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Akira Profiles

- Akira -

In the film, not so much a boy as an entity. The government had him destroyed for not
having the technology or undestanding to monitor his condition, but kept his remains
buried in an underground vault. Believed to have caused the explosion on Tokyo
which started World War III, his psychic potential is the highest monitored by scientists.
His 'essence' lives on through the other espers who were at the same lab and they
vaguely communicate via telepathy. Kiyoko describes him (telepathically through Kay)
as energy thought to be the ultimate form of human evolution, too dangerous for modern
man to possess. In the past, the government tried to harness that power, they failed
and the destruction of Tokyo was inevitable.
In the manga Akira is a living child, who still holds great power. He is worshipped by
the people who live under his Great Tokyo Empire with Tetsuo as Prime Minister. He
is cared for by Kaori who acts like his sister, as ordered by Tetsuo who wishes to
harness his power.

- Colonel Shikishima -

The Colonel is my favourite character. He's a decent man who knows the truth behind
Akira and is wary of Tetsuo whose psychic ability nears Akira's. However no-one else
outside of the military, except the Espers, trusts in him because they think Akira is a
myth and because of his forceful methods. Kaneda in particular in the way he seized
his friend Tetsuo.
His persona is very similar in the manga as he helps the other espers and is intent on
stopping Tetsuo from working with Akira and expanding his powers. Like the
resistance, he is very 'hands-on' and acts on the Doctors' scientific theories/advice.
Although the Colonel seems to understand the situation perfectly the Doctors' imput
is really a device for the viewer/reader to make the story credable and the situation

- Tetsuo Shima -

Tetsuo is one of the main characters of the both the film and comic book.
Following a near collision with Takashi, Tetsuo was affected by his mental powers and
began developing them himself. These psychic abilities soon grew and he became the
next most powerful behind Akira himself. The espers' attempt to kill him before he got
too strong was in vain and Kaneda could not succeed either. They didn't attempt this
out of spite, but because he was a threat to the world.

His character is very striking and his actions provide drama throughout the story. His
mis-directed views and intentions constantly lead to conflict with all the characters and
he is stubborn and naive about the consequences of his actions.
In the manga, Lady Miyako tells him he is # 41, and that it is his destiny to discover
what Akira is. However he is impatient and doses himself up on mind-altering drugs to
enhance his abilities, or so he believed. It was these drugs which surpressed his powers'
growth. It eventually found a way to maximize itself by breaking free of the limitations of
Tetsuo's body by absorbing items around him. That is why Tetsuo appears to be
mutating towards the end.

- Shotaro Kaneda -

Known by his surname, Kaneda plays one of main roles in the film. In fact it could have
been titled 'Kaneda' instead of 'Akira' for the amount of screen time he has!
Definately the best known character, he is famous for his souped-up power bike and is
envied for it asTetsuo explains- "Ceramic, double-rotor, two-wheel drive. Computer
controlled anti-lock brakes. 12,000 RPM's!".
He befriended Tetsuo at an orphanage when they were young as Tetsuo was lonely and
afraid, and they were both new-commers. They remained friends at the end even though
they tried to kill each other!
Despite his tough exterior, Kaneda is compassionate as he mourns the loss of Yamagata
(Yama) when told of his death by Kai. His attraction to Kay came when he saw her for the
first time in the Police files; he met her in that same Station, and their uneasy relationship
lasted to the end of the movie.
His manga character is similar and just as theatrical, and spirited but I believe- Kay,
Chiyoko and the Espers do more to 'save the day' than he does.

- Kaori -

Kaori is a caring young girl who is part of the gang's following and a girlfriend to Tetsuo.
She is weak, like Tetsuo, but doesn't have the same energy or motivation. Very much a
lonely person, Tetsuo confides in her but doesn't reciprocate her devotion- especially
when he gets used to his psychic power.
She is presented almost as a slave in the manga, catering to Tetsuo's desires and taking
care of Akira like a mother despite their drug addictions and rule of the evil, misguided
Great Tokyo Empire. A character of little hope, yet her loyalty, innocence and good-nature
is a bright contrast to the savagery and depravity in which they exist.

- The Gangs -

Kaneda's gang are a hotch-potch of 'regular' teenagers who spend much of their time
griping about their run-down school and riding together at night.
We are introduced to them from the start of the anime in the Harukiya Bar, and they
constantly try to match themselves against the rival Clown Gang who regularly invade
'their territory' to maintain what little freedom and self- repect they have.
Yamagata (left) and Kai (right) are the other two main members alongside Kaneda and
Tetsuo, and are present through most of the film. Kai makes an appearance in the
manga helping out Kay to locate Kaneda.

Joker is the Clown's formidable leader and he despises Kaneda's gang.
The Clowns are a tough crew, they make weapons to use against rival gangs and if
Kaneda's lot weren't prepared or organized, they would get their arses whipped!
In the movie, they do get revenge by assualting Kaori and Tetsuo but this is short lived.
The comic book sees the Joker collaborating with Kai and Kanada towards the end as
they put their differences aside. With the city laid to waste after a second blast (from
Tetsuo) the only remaining gang members are these three. We discover that Joker is
an ace mechanic who fixed up many bikes, and rebuilt a military hover platform, which
is how Kaneda got another powerful bike mid-way through the series.

- The Resistance -

Mr Nezu, a Council member, secretly heads the resistance. It is really a force for good as
they are against the stubborn Government who don't believe Akira will re-surface or that he
ever even existed. Like the Colonel and Religious Cults they realize Akira's rise to be
imminent but their methods are more 'hands-on' (or misguided) as they are responsible for
bombings in the city to make people and the government aware of the danger.
Despite being correct, their motives are misunderstood, and cannot prove themselves to
the government, falling into the same trap as Shikishima and the cults.
Mr Nezu however, is corrupt and a bitter, twisted old man. Roy (Ryu) is the leader of field
operations, and plays the same role, but alone, through much of the manga.

With the resistance mostly dead following the explosion caused by Akira, Roy meets
Lieutennant George Yamada, a spy from the 'Outside World'. His mission is to find out
as much info about Akira and the newly formed Great Tokyo Empire, report back, and
sectretly intends to assassinate Akira with the help of bio-chemical bullets.Roy doesn't
know of this, but with similar objectives, he suggests they team up.
Kay's role in the resistance is important because she is completly loyal to its cause and
to Roy. Her character is far more developed in the manga, where she plays more than a
'hard-to-get' love interest for Kaneda.
She is still as strong willed, but is the one to discover that Lady Miyako is an esper too.
Miyako helps Kay channel her thoughts and discovers she is a conduit for the espers
telepathy. Kiyoko does this in the movie and Kay communicates with Kaneda and Tetsuo.
She works closely with Chiyoko, a physically strong and resilliant resistance fighter and
they look out for each other.

- Lady Miyako -

In the film Lady Miyako's role is that of a deranged cultist by the way she chants about
Akira and her followers painting the floor with warnings.
Her comic book character is far more developed as she is a force for good, aiding the
Espers and providing sanctuary in her temple for the people. Kay discovers Lady Miyako
is # 19, another psychic who was at the same lab as the others 30 years ago.
She spends all her time in the temple with psychically trained monks to aid the injured,
and has to ward off attacks from the armed mobs working for Tetsuo who wants revenge
for her intervention in surpressing his power and storing medicine.

- The Esper -

Kiyoko (# 25), Masaru (# 27), and Takashi (# 26) are three of the children who
survived the tests conduted by a secret government labratory. Originally trained for their
psychic potential, they grew up with Akira and realize his power.
They are very caring and selfless children who are concerned about each others' and
others' safety. Despite having well developed mental abilities, even together they are no
match for Tetsuo or Akira.
Kiyoko is bedridden and always holds onto her doll. "Her precognition and foresight are
always accurate" explains the Doctor. Masaru was affected by Polio when he was six,
and is the reason he sits in a customised chair; he is the 'leader' of the three and is
reasonable and caring. Takashi is small, humble and quiet but feels obliged to help
Kaneda and Tetsuo when Akira's 'bubble' swallows them up.
They are the same in the manga but when the lab is decimmated by Akira's blast the
medication to control their conditions was lost; so Kay and Chiyoko help get them to
Miyako who can aid them.

Let's go back up now where all done here.