Akira (Vol. 3) by Katsuhiro Otomo

details
Title: Akira.
Volume: 3.
Writer(s): Katsuhiro Otomo.
Illustrator(s): Katsuhiro Otomo.
Publisher: Kodansha Comics.
Format: Paperback.
Release Date: July 13th 2001 (first published in 1984).
Pages: 296.
Genre(s): Manga, Science-Fiction.
ISBN13: 9781569715253.
My Overall Rating: ★★★★☆.

Previously on Akira:
Akira (Vol. 1)
Akira (Vol. 2)

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Katsuhiro Otomo is known for his international classic Akira and rode the train to fame with his critically-acclaimed movie adaptation of his story. His visual story-telling style is beyond this world, with his attention to detail that instantly grabs your attention. With the first two volumes, he was able to establish his vision onto a solid foundation that sets it clear that he was not to abide by the rules of any genre but to concoct the perfect cocktail that fills you up with action, thrill, mystery, sci-fi, and chaos. Although his story continues on the same route with no real revelations offered to the reader, there is an underlying sense of impending denouement that keeps you hooked till the end, craving for more with every flip of a page.

What is Akira (Vol. 3) about? This volume picks up where the previous one ended with Tetsuo standing in the rubble of the apocalyptic telekinetic blast that the young boy Akira once caused and incidentally gave birth to Neo-Tokyo. With his life threatened by those who do not want to see him unleash Akira, he finds himself looking up at the end while multiple different factions attempt to get their hands on an unconscious Akira. From Kei and his friends to the Colonel and his military arsenal, the story is structured around each party’s hunt for Akira with varying intentions guiding their search and capture.

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Unlike the previous volume, the third volume keeps the story moving forward and ends on a devastating note. Katsuhiro Otomo also continues to develop his universe with the introduction of new powered individuals and makes sure to use them to their full potential. The most fascinating element about this volume is how the release of Akira changes the political landscape and completely transforms the world’s priorities, similar to nuclear threats in our current time. This escalation of fear leads to the installment of martial laws and nuclear-resistant spider-bots that enforces the law and intensifies the power struggle. It is under these circumstances that the loyalty of every individual is put to the test and reveal their true colours.

Where Katsuhiro Otomo strikes the right chord is with the artwork. So far into the series he has successfully proven his ability to propel the story in the direction he envisions the world of Akira without tripping along the way. His meticulousness is beyond this world as his characters and the environment showcases subtle details that gloriously embellishes his ideas. The final act is, in fact, a stellar example of his talent as he lets his artwork do all the speaking. Although the volume does feel a bit on the acceleration and brings into play characters you’ve never heard of without giving the reader enough time to indulge their existence and personalities, the pacing is still exhilarating, tantalizing and exciting. There’s little time to even give those niggles any of your attention.

Akira (Vol. 3) is an exciting and stunning chapter in the saga that explores a world on the brink of extinction with numerous powerful entities looking to seize back control of the world.


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Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada for sending me a copy for review!

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The movie adaptation is considered to be the most visually-stunning and revolutionary animated movie of all time! Have you seen it yet?

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14 comments

  • Glad to see you’re still making your way through this awesome series. I watched the movie but have to admit I didn’t like it. The violence, etc just overwhelmed the art and that is what attracts me to the books so much. I figure Akira is probably the one piece of graphic art that I can view as a window into the world of visual arts.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yep. I plan on completing the series before I check out the movie and hopefully before that live-action movie is released as well! I concur, the artwork is really impressive and must be regarded as one of the best of the medium.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I know exactly what you speak of and would love to get my hands on it but the price is insane. I think you should give the manga a try first, at least the first volume, before you commit on such a huge purchase. The box set also contains the manga in its original reading direction instead of the American direction (paperback)! Hope you’ll get the chance to try it out someday and that you’ll enjoy it if you do! 😁

      Liked by 1 person

  • Great stuff sir, more wonderful insight from you on this series and it’s good to hear that volume 3 is an improvement on volume 2 which I recall you were left less impressed by. It really does sound like there’s so much more going on in the manga, but it obviously has more room to breathe and expand over the course of 6 volumes as opposed to condensing things into a 2 hour movie.

    I definitely plan to rewatch and review the anime at some point this year, did you hear that development on the live action version is gaining traction? i have mixed feelings about that given how disappointing Ghost in the Shell was and with the fact that Taika Watiti is directing…he’ll certainly deliver on the visuals but I’m worried he’ll goof it up a bit too much a la Thor.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, my friend! I’m impressed that you remember my thoughts for the second volume hahah This one was a nice upgrade in terms of story and art. I am curious to find out how much room the manga actually gives the author compared to the movie. And hopefully the ending won’t leave a bad aftertaste too!

      I heard about Taika Watiti and his implication in the upcoming live-action movie and I’m far from being optimistic about it. 😬 I do hope the comedy won’t be too overwhelming, if he does focus on the little comedy the manga contains.

      By the way, I’m off on a Euro tour which includes your corner, London (actually, since you’re in UK, I assumed you lived at the heart of it hahah)! Got any recommendations? Geeky secret locations or not? 😁

      Liked by 1 person

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