No Akira no Matrix. The common phrase I heard regarding this film when I was growing up. Yet only now have I finally watched the Japanese anime epic. It’s hard to view it as it would have been back in the late eighties. As something groundbreaking and important, yet apart from the truly stunning visuals, there isn’t much else here for me to enjoy. That may seem like a major criticism, but so much of this film hinges on its tense atmosphere, as if Neo Tokyo is about to blow at any moment. Perhaps I wasn’t meant to “enjoy” this film as a bit of Sunday night viewing.
The story at times becomes a little muddled, introducing characters seemingly at random and referencing the titular Akira, someone we never really know or get to know. Tetsuos decent into madness and folly is the most interesting aspect going on here, that and the antics of the iconic bike gang. Government clashes with an unfleshed out rebellion and three creepy looking kids are lost in the maelstrom. This is however worth a watch, if only to see how widespread it’s influence has become.