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
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
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 is my favourite character. He's a decent man who knows the
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.
resistance, he is very 'hands-on' and acts on the Doctors' scientific
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
gang are a hotch-potch of 'regular' teenagers who spend much of
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
Yamagata (left) and Kai (right) are the other two main members alongside
Tetsuo, and are present through most of the film. Kai makes an appearance
manga helping out Kay to locate Kaneda.
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
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.
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
Despite being correct, their motives are misunderstood, and cannot
prove themselves to
the government, falling into the same trap as Shikishima and the
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 resistance mostly dead following the explosion caused by Akira,
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
know of this, but with similar objectives, he suggests they team
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.
In the film
Lady Miyako's role is that of a deranged cultist by the way she
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
all her time in the temple with psychically trained monks to aid
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.
(# 25), Masaru (# 27), and Takashi (# 26) are three of the children
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.