Akira Vol. 1 by Katsuhiro Otomo

If you’ve seen the film adaption, but haven’t read the manga, you are doing yourself a real disservice (The movie is also my favourite animated film of all time, but the manga is much better). 

This is an adult, science fiction manga, set in a future dystopian Tokyo, now referred to as Neo Tokyo. The story follows a group of teenage biker gang members and their eventual involvement with a secret government project and an anti government organization. 

There’s not much of a transition of showing these teenagers before their involvement with these groups and then after, so it’s a little hard to get too much of an idea of the group dynamics prior to these events. You are basically thrown into the action right away and the first 60 pages or so may be hard to follow but it’s get much clearer after that.

This first volume is extremely action packed and fast paced. Again, you don’t get much of a back story or too much about the backgrounds of these characters, so I feel it’s a very unique first volume for that. It does showcase a lot of the new group dynamics following a certain event in the beginning and how friends have become rivals and the interconnection of the biker gang, the anti government organization and the army.

The presentation of Neo Tokyo is absolutely disgusting, with constant images of decay and dirt, and the image/feeling of decay and dirt is felt not only with the scenery but with the characters and to some extent, the plot. The characters are mostly jerks, with no one seeming to shine as a “hero” in the traditional sense, although there very obviously is a main protagonist that is challenging the antagonist. The characters also seem very disenfranchised, with the exception of the anti government group, but they too don’t come off as passionate activists, they are just simply more prone to negative or blank emotions. The entire series has a very gritty feel to it and it comes off as a mystery thriller in some ways when it eludes to Akira. Overall, I think this is a very captivating first volume and reviewing this makes me want to go read this manga for a fourth time.

The image is from Wikipedia

Recommended Readings if you enjoyed Akira, Vol. 1:

20th Century Boys by Naoki Urasawa

Pluto by Naoki Urasawa

Carrie by Stephen King

Domu: A Child’s Dream by Katsuhiro Otomo

Sunny by Taiyo Matsumoto

Black & White by Taiyo Matsumoto

Recommended Shows/Movies if you enjoyed Akira, Vol.1:

Stranger Things


Recommended Soundtrack:

The film’s soundtrack of course!?

It’s amazing. Please listen to it.



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