I don’t disagree at all that it has manic intensity, and the movie lets you know where it’s going right off the bat when I think it was cowboy comes and pours coffee into 3 mugs using a coffee pot with 3 spouts.
I could imagine my drug fueled friends an I sitting in our living room at college and coming up with “and then happens” and giggling and repeating it for hours. These guys just put it down on paper as a script & filmed it.
I recently re-watched Akira, which I’ve been meaning to do for a while to see if it holds up or not.
The first ~20 minutes are astonishing. Like, instant-goosebumps good. Watching that, even today, its easy to see why the film made the impact it did, and imagining watching it when it was released? Mind Blown, for sure.
The rest of it…is less good. It’s still good, but it’s complicated. It has a lot to say about the culture that produced it, but that stuff isn’t as obviously impactful without context. There’s just a lot going on, very little of which I would have picked up when I watched it as a kid. It is, by various turns:
A protest against governmental corruption / incompetence
A transhumanist / trascendence story
A critique of toxic masculinity
Obligatory post-war Japanese nuclear panic
A criticism of the unethical pursuit of science
A portrait of Gen-X / cold war disillusionment and generational conflict
It stumbles and meanders a fair amount along the way (the way it handles scene transitions is especially notable and jarring: it often just hard-cuts when a scene is done). But while that does interrupt the viewing experience a bit, it doesn’t destroy it.
In terms of “anime classics”, I liked it significantly more than GiTS, which I re-watched last year.
Yeah, agree. While the rest of the movie has some insane animation and visuals, is kind of a meandering story, not as tight as the first act until Tetsuo gets injured. But man, some of those visuals.
The part where the giant animals are coming in to see him/intimidate him until he overwhelms them and the layers of toys and pillows fall off like decaying husks revealing them as the children.
Some of the explosions and destruction of the city. I still can see in my mind the part where they shoot lasers into the protesting crowd and that one guy seems unharmed for a moment until his whole side cleaves off and slides down in a geyser of blood. Something about the timing of that shot always gets me.
And of course, Tetsuo’s transformation at the end, his uncontrolled organic growth and incorporation of non organic elements into his body. The juxtaposition of organic and non organic in one grotesque form has been recreated many times. It was awesome to watch back in the day, there was nothing else like it.
There was actually a super, super bizarre (you have been warned) live action Japanese movie called Tetsuo (no relation, but same exact name of the main character) released a year later than had some seriously weird special effects along that line. If you watch it I’d drink a bit before viewing so when the drill bit penis sex scene/murder scene happens you will be prepared.
No exaggeration, it’s one of the most bizarre films I’ve ever seen, but also one of the most atmospheric. You could almost call it cyberpunk. But I guess the same thing can be said about Akira.
I have a full collection of color Spanish volumes in big format (14 volumes, 18x23cm), from when I was 12 or so (I think I started collecting then and probably finished at about 16 years old or so). It’s glorious.
Great to hear! We still haven’t had a chance to watch it yet.
We did, however, see A Town Called Panic and it was off-the-wall madness and we loved it. Steven the shouty farmer had us laughing a lot, especially his breakfast routine. I was going to say ‘another great French animation’ but it’s apparently Belgian.
Has anyone around here seen much of Jan Švankmajer’s stuff? He’s one of my favourite animators, Czech and a surrealist. His shorts are great but I was first introduced to him through Alice. I haven’t seen it or Little Otik (another of his feature-length films) for many years now but I recall Little Otik not being as good, but certainly as creepy and weird. Either way, I’d highly recommend checking his work out, particularly if you’re a fan of stop-motion animation and surrealism. This was a pretty good gallery: https://imgur.com/gallery/OqXTj
I remember watching that back in the day. Really a movie that made you wonder if you should have been high or seriously drunk to fully appreciate it. Or, alternately, a movie that makes you wish you HADN’T been drunk or high while watching it because of the nightmares it caused for days.