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Akira

Year: 1988
Production Co: Akira Committee Company Ltd
Director: Katsuhiro Otomo
Writer: Katsuhiro Otomo

Ultra-violent, ultra-hip, technically stupendous animation spectacle regarded as one of the elements in the rise of popularity of anime.

Two friends, Kenada and Tetsuo, are part of a motorcycle gang getting into trouble and hunting down rival gang the Clowns in post-nuclear Neo-Tokyo of 2019, a sort of cyberpunk/techno Gotham city where crime, social unrest and government tyranny have run rampant.

One becomes the stooge of a top secret military program to create a human telekinetic weapon while the other must find and save him from a rogue General and his Einsteinish scientific lackey. A fairly pat story, but some of the sharpest animation ever, let alone for the period - with depictions of violence Hollywood would never have dared portray even before September 11.

Even though the dialogue is fairly hammy recorded in corny American voices in the English dub, there's little trace of kitsch. Instead, it's very cool and very easy to be swept away in the amazing visuals.

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