Part of what makes a great action movie is not knowing what the hell is going to happen. Unfortunately, most American action films fall into one of a limited number of plot patterns, of which there are about five or six. The good guy has to live. Has to get the girl. The world must be saved before bedtime. And so forth. Good films overcome this predictability by sheer quality, by making you forget youíre watching a movie. Youíve seen Star Wars twenty times, but your heart still beats a little faster when Darth Vader comes up on Luke in his supercharged tie fighter. You get so caught up with the action you forget you already know whatís going to happen. Thatís all for American films. Japanese films never signed this treaty. In fact, Japanese films do just about whatever the fuck they want. Enter Akira. The beauty of watching Akira, at least, for me, as a dumb American, is I really have absolutely no idea whatís going to happen. And this is after seeing it ten or so times. The story is just that whack. One, therefore, wonders if watching more Japanese animation would dampen or enhance my excitement over Akira. And one does not know the answer, yet.

What I can say is that compared to the more recent Japanese hit, Spirited Away, Akira seems to have the more meditative soul with rich musical panaways and a more intense portrayal of character motivation. People die in this movie! And the flashback sequences regarding the relationship between the children are as exquisite.

Akira! // Hanada!

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