Ultra-violence and techno-masculinity in Akira

Some Spilt Ink

*CONTENT WARNING: discussions about sexual violence*

Hyper-masculinity is tangible and immediately apparent within the first 15 minutes of Akira (1988). A shockingly abrupt sexual assault scene, and the subsequent dismissal of the victim by the male characters around her, deems the woman absent in Akira. We are faced with what Gottesman (2016) calls “techno-masculinity”, whereby the feminine has been replaced by technology and commodification. He comments on how the motorcycles used by male characters are signifiers of their masculinity and strength, reminiscent of the dangerous and out-of control Bōsōzoku biker gangs of the 80’s.


I would argue that the shocking normalisation of rape is a deliberate technique used by the film makers to solidify the audience’s dislike for Tetsuo, who is more interested in asserting his own masculine dominance over other male characters, than helping his girlfriend Kaori after she is attacked. Tetsuo is easily more worried about the…

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