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Akira (Japanese: アキラ) is a 1988 Japanese animated post-apocalyptic cyberpunk action film directed by Katsuhiro Otomo, produced by Ryōhei Suzuki and Shunzō Katō, and written by Otomo and Izo Hashimoto, based on Otomo's 1982 manga of the same name. The film had a production budget of ¥700 million ($5.5 million), making it the most expensive anime film at the time (until it was surpassed a year later by Kiki's Delivery Service).
Set in a dystopian 2019, Akira tells the story of Shōtarō Kaneda, a leader of a biker gang whose childhood friend, Tetsuo Shima, acquires incredible telekinetic abilities after a motorcycle accident, eventually threatening an entire military complex amid chaos and rebellion in the sprawling futuristic metropolis of Neo-Tokyo. While most of the character designs and settings were adapted from the manga, the plot differs considerably and does not include much of the last half of the manga, which continued publication for two years after the film's release. The soundtrack, which draws heavily from traditional Indonesian gamelan as well as Japanese noh music, was composed by Shōji Yamashiro and performed by Geinoh Yamashirogumi.
Akira premiered in Japan on July 16, 1988, where it was distributed by Toho; it was released the following year in the United States by Streamline Pictures. It garnered an international cult following after various theatrical and VHS releases, eventually earning over $80 million worldwide in home video sales. It is widely regarded by critics as one of the greatest animated and science fiction films ever made, as well as a landmark in Japanese animation. It is also a pivotal film in the cyberpunk genre, particularly the Japanese cyberpunk subgenre, as well as adult animation. The film had a significant impact on popular culture worldwide, paving the way for the growth of anime and Japanese popular culture in the Western world as well as influencing numerous works in animation, comics, film, music, television and video games.
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