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Akira Review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 4.0

    out of 100

    Generally favorable reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 70

    out of 100

    Village Voice Michael Atkinson

    Some kind of fever-dream masterpiece, easily the most breathtaking and kinetic anime ever made and one of the most eloquent films about atomic afterclap.

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  • 80

    out of 100

    The New York Times Elvis Mitchell

    Violent as it is on the surface, Akira is tranquil at its core. The story's sanest characters plead for the wise use of mankind's frightening new powers, lending the whole film the feeling of a cautionary tale.

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For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Pause for kids 17 & under

Extremely violent classic introduced anime to Westerners.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Akira is a landmark of anime, a superproduction in Japan, and a cult classic in the United States; it introduced many Americans to the genre. It's available in an English-dubbed version as well as a Japanese version with English subtitles; this review references the English version. The violence is quite incredible, with numerous battles, fights, and shootouts, with blood, and escalating into nightmarish, disturbing imagery. Language is fairly constant, but rarely escalates to the "big" words, "s--t" and "f--k." "Damn" and "hell" are used regularly. There's one scene of female toplessness (in a moment of violence rather than intimacy), and a moment of sexual groping in the background of a scene. This is essential viewing for any serious teen fans of anime, though it's one of the most intense examples.

  • Families can talk about the movie's violence. Does it seem to get stronger and more disturbing as it goes? How does watching super violent content make you feel?
  • What is the movie actually about? Who or what is Akira? Is the reappearance of Akira a good thing or a bad thing?
  • Is it possible that memories and knowledge are passed around throughout the universe? What are some of the movie's other themes?
  • When Tetsuo achieves his great powers, why does he immediately choose to use them for destructive behavior? What else could he have done?
  • What makes anime so popular? Why is Akira considered such a great example of the genre?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: This highly complex movie deals with many issues, ranging from the concept that ideas and memories are saved and passed from being to being throughout the universe, to the idea of a messiah that could save (or destroy) everything and everyone. There's also a small argument as to whether to deal with things via violence or science, but movie's overwhelming violence tends to steamroll over any other potential themes.

  • rolemodels true0

    Role models: Since it's not always easy to tell who is doing the right thing in this story, and since nearly every character reacts to nearly every situation with violence, it can be safely said that there are no clear role models.

What to watch for
  • violence false4

    Violence: This movie has incredible amounts of sci-fi violence, ranging from spectacular, large-scale battles and explosions, to angry mobs, guns and shooting and motorcycle fights. Many characters are shot, and blood is on display. A major character loses an arm. Dogs are shot. A young woman is beat up in one sequence. The movie takes place after WWIII, and shows images of a nuclear explosion. As the movie progresses, the imagery becomes more and more nightmarish, unexplainable, and disturbing (it begins with giant stuffed animals attacking a young man).

  • sex false4

    Sex: A young woman is shown topless in one sequence; it's a scene of violence rather than sexuality. In an earlier scene, a man in the background of a bar is shown kissing and groping a woman.

  • language false4

    Language: Language is fairly strong, but tends to avoid "f--k" and "s--t" too many times, concentrating instead on a plethora of "damn," "hell," "jerk," "loser," "idiot," "piss," "bitch" and "son of a bitch," "bastard," "sick mother," "Goddamn," "Jesus Christ," "ass," and "a--hole." The word "f--k" is never spoken, but can be seen written as graffiti in a few background shots.

  • consumerism false2

    Consumerism: The movie's most powerful and most coveted motorcycle has a "Canon" sticker on it, shown often. A Coke can is visible in one shot.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false1

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Characters are seen smoking in the background.