Autoethnographic account of Akira (1998)

I thought autoethnography was quite a bizarre concept when first presented to me at the beginning of the session. Being a process of writing about epiphanies which stem from experiences with and being within culture using autobiographic and ethnographic techniques, it seemingly went against my whole educated life in which we’re taught to remove personal connotations and approaches in the presentation of research. However, this waiver of uncertainty was surpassed when Ellis, Adams & Bochner clarified that it is not simply recounting personal experience, but rather using ‘methodological tools and research literature to analyze [said] experience’.

I would not call myself knowledgeable on manga or anime. The most experience I’ve had is watching Spirited Away and dressing up as Sailor Moon one time (attempting to, anyway). In saying this, I was pretty excited to find out we were watching one of these films because I’ve always been quite fascinated by them. When I googled a fan made trailer for Akira (1998) the night before class, I was not prepared in the slightest for what was in store. I braced myself for what seemed like a grotesque, animated exploration of flesh and ego.


Things I felt, thought and/or experienced while watching Akira (1998):

  • (Medium) Appreciation for the skill of the artwork and graphics. I was so mesmerized by the light trails in the street racing scenes. It really was a visually stimulating 2-hour watch.
  • (Plot) Wondered how kids so young had such impressive skills on a motorcycle and got to be involved in such rebellious, violent groups while still in school.
  • (Culture) Why Asian girls that are not a protagonist always seem to whimper in Asian movies…
  • (Character) Why Tetsuo refused to listen to people who obviously knew what was happening to him, but was instead completely blinded by rage and supremacy.
  • (Character) What his ultimate end goal was? What was he planning to do once he unleashed the absolute power of Akira? It seemed like there was no logic to his plan other than settling some minor discrepancies. This made me think of the Chronicle (2012) plot line. (note comment #2 in the link (y) ^^)
  • (Plot) How did the espers come to be? Why did crashing into one of them trigger the powers Akira once had?
  • (Plot) Also I never really understood the motives of the revolutionary group that that main girl was a part of…
  • (Culture) It was very interesting viewing Asian men in this grunge, gang subculture using such raw brutality when I’m so used to thinking of them as either businessmen, samurais or quirky k-pop characters. I get how small-minded that must sound, but it has just never crossed my mind due to my lack of exploration in this culture.

Anyway. Looking forward to digging deeper in the next post!


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