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:
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.