A essay about Otomo’s work, “Freedom” and “Akira” part twoPosted: March 13, 2011
Akira Volume 1
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)