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Otomo, Katsuhiro – Akira 6

Akira 6

A classic series. Not the best series ever (I still think Lone Wolf & Cub is going to win that prize), but something that every student of comics should read. Don’t let that fool you into thinking that this isn’t a fun series. I think there was more carnage in that last book alone then I’ve ever seen in any series, and boy it that saying a lot. Everything comes to a head here and almost all of your questions are answered. A fairly happy conclusion, all things considered (hey, if you’re reading the review for #6 in a series you must have already read the other books), but the journey is the important part. I mentioned that I think all students of comics should read this series because there are plenty of things done here that just aren’t done in American comics, from the nonstop action to… well, the nonstop action, mostly. A whole bunch of people could learn a thing or two from this. it would cost a chunk of change to own the whole thing, granted, but trust me, it’s worth it. I just spent my whole Monday working at the comic store going through this series and my day just flew by. My ears are somehow ringing from all the written screaming that was going on, but that’s just about my only complaint. Yes, the thing with the pills was brought back again, and it turned out to be one of the most important things in the series. The only subplot I can remember that they didn’t go back to or that didn’t turn out to be vitally important was the school nurse that Kameda talked to in the first book, and that’s so tiny that you can just go ahead and pretend that I never mentioned it. I still can’t figure out why they called this series Akira instead of Tetsuo, unless maybe they thought that would kill the suspense. OK, you know my opinion, time to decide for yourselves!

Otomo, Katsuhiro – Akira 5

Akira 5

I don’t think there’s ever been a time when I was so happy that I didn’t buy a whole series when it first came out, because there’s no way in hell that I would have been able to stay sane if I had seen the last few pages of this book and known that I couldn’t know how it ended for another few months. I’m trying to review just this book, really I am, but it’s hard. Basically, everything that has happened before is starting to make all kinds of sense, and everybody is getting ready for a huge final battle. Regardless of what I’ve said before, don’t you dare buy this one first. You’d be cheating yourself out of the buildup for this great book. In this one Tetsuo is evolving past himself, Kei is the only real chance to save the world, Kaneda is determined to kill Tetsuo before Kei tries and the governments of the world are finally trying to put a stop to everything. Now quit bothering me, I have to see how this ends…

Otomo, Katsuhiro – Akira 4

Akira 4

It took exactly one book in this series to turn it into a masterpiece, and this is it. Granted, it was somewhere between very good and great before, but this took it to the next level. Book 3 ended with Neo-Tokyo being destroyed by Akira, and it looked to me like there weren’t very many places to go from there. Instead, Katsuhiro has opened everything up completely, making the first part of the story a mere introduction to what’s to come. This book opens with Akira in charge of everything and Tetsuo playing the role of servant. The few characters who survived the last blast have had their roles completely thrown away, as there is no longer a government to fight or control. The role of the Colonel is still unclear but he has the potential, and this is something that I didn’t see coming at all in the beginning, to be one of the big heroes of the series. #19 has taken over half of the city, Kei is still fighting, and Kaneda is missing, to name a few. If you’re leery about buying 6 of these books at almost $30 each, this might be a good place to start. You won’t be able to resist getting the other books once you read this, but maybe you can at least stagger your purchases if you start with this one. As always, the recap in the beginning is fantastic. I’m not going to call this the best series ever until I’m done, but it certainly has a chance.

Otomo, Katsuhiro – Akira 3

Akira 3

That… that can’t be the end of the third book of the series. I just don’t get it. I was wondering how they were going to keep up this pace for the whole series, and I guess I just got my answer, because everything they were trying to prevent just happened. The plot got a lot more complicated in this book, with different factions of resistance showing up and the Colonel taking over the government. Akira finally remembers who he is and stuff starts getting out of control soon after that. If you’re wondering how I feel about this series, I’m going to cut this review short so I can see what happens next, if that tells you anything…

Otomo, Katsuhiro – Akira 2

Akira 2

And here I thought the first book was a quick read. At least that one had to set up most of the major plot points, so it took a little while to read, but this one was pure mayhem. One of the major plot points of the first book was that Tetsuo needed a powerful drug that only the government could give him to control his headaches. That seems to have been forgotten almost immediately here, as he escapes pretty early on in this issue to find Akira. Maybe they’ll go back to it later, but if they don’t it’s a pretty major thing to forget all about in my book. Anyway, the series is still great. I can’t wait to see what happens next pretty much all the time, although I honestly can’t see how they could keep this pace up for the next four books. Luckily I’m doing this one book at a time so all I have to worry about for now is this one, and this one if pretty damned good. Mayhem all around, we get to see Akira even if we’re still not sure what he’s capable of, and the other superpowered beings finally show what they can do, even if their fight seems hopeless. It looks like you could even buy these in any order if you really wanted to, as there’s an extremely detailed “story thus far” page at the start of the book. All in all, another great book with a plot point forgotten about, at least for now.

Otomo, Katsuhiro – Akira 1

Akira 1

AKIRA!!!!! One thing about most of the manga that I’ve read (Lone Wolf & Cub being a notable exception), there sure is a lot of screaming. It’s hard to review a series like this in modern terms, seeing as how it been ripped off and imitated so many times. I’ll try to break it down to the bare essentials: the story. The story is set 38 years after WWIII, back before that was a total cliche. Anyway, it starts with what looks like a shriveled child on the run from some mysterious government agency. A gang of teenagers on bikes runs into the guy, causing one of them, Tetsuo, to get hurt. The government takes him in and discovers that he has the potential for tremendous power, which leads to a book-long chase scene, basically. The pace for this is constantly frantic. This book is over 350 pages and it took me maybe an hour to read it. I love the panels that have all kinds of dialogue going on at once because a lot of what they say is so ridiculous. Whether that’s the translation or whether Katsuhiro is just incredibly gifted at dialogue is open to debate. There are times when some of the dialogue seems incredibly silly, but the plot is incredibly dense (we still only have the vaguest of ideas of what Akira is after the first book) and it has a great ability to keep me on the edge of my seat. A cliche comment, I know, but I figure it’s justified when describing one of the books where a lot of the modern cliches came from.