Akira 4k Remaster - Anime Review
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (5 Stars)
Status: In Cinemas and available on DVD and Blu-ray
Released: April 24th 2020
This is a difficult review to write, since it’s almost impossible to say anything about Akira that hasn’t already been said. Based in the far-off year of 2020, the world is a dystopian mess run by corrupt politicians. Tetsuo, an unassuming street thug, is abducted by a team of scientists and experimented on, essentially turned into a God. One problem though, is Tetsuo’s rampant inferiority complex is suddenly offset by unimaginable power, which goes about as well as you would expect. Akira is the darling of anime, potentially one of the best anime movies ever made, and pulled anime away from its ‘dark age’ in the 80s. You see Akira references everywhere you go, in anime as well as western media. Its critically acclaimed, beautifully animated, and looks astonishing in the remaster. Go watch it.
Review over? No? Alright hang on.
I feel like Akira only becomes more and more relevant as time goes on. It was almost distressing watching the protests against a poorly organised, self-serving government, and general disenfranchisement of the lower class juxtaposed with a carefree upper crust in a movie set in 2020. Not to mention the cancelled Tokyo Olympics. You could have released this movie today instead of 1982 and it would remain a cutting commentary on society. I would argue that the movie, at its core, is a movie about greed. The selfishness of the upper crust, the careless motives of scientists to forward their achievements, the ignorant use of power to manage bruised ego, it all comes back to simple greed. Ultimately, its sacrifice that ends up saving the surviving characters, which is all I will say in order to avoid a venture into spoiler territory for a film almost thirty years old.
I thought the remaster was brilliantly done, and does a fantastic job of bringing the film into the 21st century. There is only one instance of CGI in the film, which is the brain readings of Tetsuo that the scientists use to keep an eye on him. Otherwise, the film is entirely cel-animated, resulting in some painstakingly careful work that is easily scaled up and made even more defined. In an age where more and more anime studios are beginning to use CGI shortcuts, it’s rare to find a show that doesn’t end up painfully dated in the years following its release.
My only complaint about the film is that there wasn’t a huge range of female characters. I would have loved to see Kei contribute to her reputation as a high-ranking member of a terrorist organisation, instead she seemed to spend most of the film either being rescued or possessed. At least Kiyoko gets to do a bit, even though its largely relegated to the end of the movie, or remote-control exposition.
All in all, its difficult to find a bad thing to say about Akira. Any self-respecting anime fan or film buff must watch it at least once, and with the 4k remaster currently in cinemas, now is a perfect opportunity to do so.
Author: Jace Cowan
Manager - Let's Go Akamaru!