Writer(s): Katsuhiro Otomo.
Illustrator(s): Katsuhiro Otomo.
Publisher: Kodansha Comics.
Release Date: July 13th 2001 (first published in 1984).
Genre(s): Manga, Science-Fiction.
My Overall Rating: ★★★★☆.
Previously on Akira:
Akira (Vol. 1)
Akira (Vol. 2)
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.
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.
Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada for sending me a copy for review!
The movie adaptation is considered to be the most visually-stunning and revolutionary animated movie of all time! Have you seen it yet?