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So I just watched Akira and I could follow the main storyline but it was unclear to me why the Esper children attack Tetsuo in the form of toys.

I can't believe they just did it to mess around. Especially since they act so mature later in the movie by first trying to stop, and after that going with Tetsuo.

So why did they attack Tetsuo with the toys?

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    Welcome! If you have two questions, it's better to split them into two actual questions (as in, two separate posts). That way, they can also have more specific titles too. I made this one be specifically about your first question, and encourage you to ask a separate question on your second... well, question :) – JNat Aug 15 '19 at 10:38
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It's been a while since I saw the movie but I know in the Manga that Kiyoko (the girl esper) had a premonition that Neo-Tokyo would be destroyed and Tetsuo would be involved, prompting the attack.

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    This answer addresses the motivation; I would also add that when they attacked him in the form of toys, it was not just to mess with Tetsuo, but to actually kill him with their powers. They just did not expect Tetsuo to be able to resist them. – user6391 Mar 2 at 12:28

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