Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
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  • Adaptation Displacement: The movie is undoubtedly more well-known than the original manga, in part because the source material had a really screwed up release. Marvel Comics bought the rights to translate it/bring it over to America when the movie was released in the US in 1989, but Katsuhiro Otomo's decision to redraw the last 1/6th of the manga led to the US version seeing a massive delay in the publication of the last eight issues, and by the time the last issue came out in 1995, the series was out of print as well as the trade paperbacks, of which only 10 of the proposed 13 volumes ever saw the light of day. It was not until Dark Horse Comics got the rights to the series in 2000 that the manga received wide release, in terms of availability.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Especially regarding the roles of Kaneda and Tetsuo in the story.
  • Awesome Art
  • Awesome Music: Most of the soundtrack, but especially the opening/ending music, Kaneda.
  • Designated Hero: Kaneda, at least in the beginning.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Kaori, and to some extent, Akira himself.
  • Hollywood Homely: A prominent example is Kai (a.k.a. Kaisuke), the necktie-clad biker from Kaneda's gang. Like Tetsuo, he's not drawn in Mr. Fanservice fashion, but a lot of people call him the Bishonen.
  • I Am Not Shazam: People who have seen covers for the movie or comic often mistake either Kaneda or Tetsuo for Akira since they are more prominent.
    • Also, there is a literal example in the first dubbed version of the movie. When Tetsuo hears the name Akira in his head, he shouts "I am not Akira!". This line was changed in later dubs.
      • And Akira's doomsday cult in the movie think he's Akira after he shows off his powers battling the army, a misconception Tetsuo is in no hurry to correct.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Tetsuo's had a pretty sucky life. And then he pulled all kinds of shit on others.
  • Moe:
    • Kaori, in a fair few ways (although the movie came out before the trope was really recognized). Like a lot of early examples from this time period, it doesn't end well for her.
    • Akira's the most adorable walking apocalypse ever.
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • Tetsuo crosses it when he kills Yamagata. Though in the manga, it could be as early as when he takes over the Clowns.
    • He crosses this much earlier in the manga... since Yamagata and Taking over the Clowns happens in volume one. It Gets Worse from there... In the movie meanwhile, this happens much later.
  • Ugly Cute: Kyoko, Takashi and Masaru.
  • The Woobie: Kaori.


  • Animation Age Ghetto: Despite the original release having warnings that it was not for children and the re-release being rated R, you can still find stores that put this in the "family" shelf. Other stores at least put it in the dedicated "Anime" section, leaving it to the person browsing the shelf to at least use their own discretion when searching for stuff to show their children.
    • The movie is sometimes cited as the one thing that first proved there was potential for animation beyond the ghetto.
  • Gateway Series: Towards anime. Steven Speilberg had claimed the movie to be Unmarketble in the U.S. due to the Animation Age Ghetto. This movie was rated PG-13 when the first dub hit the screens... in the 80's, this actually stood out a bit.
  • Genre Turning Point: In the West, the film kicked off interest in anime for adults. Ironically, its financial failure in its home country of Japan meant that it was not only almost a Genre Killer, but alongside Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honnêamise (which saw a similar notorious failure to live up to box office expectations), it even threatened to put the entire future of anime production in serious jeopardy.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: For some reason, the film was overlooked in Japan while it received positive reviews in the Americas and Europe, basically introducing anime aimed at adults in those regions. The film version was also cited, along with Ghost in the Shell and Serial Experiments Lain, as influences for American films like The Matrix and Chronicle.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: As Tetsuo advances towards the city we see a young man standing down a tank, an anti-government demonstration, government censorship of the media, and the massacre of countless civilians. Remember that the movie was released in 1988. Do you know what happened in China the following year?
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Akira depicted Japan hosting the 2020 Olympics, then there was a meeting in Buenos Aires during the IOC in 2013.
    • In addition, the giant teddy bear and rabbit resemble Freddy and Bonnie respectively from Five Nights at Freddy's, even invading the main character's darkened room with murderous intent.
  • I Liked It Better When It Sucked: The first Spanish dub was based on the American Streamline dub, and it contained a number of artistic license and changes to the original material. When the movie was redubbed by Animaze in United States, so it did in Spain, but with an important difference: while the new Spanish dub was much more faithful to the original, its casting and performances were comparatively horrid. Naturally, this produced a strong backlash from the fans, who pointed it that, although the old dub was bad, it had at least some effort put and was more enjoyable. It took a third one with much more money invested to finally give AKIRA a respectable dub in Spain.
  • Mainstream Obscurity: The film is very iconic, but there are plenty of people who are familiar with the major scenes and the memes they've spawned (see below) but have never actually watched the movie themselves and have no idea what the plot is about.
  • Narm:
    • Original Japanese version: "Bird-brain!"
    • The 1988 dub: "Do it NOW!"
    • The 2001 dub: "You mess with my head!"
  • Nausea Fuel: You might want to stay away from meat for a while after watching Tetsuo's horrible mutation sequence at the end of the film.
  • Retroactive Recognition: Matthew Mercer, who would become better known in the 2010's, appeared in the 2001 dub.
  • Romantic Plot Tumor: Just narrowly averted with Kaneda and Kei's romance because it's not really developed that much onscreen.
  • Seinfeld Is Unfunny: The 1988 dub, which was well regarded when it first came out, but is disliked by newer fans who are used to hearing the 2001 dub or original Japanese audio. Likewise, older fans who are used to the 1988 dub dislike the 2001 dub.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: Many fans of the manga have this complaint because the film tries to cram the first third of the manga into a single movie (many for first two acts it has plotlines following three to four characters at a time) and doesn't use the rest due to a divergence in plot.
  • Woolseyism:
    • Tetsuo's "Bitchin'!" line.
    • A couple of Kaneda's lines.

Kaneda: "Let's sit down and talk about the Revolution and stuff!"
Kaneda: "Hey, your bike's still burnin', man!"