Standard: HKD 85
Concession: HKD 68
Decades after the destruction of Tokyo and a world war, Neo-Tokyo is rebuilt into a metropolis plagued by corruption and violence in 2019. After his friend Tetsuo is captured by government agents, biker gang leader Kaneda joins hands with anti-government activist Kei and members of her group, who plan to rescue Testuo and others who have been abducted for experiments with extrasensory perception. Their collision pushes the dangerous and secretive project to the brink, potentially with grave consequences for the city once again.
Adapted from writer and director Katsuhiro Otomo’s manga of the same name, Akira has become a cultural phenomenon since its initial release. Its influence has exceeded the confines of the cyberpunk genre, reaching the stratosphere of pop music and Hollywood productions. While this classic anime has inspired many readings over the years, this screening spotlights some of the film’s design and architectural elements influenced by the socioeconomic factors in postwar Japan. Akira envisions a future of organic megastructures, like the Metabolist architects in the 1960s and 70s. Yet the line between utopia and dystopia is ever so fine.
The screening on 18 June will be followed by a post-screening talk with M+ Curator of Moving Image Chanel Kong and M+ Curator of Design and Architecture Shirley Surya.
About the Director
Katsuhiro Otomo (b. 1954, Japan) began his career as a manga artist in the 1970s. In 1980, he began to serialized Domu, the first manga to win the Nihon SF Taisho Award—Japan’s most prestigious award for science fiction. His masterpiece Akira was serialized in 1982 and became a best seller in Japan. When the manga was slated for a feature film adaptation, Otomo maintained creative control as director and co-writer of the animated film. The sci-fi classic has since impressed audiences worldwide with its intricate world-building, dazzling visuals, and mesmerising soundtrack. In 1995, Otomo produced Memories—an anthology film based on three of his stories, including a segment he directed. Otomo also wrote and directed Steamboy in 2004.
Image at top: Katsuhiro Otomo. Akira, 1988. Courtesy of Edko Films Ltd