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Anime Movie Review: Akira (1988)

Updated on November 30, 2017
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Natalie is a writer who also has a channel. She enjoys writing reviews, watching anime and TV shows, and playing videogames.

Quick Info:

Director: Katsuhiro Otomo
Studio: Funimation Entertainment, formerly Geneon Entertainment
Release Date: November 12, 2013
Runtime: 124 minutes
Availability: On DVD/Blu-Ray combo pack, buy on Amazon or RightStuf

Akira cover

Akira poster
Akira poster | Source

Story Summary:

In the year 2019, Biker gangs run wild in Japan, it’s during one of these gang fights that Shōtarō Kaneda and Tetsuo Shima run into an escapee from a government laboratory, due to this, Tetsuo is captured by the government and it sets off a horrifying chain of events, and in the end, I still don't know what happened.

AKIRA - 25th Anniversary Edition - Coming Soon - Trailer

Thoughts on the Plot:

Akira’s plot is very well done. It has an interesting setup and the film establishes its characters and makes them likable. You want to see what’s going to happen to them.

One of the memorable things about the movie’s plot is that Akira is very hard to understand and it may take multiple viewings to figure out what’s going on, especially towards the end when everything goes crazy, in a literal sense of the phrase.

The film has always stood out because it was so different from anything audiences had seen before. It is an anime because it's so unique.


The Animation:

The animation is from 1980, and while it’s an old movie, there’s something special about cell animation, probably because a lot of animation is done using computers these days, it’s obvious this was hand drawn and it looks fantastic. It doesn’t look too aged, but it’s still stunning animation. The fight scenes look amazing.


Original Japanese Dub
Streamline Dub
Animaze Dub (Reviewed)

Pioneer/Animaze English Dub:

The English dub being reviewed is the Pioneer/Animaze dub and not the original English dub from Streamline. Johnny Yong Bosch voices Shotaro Kaneda and he does an excellent job, although many fans remember him for Vash the Stampede from Trigun or Ichigo in Bleach.

Joshua Seth voices Tetsuo Shima, he has sense retired from voice acting due to being burnt out, but he does an amazing job as Tetsuo and you understand his character and his motivations. He is famous for his roles in Wolf’s Rain and Digimon.

Wendee Lee voices Kei and she’s also an excellent voice actress known for her roles in Cowboy Bebop and Haruhi Suzumiya. Her work is definitely stellar and she did a fantastic job in this movie.

What Works:
What Doesn't Work:
Intersting Story and characters
Massively confusing ending
Animation still looks good
Some things need to be explained and aren't
The Voice Acting is good

Are you going to Watch Akira??

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The Ending Is Confusing:

I still don't understand what happened at the end of this movie, even reading a summary of the ending didn't help. I still don't know exactly what happened. And that's the major flaw of this movie. Things aren't explained clearly because they cut out a lot of what happened in the manga.

If you're looking for a story that makes sense, Aira is not that movie. It's not a bad movie, it's just very confusing at the end. All these years, and I still don't understand what happened.

Overal Grade: B-

I really enjoyed this movie, even if it was very trippy and I was confused by what happened at the end of the movie. It was still a very interesting film and I'm glad I watched it. It's not the best movie I've ever watched, mainly because the ending didn't make sense to me at all. But it's still something everyone should watch at least once, because of it's cultural significance.

It was very much worth my time, I might get it for my own blu-ray collection eventually.

Advisory for Parents:

This movie is rated R for strong language, violence and adult situations. This isn’t for kids and this is a movie meant for an adult audience.


This movie has been in and out of print for a very long time. Fortunately anime fans can now buy this movie and DVD/Blu-Ray combo pack thanks to Funimation licensing the movie. It aired on Adult Swim’s Toonami block and is available on Funimation’s Elite Video Streaming site if you pay $7.95 a month. It’s a very well done movie that grabs your attention and leaves you with a lot to think about when it’s over. It can also be very confusing, especially the ending, but it’s well worth seeing at least once, especially if you like anime.

It is available for streaming on Funimation's website and Hulu in the original Japanese or the Animaze English dub.

The DVD/Blu-Ray has both the original English dub and the Animaze English dub,along with the original Japanese dub with English subtitles.

It’s worth having in your movie collection, whether you like movies in general or you’re a diehard anime fan, Akira is a classic that deserves to be watched, even if you’re confused at the end of it.

My Ratting:

4 stars for Akira Movie:

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