Nov 11, 2014
Akira was an animated film created and directed by Katsuhiro Otomo in 1988. It is about a
Japanese biker gang who goes up against the government, who is conducting experiments on
citizens, one of which was a member of the gang. The movie is set in a futuristic Neo-Tokyo in post
Film ClipJonathan Hasbun
Here is a link to the full film on youtube:
• Akira, the movie comes from the original Japanese Manga/comic book written by Katsuhiro Oromo.
• Katsuhiro Otomo was born in April 1954 in Japan’s Miyago Prefecture, an agricultural and fishing province north east of Tokyo
• In high school, Katsuhiro developed a keen interest in film in particular the American new wave cinema of the late sixties and early seventies.
• This obsession would influence his later work; he developed a realistic art style that has changed the way manga is drawn in Japan.
• Manga also known as Japanimation began in the early twentieth century and was created in the wake of animation techniques being used in Western countries.
• Japan had a limited live-action film industry and found it was able to make up for this through animation.
• The oldest form of Japanimation was a short film in 1917 about a samurai.
• Starting in the late 1930s Japanese animation companies took cues from Walt Disney to create more content at a lower price.
• In the 90s and 2000s, feature films in the Japanimation style were marketed to Western countries and have continued to grow in popularity there.
• If not for Japanimation, the entertainment industry in Japan would not have blossomed into what it is today, or at least not as quickly. When film industries were first developing around the world, Japan found itself restricted in the stories it could tell because of a lack of Western-looking actors. Japanimation, however, opened up the stories and locations that Japanese filmmakers could input into their films.
• Today, Japanimation is most popular in television series in the United States, Europe and Latin America.
• Feature films are also slowly becoming embraced by other cultures, giving Japan a unique foothold in the global film and entertainment industry.
CULTURAL ASPECTSBreanna Nasser
Modern Japan has some key cultural concepts that are influential at both the societal and individual
level. These concepts would have affected characters and character development in Akira, as well as dynamics between individuals, and
how they respond to society and government. It would determine how they protest the
technology that was causing so much strife in the film.
Giri (Moral Obligation)#1
• “…giri involves caring for others from whom one has received a debt of gratitude and a determination to realize their happiness, sometimes even by self-sacrificing” (Gillespie).
#2• “this giri is manifested in the
world of business, because it is essentially moral based on a feudalistic human relationships, it means to serve one's superiors and clients, even to the point of going against the rationality that is a business principle” (Gillespie).
Giri can be seen in interactions between patients and doctors,
doctors and the government, soldiers and the government, and even within the
Nemawasi (Prior consultation)
“A technique to avoid confusion and gain consent from everyone in advance when making a decision is called nemawashi. The original meaning of the word is to cut roots short before moving a tree, so that the tree can be easily moved…when nemawashi is practiced in politics, there is the fear that policies are not made in front of the people's eyes; thus, some criticize nemawashi as not being democratic” (Gillespie)
"Enough! Open up your eyes and look at the big picture; You’re all puppets of corrupt politicians and capitalists. Don’t you understand, it’s utterly
pointless to fight each other.“-Colonel Shikishima
Cultural AspectsGovernment Structure in Japan
In Japan today there is still an Emperor, and is a symbol for the people. He needs approval for action. In the case of Japan, this is from the
cabinet and the prime minister (who he appoints). He has little to no powers related to government and is mainly a figurehead. The
Imperial Throne is passed from father to son.
There is a national diet divided into two houses (The House of Representatives and The House of Chancellors). These are the highest
levels of state powers, and they make the laws. They are elected every four years.
There is a cabinet (Naikaku) with a prime minister as well as ministers of state. They are responsible to The Diet (Kokkai).
Technical AspectsJonathan Hasbun
Through the production of this film many different ideas/methods/techniques were
utilized and developed in order to create this film. In addition many precedents were set by
this film and it has become a cult-classic.
• The film is comprised of over 160,000 (2 – 3 times more than usual) animation cels, due to this it is considered one of the most fluid movies of all time (in terms of animation).
• Akira was also one of the first anime movies introduced to the West which dealt with adult concepts (animation in America at that time was mostly cartoons).
• Otomo created the storyboards for all 783 scenes in Akira.
• He also personally inspected all of the over 160,000 cels used to create the movie.
• The film experimented with using oranges, reds and greens for the night scenary.
• An unheard of (at the time) 327 individual colors were used, several of which were created specifically for the film.
• The voices in Akira were pre-recorded, then the animation was done to match the mouth movements and timing. In Japan the animation was generally produced first.
• Production of this film cost a record breaking $10 million (unprecedented for a Japanese animation film at that time).
• Overall this film is a true masterpiece and a pioneer to future animations.
sources• http://voices.yahoo.com/cultural-importance-japanese-animation-movie-360849.html• http://www.ehow.com/about_4572179_japanimation-movies.html• BlueBlade AKIRA, http://www.bbakira.co.uk/main.htm• Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Akira_%28film%29• IMBD, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0094625/• http://www.akira2019.com/katsuhiro-otomo.htm• http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-japanimation.htm#• “Casting Controversy Over Big Screen ‘Akira’”. The Rafu Shimpo. Rafu Shimpo. Laos
Angeles, CA. 29 Apr., 2011. Accessed 10 October, 2012. http://rafu.com/news/2011/04/casting-controversy-over-big-screen-akira/
• “Fundamental Structure of the Government in Japan”. Based on Organization of the Government of Japan 2007. Administrative Management Bureau, Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications. 2007.
• http://www.filmsite.org/visualeffects13.html • Gillespie, John K., “Key Aspects of Japan”. Sugiura Yiochi. 2004. Accessed 2