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Friday, July 1, 2011

276. Akira


    You know how I wrote that I have developed an interest in Japanese culture?
    Well, if I found the obsession with insects challenged me, it had nothing on the wild world of manga.
    Now, I don't know if it is because he was a huge Pokemon fan but my son loves these movies
    Me? I've watched two or three but they have not really resonated.
    But I rather welcomed the chance to catch up with Akira which, according to what I've read, was the manga movie which kicked it all off (by the way, I've always known them as anime).
    Made in 1988 (and re-released last month) it is still widely regarded as one of the greatest movies in the genre.
    I have to admit, however, that I went for the easy way out so I don't know whether I received the full effect.
    What do I mean? Well, it is showing at Derby Quad this weekend but findanyfilm.com alerted me to it showing on the Syfy Channel.
    I can honestly say I had never previously watched anything on Syfy and I guess I should admire the fact that it was showing Akira.
    However, what I hadn't considered was the huge length of the ad breaks. I can't remember the last time I saw a movie, disrupted by ads.
    But I plead with my followers for their allowances on a weekend when I am going to bust a gut to watch as many movies as possible.
    So what is Akira all about?
    Well, we're in a place called Neo Tokyo which is the reborn Japanese capital, 31 years after the end of the Third World War when the original was destroyed..
    There is near-anarchy on the streets thanks to gangs of youths on motorbikes.
    The cops are near useless but do capture one of the gang leaders. He is handed over to government scientists who carry out experiments on him which go horribly wrong.
    Manga often surprises me because it is very much a cartoon for adults. There are dozens of gory bloody deaths and a rather surprising flash of a cartoon boob.
    Of course, it also provides some enormous crash bang wallop. Buildings collapse, the earth literally moves and the cost is merely that of the graphics.
    For long periods, though, this film went straight over my head.
    Then, about a third through, it also started to become clear and by the end I could see there were messages about stockpiling weapons of mass destruction and the breaking down of society.
    I'm afraid I cannot join Akira the fan club just yet but am happy to give in 6/10.
    And I wondered if the ad breaks helped because it meant I could gather my thoughts on what the whole movie was about.

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276. Akira


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