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Akira, Vol. 1 Paperback – October 13, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Originally serialized in Japan between 1981 and 1993, Otomo's 2,000-plus-page science fiction epic Akira was reprinted as a monthly comic book in the U.S. in the early '90s. This new six-volume series is the first time it's appeared as an English-language graphic novel. Set in Tokyo 38 years after its destruction in World War III (which, according to this story, happened in 1992), Akira eventually evolves into a philosophical investigation of time. But this first volume is all action, nonstop car chases and gun fights strung together with exaggerated speed lines and lots of gigantic machinery. The complicated plot revolves around two teenagers in a motorbike gang that encounters a strange child with an old man's features. When one of the young bikers begins manifesting violent, supernatural powers that threaten to destroy him, both bikers find themselves enmeshed in a massive conflict between two sinister agencies (which both believe they're fighting to save the world) over some unnamed thing so terrifying it's locked away in a vault and frozen to absolute zero. Akira has been praised for "massively decompressed storytelling" a few seconds of story time can take pages and Otomo's hyperkinetic black-and-white drawings explode across the page. The translation is sometimes a bit awkward, although it still expresses the story's visceral force. The book has been adapted into an animated film that's a favorite among anime fans.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


“One of the most important manga of the 1980s, Akira influenced thousands of science fiction manga and anime with its dark urban future.”—Manga: The Complete Guide


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Product Details

  • Series: Akira (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Kodansha Comics; 1st edition (October 13, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1935429000
  • ISBN-13: 978-1935429005
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1.1 x 9.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (108 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #20,039 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

47 of 50 people found the following review helpful By "themancalledsam" on December 27, 2000
Format: Paperback
I picked up volume 1 at a store yesterday, and I've already read it twice. This is a fantastic manga. The AKIRA series stretches over 2,000 pages and 6 volumes. It's won almost every Japanese Manga award imaginable, and with good reason. It's fast paced, intelligent, well-written, with great artwork, smart dialogue, and an interesting plot. Although the pricetag may seem a little steep, don't forget that each volume is over 350 pages long. If you think that's interesting, keep in mind that this first volume barely even scratches the surface of the story, it merely sets the stage for the cataclysmic events that will follow in the other volumes. You will like this manga if you like science fiction, action, comic books, manga, have seen and enjoyed the Akira anime movie, enjoy deep plots, or are looking for something new and different. You won't like it if you're sensitive to blood and violence, find the idea of black and white comics for adults ridiculous, and have no taste. Overall, this is a great manga, and no collection should be without it.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By "deusjester" on February 15, 2002
Format: Paperback
A lot of people are familiar with the film version of Akira. Readily available in the US, it's become a keystone in many American anime collections and is revered by many as one of the best Anime films ever made.
Of course, along with the praise comes the obvious (and, in many cases, justified) complaints regarding the movie's plot and pacing. As wide in scope as the movie is, it's also exceedingly vauge on many topics, and it seems like it only offers a glimpse into something much larger as opposed to being a singular narrative in and of itself.
Well, Akira fans, your boat has come in. The original Japanese Mangas (comics) are now available in the US, and to those unfamiliar with the works of Mr. Otomo, brace yourself. This is the world of Akira as it was originally concieved, and the result is simply breathtaking. If you thought the movie lacked scope, wait 'till you get ahold of these books.
The futuristic story of Akira revolves around several factions - government, anti-government, spiritual, political, and more - all struggling against each other in an attempt to unearth a secret that started the third world war. That secret is a child, Akira, subjected to tests and adjustments by a government project to bring his latent psychic abilities to their full potential. Now, he is gifted with a complete attunement to the ebbs and flows of all the energies in the universe...And the ability to control them. He is the ultimate evolution of humanity, and the most dangerous and uncontrollable weapon ever unearthed by science. After an unleashing of his energy sets off World War III, he is locked deep underground at absolute zero, kept asleep until modern science can figure out a way to deal with him.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By "war_of_the_4" on October 10, 2002
Format: Paperback
I've seen the anime of Akira. I knew the manga was long and had tons more things happening than in the anime. This still did not prepare me for reading this series!
Akira is a classic, and once you read all six volumes you'll understand why. It is a massive plot branching out further than the movie. The characters are far more developed and the story is more involved. I don't know what else to say besides, "GO BUY IT! ALL OF IT!"
For those of you who have not seen the movie, and/or are just getting into the whole anime/manga thing, pick these books up. It's a great example of what the world of anime/manga has in store for you! It also helps that the series is complete, unlike some that were cancelled ("Bio-Booster Armor: Guyver" from Viz) or are still being published ("Ranma 1/2" also from Viz) I recomend these as well.
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Arturo Ruiz on June 13, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I originally started reading Akira in the Epic/Marvel books in color in the early 90's but I never read it all the way because they never reprinted the last volume. Now, after all these years, I can actually own these milestone books and finish reading them.
No collection would be complete without them! The Akira manga is an influential work of fiction and one of the precursors of the Cyberpunk genre. Akira's influence (both manga and film) can still be felt throughout manga, comics and movies. One of the things I like the most about Akira is that the movie and the manga are not just versions of one another, but complementary works that enrich each other.
In Akira #1 we meet the main characters but we only scratch the surface of the story and who is Akira. This 360 page book is filled with action and suspense. Neo Tokyo, 38 years after world-war III, is a city with complex problems, not the least of which is the numerous biker gangs. Meet Kaneda and Testuo. These two friends will soon be engulfed in a gigantic plot mixing politics, futuristic weaponry and a mysterious foce known only as Akira.
Characters in Akira seem real beacuse of their flaws. Kaneda is brave but also a slacker. Kei is more level-headed but belongs to an extremist group.
Despite its seemingly steep price, it's worth every penny.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Travon J. Boykins on May 6, 2001
Format: Paperback
When I heard of Akira, people regarded as the finest Anime ever. I watched when I was 11 or 12, and it blew my mind. It was unlike any other animation I have ever watched before. Years past, and I have watched more anime. Akira didn't hold the same spot as it once did. With series like Evangelion and Cowboy bebop and movies like Ghost in the Shell and Princess Mononoke, who can blame me? Well, to celebrate the revival of Akira on the scren, Dark Horse brings the fame anime in a form most americans have never seen before...Manga! I knew there was a manga for it, but never had the chance to read it. Luckly, my friend (and fanboy in arms) ponied up the... bucks for volume one. You knowhow people say the book is better than the's so in this case. And, all things considered, it makes sense. A 2,000+ page manga cut down into 2 hours means a lot of things will be left out. It's a shame, but now comes a chance to redeem myself. Pick this book and see what I mean. Oh, and one more thing: Tetsuo!!!!!!!
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