Akira

Around May and June, each year since then I sort of think about it. I alway have a quick feeling about this time, the time I saw this movie which would totally and absolutely change my perception of stories and narration.

It was out  May 8th, 1991 in France. I must have seen it during the Ascension stuff, my parents were on a weekend trip and my cousin was pre-teen sitting me . I was 10, I was hitting my 20th+ hour of detention (I was chatty and my voice was moving into the get-busted bass frequencies) and knew that this weekend was the only way to see it because of course, my parents wouldn’t have let me do that if they had known about the punition thing, probably would have sent me to the shrink for wanting to see that Akira thing. Thankfully my cousin signed up the detention paper and allowed me to go to the theater.

Akira French Poster 
Pretty awful French poster version but at 10, you think it’s badass!

I was with my best friend and his mom, a bit late. The movie had already started but it couldn’t matter less. Of course when we saw Kaneda we thought out loud “it’s him, Akira!” and then we stopped talking until the end because it was so fucking disturbing, dreamy, violent, amazing, eerie. It was like a kick in the balls with fingers in the eyes and a punch in the stomach all together.

At this time and a few years earlier I was digging Heroic Fantasy stuff. I had my LOTR collection, I had read all the Knights of the Round Table stories I could put my hands on, I was totally into Guillaume d’Orange and could name any part of a medieval castle and explain what it was meant for. Epic.

All of this stuff was being severely damaged with this Japanese masterpiece. Suddenly, my culture and entertainment bubble seemed so freaking old and totally uncool compared to this movie, Dragon Ball on TV (which was getting crazier and crazier, Freezer battle) and Street Fighter II being out. Like, light-years old. Swords arrows magic and helmets were so ridiculous compared to fire balls, laser beam satellites and powerful psyche it wasn’t even funny. Tintin, Spirou, Comics Superheroes, US cartoons (really I mean, really?) were all so inexistent all of sudden. As a child your imagination gets stimulated by everything. I was overwhelmed by stuff I had never thought of before, this mix of realness with unreal in every way (narration, design, themes) stimulating my imagination to much higher levels. So much more nuances. Japan seemed like the Land of Superior Brains. It started ten years of mangas and anime being my primary culture food aside of computer games.

Akira Original Poster
Best 2 Wheels Design Eva, that is all.

I would have to wait three or four years –remember kids, no internet- before having Akira on tape and watch it again in the family couch. It was end of May start of June too.

Anyway, it was a deep experience that no “real movie” except maybe some Lynch’s matched ever. When Terminator 2 loudly came out this same 1991 year, it didn’t impress me. It couldn’t man. At all.

Since then I always have thought about this warm end of May day I’ve been hit by the power of imagination, big time.

Holy shit I want to watch it now.

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