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Akira, Vol. 1 Paperback – October 13, 2009

4.8 out of 5 stars 123 customer reviews
Book 1 of 6 in the Akira Series

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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.

Review

“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: 7.2 x 1.4 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (123 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,023 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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By A Customer 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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By A Customer 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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Format: Paperback
'Akira' and 'Lone Wolf and Cub' were among the first complete manga masterpieces to be published in English, and despite the mirror-imaging, were very similar to their original tankobon incarnations. Katsuhiro Otomo's SF-classic 'Akira' -- as well as it's equally brilliant predecessor, 'Domu' -- revolutionized Japanese comics. It introduced realistic, incredibly detailed artwork that merged a far more subtle manga stylization with European influences, incorporating aspects from the art of 'Metal Hurlant' regulars Moebius, Francois Schuiten, and Enki Bilal. The importance of 'Akira' is difficult to express, but it certainly rivals US contemporaries 'Watchmen' and 'The Dark Knight Returns', though it ran far longer than either title. While the film adaptation is perhaps the best anime -- and animated -- film ever made, Otomo wrote and directed his debut when he was only around half-way through the manga. The 6-volume, 2200+-page series is not just 'worth checking out' for fans of the anime, it's essential. The film contains less than 15% of the super-epic that inspired it, but the art, the characters, the basic plot, and the light-speed pacing will all be unmistakably familiar.

P.S. While I prefer the original right-to-left orientation for translated manga, Kodansha is still using the Dark Horse translation that appeared before Japanese formatting surprised the hell out of US publishers by catching on. It's only as big a deal as you make it, in my opinion; obsessive-compulsive types are out of luck, but anyone who has recovered from the mind-blowing shock of confronting a left-handed doppelganger in the bathroom mirror will do just fine. My preference for R-to-L has to do with preserving the artist's original vision... does that sound right? Something like that, anyway.
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