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Thursday, 13 March 2014

Akira (Anime) Film Analysis Part 4: Sins Of Science


Akira goes to great lengths to suggest that over ambitious scientific study can lead to disaster. Throughout the film the idea of interfering with Tetsuo's psychic abilities presents itself as a destructive decision, as it fails to keep him under control and only ends up provoking him even more. The choice to study Tetsuo was conducted fully knowing the risks involved, but lacked any restraint in actually trying to prevent the disaster before it was too late. Its possible that this idea has some links to the idea of nuclear weapons, the idea of a powerful and dangerous creation basically being used on its own creator due to accidental reasons and a lack of proper control over it. Akira's iconic opening shot demonstrates the nuclear viewpoint even more, evoking imagery of a large explosion consuming Tokyo. This ties into Akira's study of a post war Japan, and it economic issues following such a destructive series of events, events it caused by underestimating scientific consequences. Japan faced a real life nuclear attack during the second world war, something it has difficulty recovering from. Akira alludes to this openly, portraying a post World War 3 Japan as being economically unstable, and socially unstable. The metaphor for the nuclear issue is Akira himself, the one who destroyed old Tokyo. However is this instance it wasn't a attack from an enemy like it was in the second world war, it was from within Japan, and was the result of scientific incompetence   As I have said in the other 3 parts of the analysis, Akira has themes of rebirth, revolution, and growth. The idea of Tokyo essentially creating its own destruction is a interesting take on the fears of technology, and how when not harnessed properly it can cause disaster. Nuclear plants have meltdowns, machines malfunction, and a lack of security are probable occurrences and fears for many people. In the world of Akira, and the real world now, there is a over reliance on technology being our saviors, and Akira plays against this feeling of comfort and security by having technology be our downfall, and the idea of interfering with things we cant fully understand to be a apocalyptic consequence.


This is a common theme in many cyberpunk stories, the machine metaphorically rebelling against its creator. although in Akira's case its not necessarily just the machine, its nature. Tetsuo's destruction at the end of the film reduced Tokyo to rubble and ruins. it no longer stands proud as a city, but a hollow shell of a civilization reduced to nothing. It almost like the city was never there, its like new ground for a new earth, where a new city will eventually take its place. The cycle of destruction will continue from here, again and again.

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