A essay about Otomo’s work, “Freedom” and “Akira” part four

Akira Volume 5
Akira Volume 5
Although the extent of change was less than that of the other characters, Kaneda also changed in the movie. Even though Kaneda’s scene was only slightly defferent, it caused a big difference in the impression for the audience.
I felt that Kaneda changed too fast. He pulled his gun on Tetsuo too quickly.
He went to the trouble to rescue Tetsuo in the laboratory like as his protector, and next time they met, Kaneda fired a laser beam at Tetsuo without hesitation.
It was somehow weird that the gap between his protective feelings and his murderous intent was overly wide.
In the manga, he hesitated. He held the gun, but he couldn’t fire, Yamagata was killed by Tetsuo before his eyes and then he finally fired.
It was the same in the movie that he had murderous intent after Yamagata was killed. However, the audiences impression of Kaneda is different whether an episode like the above is shown or not.
Also, I read that Kaneda in the manga didn’t want to kill Tetsuo. Kaneda was saying he would kill Tetsuo and he seemed to imagine himself having the intension to kill. But, I think certainly what he wanted to do in fact was to hit Tetsuo, grab him by the collar and shout “What happened to you Tetsuo? /Why are you doing this? ”(どうしちまったんだ鉄雄オ!)
Also, I want to say one more thing about Tetsuo.
Both in the manga and in the anime, Tetsuo call Kaneda for help when he was metamorphosising.
In the movie, didn’t you think that it was really wishful thinking to call for help just after getting aggresive and behaving so outrageously? I thought so.
This is also another example of the impression for the audience being quite different although the event was basically the same.
During this same scene in the manga, my heart was touched when Tetsuo called out for Kaneda,. Just while Tetsuo’s personality was blown away by his own power, a piece of his identity, which remained at the end, called out for Kaneda.
Showing the “dere” after staying “tsun” during five and a half volumes, I definitely regard this as the ultimate “tsundere!”

In the above, I described my dissatisfaction with the movie and the difference from the manga.
I’m sure you could understand that I love Akira and that’s the reason why I am so critical of the movie.
I like this manga so much. All of the elements of this manga are attractive.
The story, pictures, dialogue, gadgets, and especially characters are superb.
Not to mention the main characters like Kaneda and Tetsuo. Every suppoting character, like the colonel, lady Miyako, Kei, Kaori, Kai and Joker, are real and full of human-attraction.
Akira’s story is grand.
It is an exciting Si-fi story in which psychic power, the government, army, the collapse of Neo-Tokyo and evolution of human beings develop to the limit of the screen and the page.
On this grand stage, however, the core of the story is a drama of Kaneda and Tetsuo.
It’s an ultimate human drama in an extreme situation.


A essay about Otomo’s work, “Freedom” and “Akira” part three

Akira Volume 2
Akira Volume 2
May I say the most unsatisfying point in movie?
It’s that Tetsuo didn’t look cool. As a Tetsuo fan, I couldn’t forgive this.
(Sorry to fans of the movie version of Tetsuo. You say that Tetsuo was cute and lovely. Probably you are tolerant and broad minded person. I’m not mature enough to approve of this a childish foolishness.)
Tetsuo in the movie was simplified so that it might be easy for the audience to understand. I can summarize the story about him in one sentence. “A weakling got psychic power suddenly, became elated, went berserk and brought on his own downfall in the end.” Such a character is not interesting because he is too stereotypical and simplified.
Tetsuo in the manga is a more complicated character, who has a vicious and dark attractiveness.
He is not the runt of the biker group, as he was in the movie. In the first volume, Kaneda said, “he is the scrum half in our biker gang” (In the English version, this dialogue was “He is the one of the best riders”) It shows that he was in an important position of the gang. He is not a typical “weakling.” His emotion toward Kaneda doesn’t seem merely an inferiority complex against the strong which the weak possess, but a sense of rivalry on even terms, mixed with pride and attachment. His emotion toward Kaneda was not blatant but expressed restrainedly. It was much more impressive than the movie.
This is moe! (Mr. Otomo, may I interpret that in the end of the fourth volume, the reason why Kaneda appeared was that Tetsuo called him? )
(I wrote before that many important things were explained in the manga, but not everything was explained with dialogue. Some events unfolded without dialogue and the readers had to interpret the story from the development of the events. “Kaneda’s appearance” was one such episode. What was shown in the story was that Tetsuo called Kaneda’s name for reasons unclear to the readers. At the same time Kaneda’s phantom appeared and when Tetsuo’s power was aroused, Kaneda (who seemed as if he had been dead) appeared with the buildings that were absorbed in the collapse of Tokyo.
I think at least it’s certain that Tetsuo’s power caused Kaneda’s appearance, but I’m not sure whether Tetsuo did it consciously or not. There is room for some interpretation by the readers.)

Then, in the movie, Akira had been dead and become a dissection specimen before the beginning of the story. Although I understand that this couldn’t be avoided. If Akira was revived during the last 20 minutes of the story, the movie could not have finished in two hours.
However, I was disappointed.
I like Akira.
I especially liked the scenes of Akira with Tetsuo. They were very impressive. I think the most beautiful scene was the one in which Tetsuo came to Akira in the ruins of Tokyo in the 3rd volume.
Akira’s personality had been blown away by his own power, he was always expressionless, but he showed a little human-like reaction only to Tetsuo. I liked the scenes that depicted communication between only two people like that so much
(To tell the truth, I can’t tell what was between Tetsuo and Akira even in the manga. This is also another episode which was not explained with words. It doesn’t seem to be a friendship, but they seem to understand each other somehow and it seems that there was a strange sense of solidarity.
Since there were little words during the scenes with them, the picture in those scenes are very powerful and beautiful as if Otomo devoted all his drawing power and skill to the pictures. I think that this is the reason why I liked the scenes of Akira with Tetsuo.)

(Continued to part four)

A essay about Otomo’s work, “Freedom” and “Akira” part two

AKIRA [Blu-ray]AKIRA [Blu-ray]
Akira Volume 1Akira Volume 1
著者:Katsuhiro Otomo
Kodansha Comics(2009-10-13)
I won’t explain about the anime “Akira” now because it is too much of a famous anime.
If you don’t know Akira, please read Wikipedia or reviews on Amazon.
I will write this essay on the assumption that the readers have watched the anime.
I hope that you read the manga also, but I think that most people outside Japan are less familiar with the manga than the anime. Also the English version of the manga is expensive and difficult to find.
Still, I recommend reading manga because the manga is so much more interesting than the anime version!
I felt certain of it while reading and watching again during the holidays.
To tell the truth, I don’t like the anime. Although I’m a big fan of Akira, or rather because I’m a big fan of Akira, I can’t rate the anime positively.
I know that the anime was a globally sucessfull and epoc-defining film, but I didn’t think the story was interesting.
I understand that it couldn’t be helped that the story was shortened for the anime
The manga has six volumes and the anime has only two hours. I understand that it must be impossible to show the entire original story in the movie..
However, even if I consider such a condition, I still think that the story in the movie was too rough.
The way the story develops was almost the same between the manga and the movie, until the point when Tetsuo arrived at Akira’s place. In the manga, this was the story in the 2nd volume. The movie skipped the episodes of the remaining four volumes and suddenly reached the end.
In fact, the end of the story in the movie and in the manga was almost the same too.
Tetsuo’s power becomes so strong as Akira to the point that he couldn’t control it, he was metamorphosed by the power of himself, his power and Akira’s power collided, the two of them became stars or a new universe or something else and they disappeared.
But the process to the end was completely different in the manga compared to the movie.
In the manga, Akira was alive and woken up, (In the movie, he had already become a dissection specimen.) he destroyed Tokyo once again, the Great Tokyo Empire rises, Lady Miyako and Kei and “Numbers” who had survived, tried to bury Akira using Tetsuo……
In this way, the story, which took four volumes in the manga, was drastically cut in the film.
It’s reckless, isn’t it?
What would you think if Snow White grew up quickly and the queen was jealous of her and next, Snow White married the prince?
Or, what would you think if Frodo left Shire, got to Rivendell and next, he threw the ring.
To skip the process spoils the story.
Also, before the audience gets a chance to find the story interesting or not, they must first understand at least the basics of the story. It is probable that those who have not read the manga would not be able to understand the story. In fact I’ve heard several people who’ve watched only the movie say that they couldn’t understand the story. I think that it’s a matter of course. In the movie, anything important wasn’t explained at all.
The largest factor of the difficulty of understanding was that Lady Miyako, who was one of the most important characters in manga, was merely a walk-on in the movie. She was a key person and only person who could explain about Akira, the project that created Akira and what was happening in the chain of events.
If Miyako doesn’t do it, another character should play the role in the movie, but nobody did. I dare to point out that it was a serious mistake of the adoptation.

(And then, there was also a monk from Tibet called Karma Tangi in the manga.
He made some important explanations too. I don’t think there was a scene in the movie that explained the reason why Tetsuo metamorphosed. In the manga, mentor Tangi explained it properly as shown in the panel. Many important dialogues had been cut, so the movie became incomprehensible.)

(Continued to part three)

A essay about Otomo’s work, “Freedom” and “Akira” part one

I found this video on Youtube.

As you can see, this is a TV-commercial for Nissin cup noodle. There were ten versions that were made and broadcasted from 2006 to 2008. Throughout the series, these commercials show one anime story. This promotional project was titled “FREEDOM project.” As part of the project, the 7-part anime video DVD, titled “Freedom,” was released simultaneously.

(You can watch the trailers of the DVD on the official website FREEDOM-PROJECT.JP )

I watched some parts of this commercial series on TV and they were very impressive. But I couldn’t watch all of them. (Isn’t it difficult to watch a commercial on TV that you actually want to see?)
Then I was able to watch them in their entirety on Youtube and I was attracted the anime. The movies really stimulated my otaku mind.
I also rented the DVD immediately.


I will explain the outline of the story.
The stage is set in the 23rd century, in a city named “Eden” on the moon’s surface.
Civilization on the Earth was destroyed by a large disaster and war 160 years ago. Eden had been built by people who survived on the moon. For the sake of human beings surviving safely, the society of Eden was completely managed by the Eden Administration Bureau.
Eden was located on the far side of the Moon, so ordinary people couldn’t see the earth. It was believed that it would be impossible to live on the earth even now.
One day, a boy whose name is Takeru and his friend, Kazuma found out a strange message when they went out of the city dome. Takeru thought that it was from the earth. He and Kazuma went to the near side of the moon in spite of the danger.
Takeru and Kazuma saw not a reddish earth (as people believed) but a beautiful blue earth.
They headed for the earth on a rocket while they were pursued by the Eden Administration Bureau because they had known the secret.

By the way, the characters in the story, Takeru and Kazuma, resemble Kaneda and Tetsuo, who are the characters who appeared in a manga that was adapted to the anime movie in 1988 entitled “Akira.”
In fact, the character design of “Freedom” is by Katsuhiro Otomo who is the author of “Akira.”
However, Otomo only worked on the character and mechanical design, not on the story, so it is improper to call “freedom” Otomo’s new work.
If you watch it as Otomo’s work you might be disappointed, because the story is simple, straight and kind of juvenile Si-Fi, not at all like his normal work.
Anyway, the characters are the children who still have genes from Otomo.
Although there are those who criticize Otomo as he made repeated use of the same characters from Akira, I think that it can’t be helped that all his characters are alike since Otomo will always have a certain style.
It’s enjoyable for me that it looks like Kanada and Tetsuo are playing in another world.
In that way, I enjoyed this “Freedom” series immensely.
I also found fan-sites of “Freedom.” These sites were very interesting.
Most of these sites have content about Akira, which made me want to reread Akira.
So, I reread all volumes of that manga during Golden Week, and also watched the anime DVD.

(Continued to part two)