Akira Anime Synopsis

This is a synopsis of Akira written by Mathew Zell, it will only be here temporarily until I get around to writing a more mature and philosophical synopsis original to 'AKIRA 2019'. So expect that soon.

Originally done by Matthew Zell for the 1989 Capricorn Anime Guide

On July 16, 1988, a new type of bomb is dropped on Tokyo. During the next 35 years, Neo-Tokyo is constructed around the crater that was once Tokyo.

Kaneda and his friends, a bunch of juvenile delinquents, rumble with a rival group of bikers. Meanwhile, a man holding what looks like a 100-year-old child attempts, unsuccessfully, to elude the police. When the man is shot and killed, the child (named Takashi) screams and shatters the buildings around him. The child escapes in the confusion while Kay and Ryu, the dead man's friends, watch in amazement. The Colonel sets out with Masaru, another of these strange children, to find Takashi. While rioting crowds are subdued by the police with tear gas, Kaneda's rumble continues. Tetsuo takes the lead and, after disposing of his opponents, nearly runs down Takashi. Tetsuo's bike suddenly explodes. First Kaneda, then the Colonel arrive. Takashi and Tetsuo are taken while the rest of the bikers are arrested.

While Kaneda and his friends are being processed, he notices Kay's picture in a book of wanted criminals (Wow! She's cute!). After his interview, Kaneda spots Kay, who has yet to be processed, in the hallway. He manages to convince the officer to let him take her with him. Kaneda is begining to introduce himself when Kay spots Ryu, who has also been arrested. She eludes Kaneda so she can help her friend escape.

While analysing him, the army doctors discover that Tetsuo's mind is psychically active. The Colonel orders Tetsuo to be held and taught to develop his power.

After being disciplined by the gym teacher (Thank You, Sir!), Kaneda and his friends are joined by their girlfriends. Kaori asks where Tetsuo is, but Kaneda can only tell her that the army took him. Later that night, Tetsuo escapes and meets Kaori. The next day, they steal Kaneda's bike and go for a ride. They are spotted by a rival gang and pursued. Tetsuo and Kaori are caught but fortunately, Kaneda and his friends show up before anything happens. They capture one of the bikers, and Tetsuo beats the crap out of him. Kaneda tries to stop his friend before he kills the guy. Tetsuo whirls on him and demands to know why Kaneda didn't help him escape from the hospital. Suddenly, Tetsuo suffers from a strange fit. The army shows up and carries him off again.

Later Kaneda sees Ryu and Kay after they have performed an act of terrorism. He follows and helps Kay elude her army pursuers.

While Tetsuo suffers nightmares in the hospital, yet another one of these strange children meets the Colonel. The girl, Kyoko, says she had a dream in which she foresaw that Akira will awaken very soon. This prompts the general to pay a visit to Akira, who is frozen at 5 degrees Kelvin.

Kay takes Kaneda back to her hideout. Kaneda is still going through his "come-on" lines. Ryu arrives and locks Kaneda up, believing him to be an army spy. They go into one of the other rooms where Ryu receives forged ID cards which will allow them to pass the hospital security. They are planning to break into the hospital and kidnap another of the children. Meanwhile, Kaneda is caught while trying to escape and Ryu accuses him of spying on their meeting (Last line: What ever happened to innocent until proven guilty, eh? Eh? ...I guess not..).

Ryu meets with his boss, who is a member of the ruling council. While they discuss the planned attack, they observe a group of young people involved in a religious ceremony worshipping Akira.

Later, at the council meeting, the Colonel meets with the other members. They are a bunch of petty politicians.They tell the Colonel that he is spending too much money. They have funded the Akira Project for four years and there have been no Results. The Colonel tells them that he is already at his minimum expenditure and warns of the dire consequences if they cut any further. The council ignores him, and he storms out.

While Kaneda, Kay, and her group infiltrate the hospital, Tetsuo's head begins throbbing again. He is assaulted by a series of illusions created by the Children for the purpose of heightening his emotional distress and thereby bringing forth his psychic powers. Tetsuo cuts his foot and the gruesomeness of the scene breaks the children's concentration. Tetsuo, now really pissed, wants to find the Children. Suddenly, he knows how to find them. While Tetsuo makes his way to Room A, Kay and her friends are attacked in the sewers. With help, she and Kaneda steal one of the floating platforms. They set off the find the children.

Tetsuo battles his way to Room A. Meanwhile, Kyoko tells Kaneda, through Kay, the location of Room A. Takashi and Masaru engage Tetsuo in an indecisive psychic combat when the Colonel appears. Tetsuo's head begins pounding again, and the doctor tells him that if he would just cooperate, they could fix it. Tetsuo doesn't believe him. Kyoko tells Tetsuo that the most powerful of them, Akira, had the same problem, but he found peace at last. Tetsuo demands to know where Akira is, and begins tearing the place apart to find him. Kaneda arrives and tells Tetsuo that he's come to rescue him (Come on, you idiot! Let's go already!). Tetsuo, resentful of Kaneda's usual bad treatment, laughs at him. He tells Kaneda that the only help that he needs is to have his head fixed (How ya' gonna help me with that, Kaneda?). He then confronts Kyoko and pulls Akira's location, under the Olympic Stadium, from her mind. He then teleports himself out of the hospital.

The Colonel sets out to deal with the menace when he is confronted by a government agent. He informs the Colonel that the council had decided to strip him of command hand have him arrested. The Colonel resists and realizes he will have to subdue the government so that he can deal with the crisis.

Tetsuo finds his way back to the usual hangout and tells the bartender he wants every drug in the place. He then kills the bartender since he has no money to pay for the drugs. Kaneda's friends arrive at the bar. They find the place a mess and Tetsuo still in agony. The drugs have had almost no effect on him. One of Kaneda's friends makes the mistake of offending Tetsuo, and is killed for it.

In their cell, Kay tries to explain to Kaneda what little she knows of Akira and his awesome power. Kyoko unlocks the cell door and the pair escape.

Kaneda bumps into his one remaining friend, who tells him what Tetsuo has done. Kaneda takes his dead friend's bike and smashes it, vowing revenge. Takashi shows up and kidnaps Kay. Kyoko warns Kaneda that the consequences will be dire if Tetsuo isn't stopped.

Meanwhile, Ryu's boss is trying to make his escape before the army can find him. Ryu shows up and the panic-crazed councilman guns him down.

Tetsuo makes his way to the stadium, demolishing everything in its path. The doctor, who monitors Tetsuo's psychic output, realizes that Tetsuo has become as powerful as Akira himself. Tetsuo arrives at Akira's cryogenic chamber. He is confronted by Kay, who is being controlled by the three Children. She tells him that the power they have must never be used, or a catastrophe will result. Tetsuo isn't buying it, so they fight. Tetsuo prevails, only to discover that all that remains of Akira are some containers filled with a print of his nervous system.

After much fighting with Kaneda and a killer satellite, Tetsuo sets himself up with the containers in the Olympic Stadium. Kaori enters looking for Tetsuo. She finds him writhing in pain. As Tetsuo begins to loose control of his new arm, the Colonel arrives. He tells Tetsuo that his only hope for freedom from the intense pain is to return to the hospital. Tetsuo refuses and attacks first the Colonel, then Kaneda when he arrives. The three Children appear and kneel before the remains of Akira, beseeching his help. Meanwhile, Tetsuo loses control of his power completely. The bottles containing Akira burst open and Akira regenerates himself. His full power bursts forth, recreating the phenomenon that demolished Tokyo 38 years ago, giving Tetsuo the only peace he can ever know.

Kyoko teleports the Colonel to safety, but Kaneda is caught in the explosion. The Children sacrifice themselves to save him. Inside the explosion, Kaneda experiences several flashes of Tetsuo's life: riding down the highway in Kaneda's wake, the strange experiment that gave four ordinary children psychic abilities, and the first time he met Kaneda.

Kaneda finds himself on a mound of rubble and rides off with his friends. Masaru realizes that this is not an end, but a beginning.

In a place that is no place, a voice is heard:

I am Tetsuo.

Copyright © by Matthew Zell for the 1989 Capricorn Anime Guide.