8 CommentsAnime Analysis, Ye Olde Days / By Scamp /

Now I understand how Akira created a generation of anime fans

Anime Source is running it’s latest grand fan survey on your favourite anime movie, so do pop on over if you haven’t voted yet. The thing is, I had only watched about 6/7 anime movies when they announced the poll so I realised ‘hot dang, I gotta watch myself some of these anime movie things’. In the past 3 weeks I’ve seen a wide bunch of movies either by downloads, streaming, dvd’s or even an old video tape. These include Jih Roh and the Wolf Brigade (I really didn’t get that movie at all), Ghost in the Shell (a bit overrated but still very good and very smart), Kara no Kyokai (beautifully animated but that is really about it), Grave of the Fireflies (the only movie or series to ever make me cry…), the Kino’s Journey movies I’d forgotten to watch (they’re Kino’s Journey so of course they’re good) and Akira.

And now I understand an entire generation of anime fans was spawned by this movie.

I’m one of the new generation of anime fans, one who started watching anime through Youtube streams. Akira to me was that movie that the oldies of the anime fandom kept blabbering on about. These were the same people who complained that all new anime is useless and anime isn’t as good as it was back in the 80’s. You’ve heard them complaining too? Of course you have, they usually populate forums on ANN or whinge whenever they see a season preview, saying everything sucks/anime is going downhill etc. I got sick listening to them and started to associate Akira with that sane group so I never had any urge whatsoever to watch this legendary movie. Until that is Anime Source announced it’s latest poll and a few days later I realised that we had Akira sitting in the house, behind an old box set of Indiana Jones. So I watched it. And I understood.

Akira is possibly the most iconic anime ever created. There are a few that can challenge for the title such as Astro Boy, Pokemon or Neon Genesis Evangelion but none of these anime hold the honour of single-handedly convincing thousands of people to start watching Japanese cartoons. It’s quite astounding when you realise how much money this anime has created for the anime industry indirectly. Of course there are several contributing factors for this. If Akira was released today it would not have the same impact whatsoever. It was released in 1987. Compare how much anime is created in a year from 1987 to now? I’m not even going to bother looking up the figures because you can probably guess them yourself. The main reason I believe it was such a phenomenon was how it would smash any pre-conceived notions you may have had about cartoons being for children. Akira proved what animation can do that live-action can never do. Only FLCL and maybe some SHAFT works have pushed the powers of animation further than Akira did.

I could be totally off with some of my conclusions I’ve drawn here but I felt I had to write something about Akira. It’s been 2 weeks since I’ve seen the movie and I still have trouble trying to describe the thing. I had dismissed the movie for so long as an ‘auld fella’s movie’ (sorry if I’m making some people feel really old here) and now I feel like an idiot. It’s not my favourite anime of all time but it’s now sitting firmly in my top 10 and top of my anime movie list.

So my top 5 anime movies are:

1: Akira

2: Grave of the Fireflies

3: Howls Moving Castle

4: Ghost in the Shell

5: Spirited Away

The polls close of the 5th August so I still have time to watch some more movies before then. Up next I plan to watch 5cm per Second, Ghost in the Shell 2, the Final Fantasy movie, Paprika, Eureka Seven movie and some other Ghibli I’ve forgotten the name of. If any of these top Akira I would be shocked. Delighted, because I’ll have seen an amazing movie, but I seriously doubt it will happen.

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  1. antaskew
    Posted July 18, 2009 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

    Akira was fantatsic, well IS fantastic and for me is a benchmark not only for anime but film also.

  2. Posted July 18, 2009 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

    But see, its that attitude that kept me and I dare say many others away from Akira.

  3. Marvin
    Posted July 19, 2009 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    The Anime I watched the most to date is “Mimi wo sumase ba”(Whisper of the heart) because I’m an old ‘slice-of-life’ addict. But i think Akira triggered my anime ‘addiction’ too… Close to that are Evangelion (ye gods what a mindf**k the ending was)

    However, what impressed me the most in Akira and continued with GitS and Macross was te use of truely fantastic music…. Yamashiro Shoji, Yoko Kanno and Kenji Kawaii have caused me more goosebumps and shivers that any other composer could do to me.

    Oh and Nausicaa would be in MY top5 instead of howls moving castle :). But I’m an old fart :P

  4. Posted July 19, 2009 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    Yeah I recently saw that movie myself and had sat in your shoes exactly, so much hype put into that anime and since I haven’t seen it, it really turned me off initially. For example I seen the cover art before and I go f**k that maybe in my next life but when I brought myself to watch a blu-ray release I was shocked.

    My impression was more like this: Seeing Akira made me appreciate anime even more than I thought, there is still substance in old stuff like this which we grew away from but haven’t got the chance to observe since we are the newer anime fan generation. You pretty much explained my position up top, I thought I was the only one who felt that way lool

    Btw, your reviews r the f-kin bomb, keep it up ;)
    Slammed your site on my blogroll for sure~


  5. Posted July 19, 2009 at 4:12 pm | Permalink


    Brilliant! I’m glad there was someone else out there who understood my thoughts exactly. But I’m seriously jelous you got to see it on Blu-ray. As I said, mine was an old video tape :(

  6. toink
    Posted July 19, 2009 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

    I remember watching this when I was younger when it was aired on television. I didn’t find it that fabulous at the time since I wasn’t too interested in being an anime fan at the time. I feel so old, I could remember watching a bunch of old style anime. Is Metropolis included in that poll? Gotta check it out.

  7. Nastanibato
    Posted July 22, 2009 at 7:02 am | Permalink

    Watch the series of Ghost in the Shell if you ever happen to have the time for it. I seriously recommended.

    Meanwhile, I’ll take your opinion by face value and sit to see Akira.

    Un saludo.

  8. Posted July 24, 2009 at 12:07 am | Permalink

    Akira is a japanese brand of electronics.

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