's 40 at 40

Magazine article Screen International

'Akira' (1988) - Screen's 40 at 40

Article excerpt

Director: Katsuhiro Otomo (Japan)

Japanese artist-director Katsuhiro Otomo started work on the film version of his 2,300-page cyberpunk manga comic Akira before it was finished.

Co-written by Otomo with Izo Hashimoto, it is a kinetic, chaotic sci-fistory set in the high-tech futuristic city of Neo-Tokyo in the aftermath of the Third World War, where teen biker Tetsuo is running riot with his friend Kaneda. When Tetsuo develops psychic powers and realises the government is kidnapping others like him, he battles with Kaneda to release psychic Akira.

In bringing Akira to the screen, Otomo used around 160,000 animation cels to create an incredibly detailed, smooth style of animation that had never before been seen. He also took the expensive decision to pre-score the dialogue, rather than record it when the animation was complete; this approach is now the norm in feature animation. …

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