Akira (Vol. 5) by Katsuhiro Otomo

details
Title: Akira.
Volume: 5.
Writer(s): Katsuhiro Otomo.
Illustrator(s): Katsuhiro Otomo.
Publisher: Kodansha Comics.
Format: Paperback.
Release Date: March 1st, 2011 (first published in 1984).
Pages: 416.
Genre(s): Manga, Science-Fiction.
ISBN13: 9781935429074.
My Overall Rating: ★★★★☆.

Also in the Akira series:
Akira (Vol. 1) by Katsuhiro Otomo
Akira (Vol. 2) by Katsuhiro Otomo
Akira (Vol. 3) by Katsuhiro Otomo
Akira (Vol. 4) by Katsuhiro Otomo

thoughts

There aren’t many mangas that successfully changed the game as Akira did. This Japanese cyberpunk series written and illustrated by mangaka Katsuhiro Otomo from 1982 to 1990 has managed to open the eyes of many creators on the ways that a story could be told through this particular medium. With the release of the 1988 anime movie based on Akira, the visionary direction of mangaka Katshurio Otomo allowed his franchise to reach fans all around the world as they welcomed this masterpiece into their lives and allowed it to change their perception of visual storytelling. So far in the manga, the story has brilliantly evolved into a symbolic exploration of life through pain, destruction, and rebirth. While touching upon various ideologies, the story depicts a tragedy unfolding in the hands of children condemned to carry around a tremendous burden as they try to survive a fateful calamity.

What is Akira (Vol. 5) about? Following the catastrophic events that occurred in the previous volume, the story continues with the reemergence of the Great Tokyo Empire filled with insane zealots worshipping through fear Akira and Tetsuo, two of the most powerful beings with godlike telekinetic powers. On the horizon, other countries attempt to study the psychic chaos and destruction through scientific lenses, trying to figure out a military and technological approach that could stop this anarchy from expanding and growing with unbelievable consequences that could cause their world to see its end far sooner than expected. On the grounds, rebel legions look into their last resort, the ultimate key to defeating Akira and Tetsuo once and for all. If nothing is done in time, then the end is nigh.

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It was hard to imagine where the story will go next, having explored religion and philosophy through the rise of a civilization and its pending implosion. However, mangaka Katsuhiro Otomo provides fans with a thought-provoking analysis of international warfare as it pits the American military and international scientific forces against the spiritual and occult forces of the Great Tokyo Empire. Inevitably, this leads us to discover the abnormal transformation of young Tetsuo who now embraces his abilities with open arms—pun intended—and quickly learns the intricacies of what he can now do to any material object around him. To complement this battle, the story also regroups several past characters together in an attempt to destroy Akira and Tetsuo by utilizing secret weapons with incredible implications. It’s once these characters made peace with what they had to do for one another that the volume ends on a cliffhanger where all hell will undoubtedly break loose in the final volume of Katsuhiro Otomo’s classic manga.

There’s no surprise when it comes to the artwork as mangaka Katsuhiro Otomo continues a phenomenal job in drawing with meticulous detail the characters and setting in this volume. From giant aircraft carriers to an Olympic Stadium, his visual style is a testament of his unmatched talents as a visionary creator. Through the art, he was able to highlight the epic scale of his story as he attempts to not only draw ground, sea, and air combat but to also go beyond the planet’s atmosphere and illustrate an impending majestic cataclysm. The emotions in this story are also cranked up as several characters realize the tight and unbreakable bond that they now have between each other, developed since the beginning of this wild adventure. Through the artwork, mangaka Katsuhiro Otomo was also able to showcase these emotions and emphasize on the power of friendship and love while reminding everyone that the greater good remains in saving the world from its end.

Akira (Vol. 5) is a thrilling and inspiring chapter in the chaotic and paranormal exploits of telekinetic superhuman children as science goes up against divinity.


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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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13 comments

  • I had not realized it was released over almost 8years. Man, am I glad I could read the whole thing at once!

    How do you feel about this a “manga”, versus some other manga? I love this but wouldn’t recommend it to a lot of people who might want to dabble in manga just because it is so intense. Just like I wouldn’t recommend Dickens to someone who wants to read a book for fun and hasn’t read one since highschool. Funny thing is, I still recommend it 😀 😀 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    • It’s indeed nice that they’re collected properly, there aren’t a gazillion volumes to pick up, and you can easily reread/dive into each volume, knowing exactly what happened so far. I look forward to the final volume soon.

      Oh, it’s nothing like the more popular modern manga series nowadays. It’s not oriented towards the same public either, I feel. I wouldn’t recommend Akira to people who are looking for something like Death Note, Bleach, Naruto, etc. Exactly like you, I see it like a classic à la Dickens. Depending on whose asking, I’ll recommend it only if they are ready to take into consideration the context behind its creation and if they’re looking to understand the underlying themes/ideas and not just superficial action scenes! 😛

      Liked by 1 person

    • I think I’d recommend it to people who are ready to appreciate it beyond the 1st degree, as in, they’re looking for a manga that doesn’t just give “sexy characters” and “epic action scenes”. If they want to approach the manga as a cultural event in manga, something that has historical/social allusions to real-life, with underlying philosophical/religious themes, then it can be a fun entry to manga.

      Otherwise, if they’re more of the kind to enjoy the modern series that are fun, exciting, clever, etc. I’d probably lean towards popular titles like My Hero Academia, One-Punch Man, etc. hahaha

      Liked by 1 person

  • Man, I wish they would release digital editions of this series – I’d definitely like to check it out (alas no space I can spare for these chunky volumes) someday as it clearly delves deeper into the themes the anime movies could only really touch upon in its running time. Awesome review sir, look forward to your thoughts on the final volume!

    Liked by 1 person

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