Akira #6 (Manga Monday)

cover This review is written with a GPL 3.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at Bookstooge.booklikes.blogspot.wordpress.leafmarks.tumblr.com by express permission of this reviewer

Title: Akira #6

Series: Akira

Author & Artist: Katsuhiro Otomo

Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars

Genre: Manga

Pages: 460

 

Synopsis:

Tetsuo pretty much fights with everybody-the Americans, Kaneda & Kei, Lady Miyako and the Specials- and loses control. Loses control of his power, his body and his mind and keeps morphing between being Tetsuo and an amorphous conduit for the Energy of Life.

Neo-Tokyo is bombed, solar lasered multiple times and then Akira’d.

The Ending, where Kaneda and Kei take up where Tetsuo left off with the Great Tokyo Empire, was a bit of a disappointment but considering when this was written and what the culture was at the time, not surprising.

 

My Thoughts:

This had some seriously awesome battles. Tetsuo morphing into a giant blob and destroying things, Tetsuo capturing one of the laser arrays and crashing it into the American naval group, Tetsuo and Akira’s energy getting jiggy.

Kaneda shooting, laser gunning and then just punching out Tetsuo.

It was great.  5 star Great in fact.

However, the ending, where it turns out that Akira and the specials were the next genetic step of Mankind but had been forced by the scientists to become what they were and Akira’s desire to just be with his friends, was a let down.

The kid started/ended World War III, was cryogenically frozen and was the Fear of the whole freaking world, turns out to just want his friends? Yeah, lame.

I don’t understand the whole Tetsuo/Akira thing. Somehow they had to meet at just the right time, their energies combine and then all the kids could be together? I realize manga likes to be vague, but this was positively opaque.

The final message, that Japan was going to stand on its own 2 feet and would no longer brook foreign intervention was definite political pandering of the day.

Overall, the series was good and I am glad I bought these. I highly recommend this to older teens and up, as this is a good series to show the roots of manga in America.

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Akira #5 (Manga Monday)

64f018d0ac375570e7b16f0a4076a375 This review is written with a GPL 3.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at Bookstooge.booklikes.blogspot.wordpress.leafmarks.tumblr.com by express permission of this reviewer

Title: Akira #5

Series: Akira

Author & Artist: Katsuhiro Otomo

Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Genre: Manga

Pages: 416

 

Synopsis:

America prepares to invade Japan to kill off Akira and Tetsuo.

Kei, Lady Miyako and the remaining 3 Special Children prepare to take Tetsuo over and use his power to kill Akira.

Kaneda gathers the last of the biker gangs, gets some serious hardware [another laser gun] and prepares to kill Tetsuo to spare Kei from harm in her attempt.

Tetsuo, clean from drugs, has his power soar. He goes nuts and puts a hole in the moon, takes over an American aircraft carrier and sets off some nuclear warheads. And he’s losing control of his body to the power, which simply wants to use him as a conduit.

And Akira. A silent young child who is totally enigmatic and who we still don’t understand a thing about.

 

My Thoughts:

I didn’t enjoy this volume as much as the previous one, not sure why though.

This had more focused action, more plot advancement and Kaneda was back. I like Kaneda 🙂

Part of it was this was lots of setup for the final volume and I wasn’t expecting setup. That’s what Volume 4 was for. This was like a 3rd down in football where the ball is handed off and advanced 1 yard. Strategic, but not that exciting run down the field or the unexpectedly clever long throw.

I will say that Tetsuo taking a chunk out of the moon was pretty exciting though! and seeing how using the power is affecting his body is just plain creepy. Speaking of creepy though, Akira, just sitting there looking through his almost slitted eyes.

For a young boy who has said nothing in 5 volumes, he gives me the shivers. I felt sorry for him at first but after the revelations by the group of scientists on the aircraft carrier that he is simply a pure conduit for the Power, I wanted him destroyed as much as the Colonel wants him destroyed.

Lordy, I want to read the final volume NOW! But delayed gratification, it is good too…

Akira #4 (Manga Monday)

5403a1ddcc0062c0817c0880710a8feb This review is written with a GPL 3.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at Bookstooge.booklikes.blogspot.wordpress.leafmarks.tumblr.com by express permission of this reviewer

Title: Akira #4

Series: Akira

Author & Artist: Katsuhiro Otomo

Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

Genre: Manga

Pages: 400

 

Synopsis:

Japan has collapsed. Russia has taken over the north. America is sniffing at the south, but is aware of Akira’s potential and so staying relatively neutral.

Tetsuo and Akira have created a New Japanese Empire in the rubble of Neo-Tokyo and are opposed by Lady Miyako and the remaining Special Children. Tetsuo is trying to grow his power but after a look into the mind of Akira he practically curls up in fear.

Akira, and what he wants, are still a mystery. But we now know that he is not some innocent little boy. He has ideas and plans of his own.

Kei and Chyoko are doing their best to protect the last 2 of the Special Children and to reunite them with Lady Miyako, who is herself a special child from an earlier experiment than Akira came from.

Kaneda is gone for 9/10’ths of the book until he appears with a building falling from space right at the end.

 

My Thoughts:

This is definitely a mature manga. There are several instances of male and female nudity and while they aren’t pornographic, they are graphic enough for any hormone driven teen.

The violence is another issue. One particular instance stood out to me. A man gets his face ground into glass fragments by another character.  It was brutal and not for the faint.

But with all that, I was wicked impressed with this volume. I can’t really quantify why I liked this one so much, or even the whole series, but something just resonates in me when I read this. Maybe it is because men will always have that little boy inside who wonders if they are really cut out to be a Man. Or it might be the whole freaking nonstop action and superweapons and people doing incredible things with their minds.

I don’t know why. But I do know I like this.

Akira #3 (Manga Monday)

cd90ed50f19fb6c0e0c770e4edcef83f This review is written with a GPL 3.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at Bookstooge.booklikes.blogspot.wordpress.leafmarks.tumblr.com by express permission of this reviewer

Title: Akira #3

Series: Akira

Author & Artist: Katsuhiro Otomo

Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars

Genre: Manga

Pages: 284

 

Synopsis:

The Colonel activates a coup after losing Akira and takes over Neo-Tokyo [because we all know that as Neo-Tokyo goes so goes the rest of Japan].

The rebels are betrayed by one of their own, a schemer who wants Akira for himself so he can be a “player” in the big leagues.

A new group of super powered children appear, apparently loyal to the leader of the rebels, a certain Lady Miyako who is also super-powered, somehow.

Kaneda, Kei and a new sidekick, a true blue Japanese Mama-san are running all over the place, trying to keep Akira safe. Oh yeah, Kaneda steals a tank. Yeah, for real.

Finally, Akira. The poor kid is passed from group to group like a football at the Superbowl and at the end, he psychically explodes and a good part of Neo-Tokyo is now gone. And Tetsuo appears next to him at the last page of the book. Good times ahead!

 

My Thoughts:

This ran the gamut from sad [Takeshi, one of the ‘old’ kids getting his brains blown out] to funny [Kaneda stealing a tank is just awesome! This whole volume would have been worth it for just that!]

This is definitely not for everyone. But I would highly recommend it unreservedly to any guy or to anyone else looking for some epic scifi blow-em up action. If you’re looking for deep character development and monologues about feelings, go read something else. Seriously.

I’m off to eat a rare steak and shoot some guns. And maybe steal a tank while I’m at it *wink*

Akira #2 (Manga Monday)

d9c4565bc5811245c538cd97126c5180 This review is written with a GPL 3.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at Bookstooge.booklikes.blogspot.wordpress.leafmarks.tumblr.com by express permission of this reviewer

Title: Akira #2

Series: Akira

Author & Artist: Katsuhiro Otomo

Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Genre: Manga

Pages: 304

 

Synopsis:

Kaneda and Kei escape from their holding cells and the top secret base with help from some of the special children. Only to come right back to try to kill Tetsuo and prevent him from releasing Akira.

Tetsuo does his bully thing, hurts the special kids, finds the holding place for Akira and heads over there. Only to find Akira has removed himself from his cryogenic prison and is now free. A free 10 year old boy.

The Colonel orders a Level 7 Alert [higher alert than a nuclear threat] and has a Space Satellite try to fry Tetsuo and Akira. Of course, they freaking miss and all they do is burn off Tetsuo’s arm, at which point the volume ends.

 

My Thoughts:

This volume was much less graphically violent than Volume 1. Kids weren’t decapitating each other with pipes, etc, etc. But Tetsuo powers up with a new teleport ability and insta-healing and is just as psychotic and douche-baggy as ever. I really want to see him hurt and die; his attitude makes me sick.

Kaneda and Kei are much more of a team now. While Kaneda is still a hormone filled teen, he is getting to the point where he can now kill Tetsuo instead of hesitating. Kei is still the mature young woman just like from the beginning. Their back and forths are amusing.

I am VERY glad that I own all 6 volumes already, because if I had to wait between volumes, it would kill me. The tension of just what is going to happen is dramatically ratcheting upwards and the mystery surrounding Akira, who we find out is just a young boy, deepens. And will Akira help, fight or surrender to Tetsuo is just eating at me.

If I weren’t doing a weekly manga review, I suspect I’d be reading these volumes one a day and just gorging on them.

Akira #1 (Manga Monday)

19ff612df33d3488ec2e95f07ac1af41 This review is written with a GPL 3.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at Bookstooge.booklikes.blogspot.wordpress.leafmarks.tumblr.com by express permission of this reviewer

Title: Akira #1

Series: Akira

Author & Artist: Katsuhiro Otomo

Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars

Genre: Manga

Pages: 360

 

Synopsis:

Best friends, Kaneda and Tetsuo, are juvenile delinquents at a reform school. They are popping pills whenever they can and driving their motorcycles with their gang whenever they can.

One night Tetsuo gets into an accident trying to avoid a mysterious stranger and is taken to a hospital. When he comes back, he isn’t the same Tetsuo.

Kaneda gets involved with a rogue group in the process of trying to find Tetsuo and runs afoul of a secret military branch.

And through it all, Akira, a secret weapon that started and ended World War III, is spoken about in hushed tones. What, or WHO, is Akira?

 

My Thoughts:

I read this sometime back in the early ’00’s soon after all 6 volumes were released by Dark Horse Comics in collected form. I was wicked impressed.

I was wicked impressed this time around as well. This blends punks, drugs, military, extra-sensory individuals and teen romance into one huge story. There was very little setup and we just jumped right in to the story. Kaneda and Tetsuo are shown as good friends, but thankfully there aren’t endless flashbacks to their childhood or any such thing.

Otomo does a fantastic job of transforming Tetsuo from a slightly mild mannered punk into a vicious psychopath with unknown powers. You can also practically see Destiny with a Capital “D” surrounding his friend Kaneda as the one who will have to stop him.

This book is in a large format, which it has to be since most manga are around the 200-+ page mark and this is almost double that. One of the benefits is being able to peruse the pictures and SEE what is happening instead of just racing through the words. One thing I did find slightly disconcerting was that there were several instances where things seemed to have happened out of panel that we aren’t privy to and the characters are reacting to that. Have to pay attention.

The artwork is what we have come to expect from a Post-Apocalyptic Neo-Tokyo. Highways leading to nowhere, futuristic military “things”, the down and out slumming on the corners, massive underground mechanical items that we simply don’t know what they are.

This re-read has lived up, so far, to my memories. I am glad of that.