Total # of Volumes: 2
(click link to view)
2: 2001 Pioneer Release
(click link to view)
Genre: Science Fiction
Languages: English VHS, Japanese w/subtitles VHS, or Multilingual DVD
Video: 16:9 Anamorphic Widescreen Ratio
Audio: 5.1 Dolby Digital
American Release Status: Unavailable
Creator: Katsuhiro Otomu
Director: Katsuhiro Otomo
Character Designer: Katsuhiro Otomo
Music: Geinoh Yamashirogumi
Animation Director: Takashi Nakamura
Animation Studio: Akira Committee
American Producers: Geneon/Pioneer
Title: 2001 Pioneer Release
Running Time: 124
Number of Episodes On This Volume: 1
1: The Movie
The film opens by introducing us to Kaneda and Tetsuo, members of a teenage bike gang. They soon are involved in a thrilling motorcycle battle with a rival gang, the Clowns. Meanwhile, an older man with a small, mysterious young boy are trying to elude the authorities. The child is a subject in the Akira experiment and the government will do anything to get him back. They end up killing the man, a member of the resistance, in front of the boy. The boy unleashes an incredible power that destroy the buildings around him as he recoils in horror at the scene. He then disappears.
Tetsuo, the young biker, encounters the escapee from the experiment and ends up injured. He is then taken to the lab along with the escapee and is made an unwilling participant in the project. Kaneda, along with the rest of gang, is captured and taken away. During the interrogation he meets Kae, a young woman who is active in the resistance. Kaneda assists her in escaping and ends up helping her through to the end of the movie.
A little later, Tetsuo manages to escape from the lab. He returns back to his old haunts and catches up with his girlfriend. But they are soon jumped by the Clown gang. Kaneda arrives in time to save them and it is then that Tetsuo experiences his first taste of the "Akira" power. This allows the army to locate him and they return Tetsuo to the lab.
Back in the lab the three other subjects, one of whom is the young boy Tetsuo met on that fateful night, realize that Tetsuo is dangerous and try to destroy him before he becomes too strong. They are too late. Their attack only manages to awaken Tetsuo to his newfound powers and he goes on a rampage through the lab.
Meanwhile, Kae and Kaneda have joined a resistance assault team bent on infiltrating the lab. Only Kae and Kaneda manage to get through (with the help of one of the test subjects). When they arrive, they discover an ongoing fight between the test subjects and Tetsuo. During the conflict Tetsuo learns of the secret location of Akira and flies off. Kae and Kaneda are once again captured and detained.
In the cell, Kyoko, a test subject, speaks through Kae and explains what is Akira. She tells them that it is an experiment to transform a human into a being of pure and unlimited power. She also reveals that the cause of the great war 30 years previous was started when Akira achieved the pure energy state and destroyed Tokyo in the process. She then releases them from the cell and compels Kae to assist them in defeating Tetsuo.
Tetsuo becomes more and more unstable as his powers continue to grow. He wreaks havoc throughout Tokyo as he makes his way to the storage facility that contains Akira's remains. There he fights with Kae, whose has been given great powers by the test subjects and later with Kaneda, who attacks using a laser gun. Neither is successful. Finally, the army attacks using a space-based weapon and manages to seriously wound Tetsuo.
This wound ends up being Tetsuo's undoing. He uses his powers to create an artificial arm to replace the one destroyed by the military's attack but soon loses control over it.
Tetsuo's body is then transformed in a giant, pulsating mass. The test subjects arrive and realize that there are no other options left. They summon Akira and plead with him to take Tetsuo. Akira complies and a huge energy ball is unleashed. This blast causes massive destruction.
Trapped inside the blast, Kaneda is taken on a journey very similar to the sequence Dave Bowman experiences in the classic sci-fi film , 2001.
As Kaneda travels through this strange space, he is shown memories from both the test subjects and Tetsuo's past. Eventually, Kaneda is called back to the real world by Kae.
The movie ends with Kaneda clasping a small spark of energy in his hands and whispering "Tetsuo". He and Kae then head off into the city.
Finally, we the viewers, are sent through the same strange trip Kaneda encountered and discover a space of swirling colors and energy which solemnly announces, "I am Tetsuo", the final words of this great work.