Director: Katsuhiro Otomo
Year Released: 1988
Anime classic and harbinger of the apocalypse: insecure teen Tetsuo discovers he has tremendous telekinetic powers and seeks to resurrect the lost "Messiah," Akira, from his holding cell - naturally, the government, some mutants and Tetsuo's friend Kaneda all think this is a bad idea. Although I generally maintain that films of excellent quality should retain that quality regardless if they are shown on gigantic screens in packed theaters or on one's television set, a few films do lose a lot in the transition, and this is one of them - the perpetually hazy and almost entirely nocturnal Neo-Tokyo of Otomo's mind deserves the bigger canvas. Still, the craft and vision are there, and it's every bit as haunting as Blade Runner ... and yet, after three viewings several years apart, I still am not completely confident I know what happens at the end. Otomo may be concerned with science and technology's effects on the future, but I'm starting to think he believes things can improve (I'm also starting to believe the ending is a direct reference to Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey, which I missed on previous screenings).