March 21, 2003

Akira by Katushiro Otomo

Over the last month or so I read the entire 2000 page graphic novel epic in the 6-volume collection published by Dark Horse Comics. The story follows a bunch of teenagers in Tokyo many years after a major disaster cratered the city. It turns out that the disaster was perpetrated by Akira, a government experiment gone wrong. After the disaster, Akira was reigned in, but not stopped and the experiments continue. The books are almost completely black and white line drawing, and the drawing is the real attraction here. It's staggering to think about the amount of effort that must have gone into producing these books especially at the level of acheivement they exhibit. They depict a gritty futuristic Tokyo that is so detailed it's hard to believe Otomo didn't draw it all directly from life. The story is interesting enough, but in the end feels like a fairly straightforward adolescent wish-fulfilment fantasy (of the power variety, not the sex, more's the pity) despite the trappings of larger mythological themes. I was lucky enough to get these from the library as each volume runs about $25. There's a movie of this story that I've heard is kind of incoherent, so I thought I'd read it first so I wouldn't get completely lost when I saw the anime.

Posted by jeffy at March 21, 2003 09:02 PM