Last week was a major event for us geeks.
Not just anime geeks, or sci-fi geeks, or cyberpunk geeks, or any particular niche. It can be said as a matter of fact that the 1988 film Akira completely defined sci-fi, cyberpunk, and anime for American audiences in the modern era, and all of us — regardless of our particular flavor of geek — benefited. Akira helped usher in an appreciation for animation as mature art in the West. It was the first animated film to be passed around by art school geeks, animation geeks, sci-fi geeks, computer geeks, cyberpunk geeks, and every other form of geek, all of which had one reaction:
They showed their friends. Their friends, while maybe not into geek stuff, certainly had to appreciate the craftsmanship and sheer spectacle of Akira. Even watching it in a theater or on VHS, one had to marvel at the fluidity of the animation, the astounding color palette, and the mature subject matter. This wasn’t a kids’ cartoon. The climax wasn’t just some dopey dog and spunky cat tricking the shopkeep into giving them a hambone while a slide whistle signaled someone slipping on something. Political coups. Military takeovers. Biker gangs. Violence… Oh so much violence. Psychic warfare. Human test subjects. The literal end of times. And it was glorious.
And last week, The Japan Times ran an entire weeklong feature called, appropriately, #AkiraWeek. As The Art of Akira Exhibit guy with a ton of original cels, Matt Schley (the hardest working man in anime reporting!) reached out to me and we talked for hours. As a result, last Wednesday, they ran an entire feature on me. That was, without a doubt, one of the biggest honors I’ve ever received. They also quoted me in the huge Sunday roundup a few times.
It’s so wonderful to see the world bringing up Akira again and discussing all of its amazing accomplishments. As an expert on the film, I could write up my own piece about it all, but I really think Matt nailed it in his feature. I really hope you dive into it and learn about this film which has fundamentally affected my life to the point I toured the world for 5 years showing people the art from it. And when asked if I was planning on doing something for 2019, the year the film takes place, I had to say “I’d like to”. Because I really would. But I also have to be honest with myself. Those 5 years were blessed with having the finances, time, and pure energy it took to pull it off, and I’m not so sure I could do it again without help in at least two of those categories. So who knows. That said, I’m open to opportunities!