100 Movies You Need to See Before You Die

Akira (1988)

Country: Japan
Director: Katsuhiro Otomo
Screenwriters: Katsuhiro Otomo, Izo Hashimoto
Stars: Nozumo Sasaki, Mitsuo Iwata, Mami Koyama, Tesho Genda, Hiroshi Otake

If this were a countdown of the most important animated movies of all time, Katsuhiro Otomo's seminal anime Akira could very well be number one. To this day, the film impresses with its David Cronenberg-like grotesqueries and Akira-Kurosawa-in-Hell brutality. This ain't for kids.

Otomo's two-hour epic was based on his own manga of the same name, about the fallout from a nuclear explosion in Tokyo. Now called "Neo-Tokyo," the ravaged city is the playground for a biker gang member who uses psychic abilities to wreak extreme havoc.

Conceptualized on the grandest of scales, Akira is the kind of story that could only be done justice through animation. So, naturally, Hollywood is currently trying to make a live-action version. Before they end up casting Robert Pattinson and making it a blood-free post-apocalyptic romance, pay Otomo's magnificent flick the respect and attention it still deserves. —MB

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