On 16th July 1988 an atomic bomb goes off in Tokyo Japan. This was the
World War 3. Japan is ravaged by this explosion and we join it
31 years later in 2019,
in Neo-Tokyo, which is where the story is set.
Neo Tokyo is a post-apocalyptic city of political unrest, terrorist
activities against the
corrupt state officials are rife and 'cyberpunk' bike gangs rule
the streets. In Akira we
see the world from perspectives of different classes of people
which gives a rounded
interpretation of the city. Such people as teenage gang members,
fanatics/delusioned crowds, politicians, the military, and children
with psychic abilities.
The pbx webmaster 'me' believes there are no 'main' characters
in Akira, which is quite true in that
there are no stereotypical hero/heroine types and all-out 'bad
guys'. However a couple
of teenage bikers appear a lot throughout the film, Kaneda and
Tetsuo, and they can
be seen as main players in this story.
The opening shots of Neo Tokyo are of the Harukiya Bar, a hangout
of 16-year old
Kaneda's biker gang called the 'Capsules'. We are introduced to
(Yama), Kanny's right-hand man and Tetsuo, the youngest at 15,
who constantly tries to
prove himself to the rest of the gang who see him as immature.
Right from the start
this theme of teen angst plays a big role in Akira as it dictates
Tetsuo's actions and
leads him up to what he becomes.
Yama whispers to Kaneda "we've got the Clowns cornered by
the Expressway" while
he's selecting a track on the jukebox. The Clowns are a rival
bike gang led by Joker.
From here the three jump on their bikes and speed off to battle
the Clowns who are on
'Capsule territory'. We're treated to a thrilling scene which
introduces us to Kaneda's
famous electrically powered, red Power Bike. It's started up,
revved, the pacey
wooden xylophone music begins and they zoom away out of the alley
Harukiya in a haze of smoke, horns and lamp glare.
What follows is the encounter with the Clowns, many fans' favorite
both sides race around a section of highway trying to beat each
This ends when Kaneda gets the better of Joker in a game of chicken
arrive to maintain order.
In the meantime a man is seen running away from the military
police clutching a child.
We learn that this man is a terrorist and he's leading the child,
Takashi, to Roy
who is leader of the underground movement. They are rebelling
government because many of the leaders are corrupt and they don't
the bomb dropped on Tokyo in 1988 was actually caused by the psychic
power of a
small boy named Akira. The resistance believe Takashi to be Akira
himself and they
have 'rescued' him from a government lab/centre.
The man is gunned down and Takashi flees after screaming so loudly
in the surrounding buildings shatter and things break off from
the rooftops. He achieves
this due to his psychic ability. In the commotion, the gawping
crowd runs for cover
and we see Roy and Kay, another committed resistance member, who
The Capsules split up to avoid capture by the police and continue
to chase the Clowns
Takashi is in the middle of the road where Tetsuo is speeding
down- he cannot break
in time, Takashi lifts his hand for meager protection and Tetsuo's
bike is overturned
The other Capsules catch up with Tetsuo to find him barely alive
on the floor, Takashi
is safe, standing in the distance. As Kaneda tried to help his
friend an army helicopter
lands and military troops exit to arrest the gang. On board the
helicopter are Colonel
Shikishima, another main character in the story, and Masaru, an
Esper child like
Takashi. Their purpose is not to arrest the gang but to capture
Takashi and return him
from where he was abducted. The Colonel tends to be seen as a
'bad guy' at this point
but it's later revealed he has the best interests of these Espers
The gang is surrendered to the police, the troops, Colonel and
Espers fly off and
Tetsuo is taken with them to receive medical care.
While the Capsules are 'interviewed' in the Police Station Kaneda's
eye is caught by
Kay who's sitting on a bench waiting to be interrogated for her
part in the recent riot.
Kaneda cunningly talks his way round the Police Sergeant into
letting her join them as
they are released. Kay becomes Kanada's love interest throughout
the film, although
she doesn't feel the same way about him till the end.
Meanwhile... back at a military lab, Doctors discover that Tetsuo
has some psychic
potential which must have been triggered by his encounter with
Takashi. Could Tetsuo
be an Esper like the other subjects Takashi and Masaru?
Tetsuo soon escapes the confines of the hospital and meets up
with his girlfriend
Kaori. He talks to her about showing the gang what he's capable
of, he doesn't want
to be seen as the 'runt' anymore.
He steals Kaneda's power-bike and is soon ambushed by the Clowns.
happen to see Tetsuo take the bike and pursue him, just in time
to ward off the Clowns
who had already attacked both Tetsuo and Kaori.
Tetsuo begins to hallucinate and a medical van pulls up beside
him, injects him with a
sedative, then carts him away back to the hospital. The Colonel
is seen in the back-
ground which makes the plot thicken!
At the hospital another Esper child, Kiyoko, has a premonition
and tells the Colonel that
Akira will arise and that millions of people will die. As her
powers of prediction are
accurate, the Colonel is anxious and calls a council meeting to
discuss the situation.
He knows that Akira is not just a myth and that Kiyoko's words
should be heeded.
Not only does Kiyoko sense this danger but so do religious 'Akira'
cults who parade
the streets drumming up support and awareness, much to the displeasure
government who don't believe in Akira and his power.
Kaneda searches for Kay and uncovers the secret resistance hideout,
this is his first
confirmation that Kay is a terrorist, before she just used to
brush him off. He is later
accepted into the group, which he does for Kay's affection, and
they plan to break into
the hospital to free a new test subject- Tetsuo!
Disguised as repair men, six resistance members infiltrate the
hospital sewer but are
discovered by security guards who patrol on hover bikes. One member,
shot dead while Kaneda and Kay manage to salvage a hover bike
from a guard and
fly out the tunnels into the hospital itself.
Inside the hospital, Tetsuo is alone in his room having strange
of his past. The name 'Akira' keep cropping up and he's determined
to find out what
it means. The Espers are sure that Tetsuo's mental power will
grow and they are afraid
that it'll be a destructive force. The three Espers launch at
attack on Tetsuo while his
powers are relatively weak, they morph into giant killer toys
and try to attack!
Tetsuo is confused and afraid, he dodges their advances and cuts
his foot on a broken
drinking glass. The sight of blood scares the children and they
vanish- not before
letting Tetsuo see the faces of his attackers.
Tetsuo breaks out of his room and tries to find these children
and what the 'Akira is
inside his head'. He unveils the Esper's 'Nursery Room' in the
hospital and feels
hatred and anger towards them for attacking him. He has a psychic
battle with Masaru
and Takashi and he ends up better for worse.
Telepathically Tetsuo senses from Kiyoko that Akira resides at
the Olympic Stadium.
With this knowledge he teleports from the Nursery to outside where
learning that this is 'another one of his powers'.
After learning that Tetsuo knows Akira's whereabouts and is on
his way to the
Stadium, the Colonel assembles his troops despite a court martial
from the Neo
Tokyo Intelligence branch. He knows he his the only one to take
this matter seriously
and the only one to act so he continues regardless.
Tetsuo stops off at the Harukiya to get some drugs from the bartender
(who is one
dodgy guy ^_pbx___ rules_^) He's in need of drugs to suppress
the pain he feels from the psychic
power expanding within him. Two capsule members, Yama and Kai
enter the bar to
find it empty. Tetsuo has killed the bartender and inquiries about
Yama is angry and stands up to Tetsuo, not a wise move in front
of an angry doped up
psychic with a short fuse! Yama is killed and Kai is terrified
of what Tetsuo has
Kaneda and Kay are imprisoned, they couldn't evade capture following
violent display of power in the Nursery. Kay telepathically links
up with Kiyoko who
recites a theology about the existence of man and evolution. Very
which becomes too intellectual for Kaneda and his short attention
span! It is described
that children like the Espers and Tetsuo are humans who have evolved
time- they are compared to an amoeba with the strength of a human;
would be quite fantastic. After this speech the cell door mysteriously
unlocks, this is
Kiyoko's doing, although Kaneda suspects it's a trap.
The military troops begin to advance towards the Stadium and
the crowds are stirred
up. Rioting begins and they believe in the rise of Akira as if
he were a God.
In the hysteria, some people suspect Tetsuo of being Akira as
he demonstrates his
power in deflect the blast of a tank's missile.
Kaneda has been informed by Kai of Yama's death and how Tetsuo
Kaneda's now intent on getting revenge on Tetsuo so he joins the
With the people of Neo Tokyo rioting in the streets and the power
being in the hands
of the military, the corrupt politicians either commit suicide
or gather their belongings
and attempt to escape. Roy is shot by one such politician, Mr
Nezu, who was
working with the resistance as well as being a council member.
Roy later dies, as
does Nezu when he has a heart attack in an ally.
Tetsuo's desire to find out what Akira is drives him to an underground
the stadium. Akira, the boy, resides here in deep freeze. Kay
has acted as a psychic
conduit for Kiyoko who commands Kay's body and fights Tetsuo who
ever more irate and desperate. Her powers are too weak against
Tetsuo and he
manages to overcome her and raise Akira's large storage container
to the surface.
Over megaphone, the Colonel explains to Tetsuo how Akira was dissected
professors to study because technology wasn't advanced enough
to gather the
information they needed. Tetsuo is surprised by Akira's form,
then Kaneda arrives on
the scene, armed with an army laser rifle ready to do battle!
Kaneda's angry at Tetsuo for killing Yama and causing so much
trouble, Tetsuo is
angry, not just because of his recent discovery about Akira which
wasn't what he
expected, but also because he hates Kaneda for treating him as
a minor. It's a furious
Following the screams of "Tetsuooooo!" and "Kanedaaaaa!"
Kaneda fires his laser
at Tetsuo, retaliations are in the form of psychic bursts of energy
and the two fight on.
At the same time, the Colonel orders the SOL (Satellite in Orbit
Laser canon) to fire
at Tetsuo and end his life before things get out of hand! The
canon charges up and
fires its beam over the stadium, narrowing its field down to Tetsuo's
is blown into the air by the blast while Tetsuo's arm is severed.
The colonel orders another shot to be fired from the satellite
and Tetsuo anticipates
this by jumping up to the canon in space itself. He destroys is
after it's second blast
which has Kaneda, Kay and Kai making their escape from the scene.
A momentary break, and Tetsuo constructs a replacement arm for
himself from the
metal waste that's around him. He is aided by Kaori who is astonished
to see his new
limb and how it's attaching itself to the concrete Olympic throne
where Tetsuo is sitting.
. The Colonel finds Tetsuo via a tracking camera and confronts
him. "Does it hurt
Tetsuo?" Tetsuo strains back on his seat and the wires from
his arm, imbedded in the
throne tighten, sending shards of concrete towards the Colonel
knocking him back
across the floor. His arm pulsates and mutates into a mass of
muscle which shoots
from his shoulder and engulfs Shikishima. Fortunately, Kaneda
has had time to
charge his weapon again and hits Tetsuo's arm from afar. With
his attention distracted
towards Kaneda, Tetsuo begins to destroy the grounds around him
and looses control
of his body. The power he is developing is too much for his mortal
body to withstand
and his mutation goes further- he bloats up to 20 times his normal
size, a deformed
creature. Tetsuo is terrified of what's happening to him and begs
for Kaori's help. She
gets enveloped in his mass and is killed despite Kaneda's effort
to save her.
Noticing that Tetsuo's power is out of control, the three Esper
children united in
prayer to defeat Tetsuo by enlisting the aid of Akira himself!
Yeah, Akira is just slices
of matter and DNA samples in jam jars but his spirit is too strong
to fade, he is like
pure energy itself 0_pbx___rules_0 Gunshots do nothing to halt
As Tetsuos tendrils creep over the children's shoulders the glass
Akira's remains shatter and we see a brief glimpse of Akira when
he was a boy.
HE IS REVIVED! PRAISE THE LORD! ^_pbx___rules_^
Another atomic-like blast is created by Akira which draws Tetsuo
dimension. Tetsuo is crying for help, he has no control over his
body's growth, but
no-one can relieve his pain. The Colonel is transported to safety
by Kiyoko while
Kaneda is drawn into this void with Tetsuo. Hoping they can be
of some help, the
Espers all throw themselves in too and Kaneda sees the flashbacks
of Tetsuo's past
memories while in the spacious, floaty emptiness.
Kaneda is called back to the real world by Kay and a small ball
of light- Tetsuo in his
new universe maybe, drops gently into Kaneda's cupped hands.
Tetsuo are the Espers are lost.
The Colonel looks on, not fully understanding what had gone on.
Kaneda, Kay and Kai ride off down the highway.
Tetsuo lives on...?