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Akira, Vol. 5 Paperback – January 1, 2002
"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover," illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Learn more
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• "One of the most important manga of the 1980s...four stars." --Manga: The Complete Guide --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
About the Author
KATSUHIRO OTOMO is best known as the creator of the three-thousand page epic Akira. He also directed the groundbreaking animated feature film of the same name, as well as the acclaimed animated film, Steamboy. Most recently, he directed the live-action Japanese film, Mushishi. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Storywise, the world of motorbikes and teenager gangs has disappeared completely, which means we will have no Kaisuke, no Joker, no Clowns... The tone for most of the volume is, admittedly, a bit lighter than the oppressive atmosphere we encountered in the previous volume, making it look more like an action/gangsters/conspiracy story than a proper futuristic cyberpunk one. Paradoxically, instead of focusing on troublesome teenager angst and gang fights the plot seems to deal with more adult-oriented themes than those displayed in volume 1, thus diversifying the change of direction that had already started in volume 2. This, however, isn't distracting in the least, and I believe Otomo manages to develop this segment of his masterpiece with just as much brilliancy as he did with the impressive sewers/laboratory/secret base sequences in volume 2. The detail in the depiction of each panel in nothing short of amazing. Indoors or outdoors, every ambiance is rendered with a rarely-seen accuracy: we get to see the inside of Chiyoko's and Kei's small shelter, Nezu's grand mansion, government offices, or even the inside of a luxury boat. Everything exhales a feeling of verisimilitude that pushes you into the story and makes the reading flow easily.
The inking is brilliant, and the handling of screentones is really solid too. The black and white printing is excellent in this edition, even though the paper could certainly be better--probably a glossy paper would work wonders with this kind of printing. Technically speaking, Kodansha Comics' edition of Akira is far superior than the former coloured edition by Epic Comics (which, by the way, is just terribly hand-coloured in the part where Kei, Chiyoko and Kaneda are held in the boat). A non-flipped edition would also probably be better, even though it might be harder to read for a western reader. At any rate, it should be black and white.
In summary, this is a very worthy purchase: the story has a more down-to-earth tone, there are no motorbikes, gang fights, psychic fights or supernatural elements, yet it countermeasures the lack of those elements with a non-stop action flow, and the depiction of very diverse environments and surroundings is simply masterful. Although this volume does not end in as strong a cliffhanger as the one in volume 2, its ending just makes the term 'epic' sound like an understatement, and will certainly leave you dumbstruck. Highly recommended.
Akira was my 1st introduction into Japanese cartoons during the early 90's and it's awesome coming back to that.
And it does, when Akira's dormant telekinesis power is unleashed, it's nothing short of massive bewilderment. Think of the power of 1000 atomic bombs hidden inside the body of a boy, exploding at the same time. The destructions scenes are so detailed, I couldn't help wondering how long it took Mr. Otomo to draw these pages.
Just sheer wonder.
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