Akira (1988)

Japanese anime, unlike most people, has never quite intrigued me. It wasn’t because of the language differences as I am currently studying Japanese but it was just confusing to watch. While all of my friends were talking about the newest One Piece or Fairy Tail episode, I was often feeling left out about not having a strong interested in Japanese culture like my friends.
But today I have watched a Japanese anime movie ‘Akira’ (1988) and even though I was expecting the worst, it honestly has changed my past view on Japanese anime.
My post today will be based my reflection on Ellis et al’s Autoethnography: An Overview. Autoethnography is the analyzing of texts through self-reflection and “combines characteristics of autobiography and ethnography”.
When watching the movie, I had found similarities between Akira and other movies/series. Besides the comparison to Tetsuo and Stranger things’ Eleven, I saw many similarities between Tetsuo and Andrew from ‘Chronicle’ (2012). While how they got their abilities were different, they both got power-obsessed and went rogue. Also, both movies, in general, have the theme of toxic friendships. Despite the main villain’s friends wanting to save him they have to have to kill him.

The movie also portrays a Japanese term called ‘Honne’ (本音), which is a person’s true feelings. Tetsuo clearly conveys this many times during the movie as he says things like, “I don’t need to be saved”, “Why do you always save me”. The outbursts to Kaneda, in my opinion, is Tetsuo true feeling about their friendship as the victim and the fighter. While this may have worked when they were kids, doesn’t sit well with Tetsuo now that he is getting older.
My experience of ‘Honne’ (本音) happened on the day I watched Akira as well with the choice of getting dubbed or subbed. To be honest I really don’t like dubbed. It may be easier to understand but it makes the movie less suspenseful and people dubbing the movies usually sound very cringy. Also watching it subbed would have tested me on my knowledge on the Japanese language. However, I just sat there and just agreed to have it dubbed because I didn’t want to offend anyone at the time and I ended up regretting my decision not to speak up.
Overall the movie was pretty good and saw a lot of connections with Akira to other movies released decades later. I will definitely be open to more Japanese anime in the future!!!

One comment

  1. Great understanding of the honne between Tetsuo and Kaneda, I was more interested in Kaori’s tatemae 建前 as I liked how it showed someone of less standing in a circle of friends acted. Personally, I agree with you that dubbing isn’t the best and I feel that it removes certain aspects of a cultural experience, while it may make it more palatable for non-Japanese speakers the point of these movies and the autoethnography is to study other cultures. you wouldn’t read Shakespeare in text speak and there is a reason we still read it in old English to this day. This is mainly for the emotiveness of the dead language and that it was the tool Shakesphere used to convey his messages. also, next time speak up dubs suck lol


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