Graphic Novel - 2009-2011
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Welcome to Neo-Tokyo, built on the ashes of a Tokyo annihilated by a blast of unknown origin that triggered World War III. The lives of two streetwise teenage friends, Tetsuo and Kaneda, change forever when paranormal abilities begin to waken in Tetsuo, making him a target for a shadowy agency that will stop at nothing to prevent another catastrophe like the one that leveled Tokyo. At the core of the agency's motivation is a raw, all-consuming fear of an unthinkable, monstrous power known only as Akira.Katsuhiro Otomo's stunning science fiction masterpiece is considered by many to be the finest work of graphic fiction ever produced, and Otomo's brilliant animated film version is regarded worldwide as a classic.This edition includes a new foreword from the author and a postscript from Dark Horse publisher Mike Richardson!
Publisher: New York : Kodansha Comics, c2009-2011.
ISBN: 9781935429005
Branch Call Number: 741.5952
Characteristics: 6 volumes : chiefly illustrations (some color) ; 26 cm.


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Andrew Kyle Bacon
Feb 20, 2018

Volume 1: Being that this is my first time reading AKIRA, it's a bit difficult to rate this singular volume on its own. What I can say, is that the art is tight and punchy, even if action continuity between panels is not always clear (it can be difficult to discern what exactly is happening on a few pages), and the story itself is an engaging page-turner. I feel like the translation could possibly use some work, as some of the dialogue seems fairly stilted, but it's not so bad as to turn your eyes back in your skull.

I'll be very excited moving forward to see where the story goes. I've seen the film AKIRA before, so I'm curious to see what material was left out (or possibly added) when the book was adapted to the screen. Which, mentioning the film version, brings up another point regarding the art in this book: it is very cinematic, with each frame feeling like a "shot" from a movie. There is a lot of implied motion going on between the individual panels, and I feel like AKIRA does this better than most other comics that I've read (with a few exceptions aside).

Volume 2: This second volume of AKIRA fails to grab the reader quite in the same way that Volume 1 does, and yet it seems overall to be the stronger of these first two parts. The characters are all developed with more quite a bit more depth in this volume, and the issues with action continuity between the individual panels (that is, being able to follow the action) is much stronger here. The ending of this second volume is highly engaging, building up to a fever pitch, and the whole volume remains a page-turner. There's clearly a reason AKIRA is considered one of the greatest graphic novels (mangas) of all time, even in spite of its flaws. The dialogue is also much improved here, which is a breath of fresh air. I'm excited to dive into volume 3.

Volume 3: AKIRA only gets better as it goes. The characters develop, the plot becomes more intricate, and the art gets more and more polished. The detail in many of the panels is incredible. This is an incredible improvement over the first two volumes. The last sixty pages of this book are some of the most cinematic and beautiful panels I've ever seen in a graphic novel. The revelation of AKIRA is stunning to behold. Vol. 4 can't arrive soon enough.

Volume 4: Despite having the roughest start so far, Vol. 4 of AKIRA ends up standing head and shoulders above its predecessors. The opening sections of this book litter the pages with too many uninteresting characters and events, and features an extreme leap forward in time since the last book. These facts make the first third of the book a slog to get through. But at some point a switch flips, the story suddenly gets a hold of its tone and pace, and the book turns into an adventure. The panels whizz by like a blur, with each picture kinetically connecting to one another, creating in the mind a sense of motion which I've never before experienced in a graphic novel. With each turn of the page, the book goes faster. The story flies by, first two panels at a time, then two pages at a time, and then twenty pages at a time. Suddenly the book is done, and you find yourself starving for more. At this point, it makes me a bit sad to know that I have only two volumes remaining in AKIRA. I could read this forever.

So far, this is a stellar read and I'm excited to see what happens next. I'll update this review as I go forward!


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