The exploration of ‘Akira’ (1988)

The original post can be found here.

Throughout the course of BCM320, the autoethnographic approach to study will encourage my personal cultural framework to be challenged by cultures and media I am unfamiliar with.

This week in BCM320 I visited unfamiliar territories by watching my first anime in many years. It has been around 9 years since I voluntarily watched ‘Deathnote‘, with subtitles that I read vigorously as I don’t speak Japanese. In this classroom setting, we watched the English dubbed ‘Akira‘ and my viewing experience was incredibly different now as an autoethnographic student. I believe the reason for my interest in ‘Deathnote‘ whilst in primary school was directly influenced by the social atmosphere I was immersed in. With most of my friends being of Vietnamese background, they encouraged me to dive into the deep end and without their encouragement, I probably wouldn’t have watched any anime at all. This had the power to breakdown cultural boundaries and opened an inclusive conversation in the classroom amongst friends.

The live-tweeting experience (or lack thereof) is reflective of my disliking towards the Sci-Fi genre, for some reason I have never been able to enjoy this genre of film, which made this film hard to follow 99% of the time. I found myself reading a summary of ‘Akira’ on various webpages to develop some kind of relationship to the film. And at this point, I still identify as a ‘cultural stranger’ (with much to learn) in the world of anime as I was left unscathed by its culture. On the other hand, I could admire the pleasurable cyberpunk aesthetic, and this is credited to my excitement for the upcoming ‘Cyberpunk: 2077′ video game to be released in April of 2020. I’ve hyperlinked the cinematic trailer for all the Keanu Reeve’s lovers out there. Upon discussing this with my partner, we both came to the agreement of enjoying ‘real’ actors, humans in film and realistic gameplay on gaming consoles (‘Detroit Become Human’, ‘Red Dead Redemption 2’), as we can create a stronger emotional connection to the content.

Image result for akira anime logo

What also intrigued me about ‘Akira‘ was the external impact of the anime, and how it intertwined with elements of Westernised culture that I am familiar with. Kanye West himself proclaimed his love for the film via Twitter and direct commentary throughout his 2009 music video for ‘Stronger‘. For many people Yeezy is their favourite artist, so a natural response is to also view what inspires his artist development. This acts as a form of intercultural communication through popular media and artist trends. West’s publicised love for the film can encourage his 26,749,938 Spotify listeners and 29,180,671 Twitter followers to watch ‘Akira‘. Similarly, the director of the film collaborated with the ‘Supreme‘ label in creating various merchandise from t-shirts to skateboard decks. These pieces of merch were available for purchase in Los Angeles, Brooklyn, London and Paris which continued to spread anime culture across American and European cultures.

Thanks for reading,

Caitlin

 

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