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The film that helped introduce anime to Western audiences, the highly-influential cult classic Akira is a twisted dystopian parable of violence and rock-n-roll, Japanese style, based on the comic book by Katsuhiro Otomo. Neo-Tokyo, 2019, and the city is being rebuilt after World War III. Kaneda and Tetsuo, two high school drop-outs, are members of a joy-riding motorcycle gang. One day, the aimless pals stumble upon a secret government project to develop telekinetic humans, apparently for use as weapons. The despotic authorities, the robot-like police, and even his own cycle gang eagerly pursue Tetsuo when he’s bombarded with a new, insidious energy source that has rendered him telekinetic. Soon, Tetsuo learns of the existence of his ‘peer’ Akira, the project’s most powerful subject, and sets out to challenge him in a final showdown. Highly imaginative, relentlessly violent and beautifully animated, Akira is a head-spinning trip into a dark and dangerous future. (Dir. by Katsuhiro Otomo, 1988, Japan, In Japanese with English subtitles, 124 mins., Rated R) Digital