13

Is there some hidden meaning/message in Akira?

Does it have something to do with the scars left in the Japanese by the bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki? And ultimately...

is Akira the A-Bomb?

Or is there another deeper meaning than the one depicted in the movie?

  • Can you provide some reference to back up your question? – кяαzєя Dec 12 '12 at 19:45
  • I do not have it in my possession right now, but I seem to recall reading something about this in Peter Carey'sWrong About Japan. When I have it in my possession I shall edit my question to include these details. – JNat Dec 12 '12 at 19:49
17

The manga is far more informative than the movie. The movie seemed to adapt the first two and the last volumes for its content, without really bothering to explain anything about who characters were and where they came from.

The manga, begins with a nuclear blast that destroy Tokyo and triggers World War III.

It turns out that it wasn't a bomb, but Akira that caused the blast. Much of the plot of the first half of the manga concerns attempts by the military-industrial complex to contain the power of Akira. The central plot device involved an experiment to create weaponized "psychic" children through neuro-surgery and pharmaceutical regimens. Akira was an experiment gone dangerously awry and the child is now kept deep underground (under Neo-Tokyo's Olympic Stadium) within a sort of giant high-tech freezer.

I believe that there is a taboo on overtly discussing the bomb that speaks to a mediation between repression and remembrance. The memory of a nuclear attack on one's own nation is a bit too vivid of a tragedy for many to face directly. The author makes very good use of allegories to present a nuclear holocaust through a shounen type of juvenile and imaginative storytelling. This way, a Japanese reader might be able to be drawn into a subject that would otherwise provoke repulsion, or at least unease and anxiety.

  • I don't think you mean "alliteration", that's when you start all of your words with the same letter. Do you mean allusion? – Danalog Dec 21 '12 at 3:59
  • I actually meant to say "allegory." – кяαzєя Dec 21 '12 at 4:02
  • Now we've got some good alliteration going! Makes much more sense now. – Danalog Dec 21 '12 at 4:04
3

The movie is symbolic of Tokyo in a post world war environment, which is obvious from the first few minutes. Note, though, how it starts with a massive nuclear explosion, forcing Japan to start over and rebuild. Over the next thirty years, Tokyo becomes a hub of technological advancement, and a breeding ground for new businesses and capitalist opportunities. In the process, the people get more greedy, the gap between rich and poor becomes bigger, and the government becomes full of self interest as opposed to service of the people.

The film is a kind of satirical way to look at Japan after the actual nuclear explosions of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It's become a black hole, closing in on itself with all the greed and selfishness from the moves forward Japan made that were almost kind of forced on them because of the results of the Second World War.

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