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The animated Akira movie (not the manga) contains a number of explicit Judeo-Christian religious terms, in addition to the overall apocalyptic themes. The most prominent of these (from the 2001 dub) are:

  • When the citizens of Neo-Tokyo see Tetsuo deflect tank shells and destroy helicopters and tanks, somebody shouts out, "It's the Great Awakening!" while another says, "Don't be fooled! This isn't the Rapture! He's a false messiah!"

  • Later, Lady Miyako appears with her entourage and, during the chaos of battle, chants, "Burn all the unclean believers of our time! Give yourselves into the flames, children, you will all be born again. Consume our hearts! Wash our unclean hearts in the eternal fire!"

While different cuts of the movie may be of different runtimes, the scenes I'm referring to occur from approximately 1:06:00 (Tetsuo walking out of the smoke of the exploding helicopter) until 1:08:00 (Nezu's escape), and then 1:10:00 (Miyako's entourage) until 1:12:00 (Tetsuo destroys the bridge).

Were these religious references, extremely familiar to American Christian society, part of the original Japanese dialogue, or were they 'westernized' for the English dub? What was the meaning of these quotes in the original Japanese context? (e.g., did it refer to messianic figures or raptures etc?)

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    Would it be possible to give approximate times in the film when those lines occur? I'd like to hear the original Japanese spoken text. – Killua Aug 12 '15 at 19:47
  • Certainly, @Killua - while different cuts of the movie may be of different runtimes, the scenes I'm referring to occur from approximately 1:06:00 (Tetsuo walking out of the smoke of the exploding helicopter) until 1:08:00 (Nezu's escape), and then 1:10:00 (Miyako's entourage) until 1:12:00 (Tetsuo destroys the bridge). Many thanks! – Meir Illumination Aug 12 '15 at 20:26
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These were not direct references to Christianity in the original.

When Akira is seen surviving the tank shot, the dialog among the onlookers is:

アキラ様
Lord Akira!

アキラ様の降臨だ
It's Lord Akira's advent/coming!

違う 騙されてないかん あれはアキラ様ではない
No! Do not be deceived! That is not Lord Akira!

うるせー アキラ様、万歳
Shut up! Long live Lord Akira!

With the use of 降臨 (kourin, lit. advent), it does sound somewhat... spiritual. But it does not seem to be a direct reference to Christianity at all, rather just the coming of a godlike being—Akira.

The second scenario is mostly the same, in that the subtext is spiritual but not Christian or even really religious.

おお、清浄の炎よ
O, flames of purity!

汚濁の街を焼き払い
Burn down this corrupt city!

我らの穢れた心を焼き尽くすがよい
Burn up our impure hearts!

恐れてはならぬ
Do not be afraid!

その身を炎で清めるのだ
Your bodies will be cleansed by the flames!

There's nothing about being believers or belief, and nothing about being born again.

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