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Akira Volume 1 Paperback – Oct 13 2009

4.8 out of 5 stars 49 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Kodansha Comics; 1st edition (Oct. 13 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1935429000
  • ISBN-13: 978-1935429005
  • Product Dimensions: 18.3 x 3.6 x 25.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 930 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars 49 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,336 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Originally serialized in Japan between 1981 and 1993, Otomo's 2,000-plus-page science fiction epic Akira was reprinted as a monthly comic book in the U.S. in the early '90s. This new six-volume series is the first time it's appeared as an English-language graphic novel. Set in Tokyo 38 years after its destruction in World War III (which, according to this story, happened in 1992), Akira eventually evolves into a philosophical investigation of time. But this first volume is all action, nonstop car chases and gun fights strung together with exaggerated speed lines and lots of gigantic machinery. The complicated plot revolves around two teenagers in a motorbike gang that encounters a strange child with an old man's features. When one of the young bikers begins manifesting violent, supernatural powers that threaten to destroy him, both bikers find themselves enmeshed in a massive conflict between two sinister agencies (which both believe they're fighting to save the world) over some unnamed thing so terrifying it's locked away in a vault and frozen to absolute zero. Akira has been praised for "massively decompressed storytelling" a few seconds of story time can take pages and Otomo's hyperkinetic black-and-white drawings explode across the page. The translation is sometimes a bit awkward, although it still expresses the story's visceral force. The book has been adapted into an animated film that's a favorite among anime fans.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.


“One of the most important manga of the 1980s, Akira influenced thousands of science fiction manga and anime with its dark urban future.”—Manga: The Complete Guide

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Most readers who first come across this book were more then likely first exposed to this epic sci-fi tale by way of the excellent 2 hour animated movie. Those that actually make the commitment to read through this 6 volume, 2000+ page magnum opus of graphic storytelling are in for one heck of a ride. Don't let this 360 page bad-boy's size scare you off - Katsuhiro Otomo's crisp storytelling and fantastic artwork literally flows at 100 m.p.h. giving you a smooth and intense reading experience. Before you know it you'll be finished with this first volume and scrounging up the scratch to buy the rest of the books in this series.
Vol. 1 of, 'Akira,' sets the tone for the rest of the series at breakneck speed. For those of you enamored with the film you'll truly enjoy and appreciate the heaping portions of additional backstory and characterization that the original 'book' series provides. But perhaps most important of all is the stunning visuals of Otomo's fluid and highly detailed black & white drawings. The sheer amount of detail is breathtaking and will have you coming back for repeated reads just to appreciate the visuals. A must read for fans of the movie or of sci-fi in general.
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Format: Paperback
Wow! I saw the anime (which has some of the best animation I've seen) and had to buy the graphic novel. I found that the pictures were detailed and the action sequences were very, very good. I'm thankful that they didn't try to squeeze the pen and ink drawings into tiny little boxes, making everything barely visible. It didn't skimp on the number of panels in each scene, making it smooth and easy to read. Buy this book.
1. I saw ten books in the series at the book store at twenty dollars each. That's $200 for part of a series.
2. Not recomended for young readers. There's loads of blood and cussing.
3. I've heard that this series used to be in color. The first few pages are in color and it's very nice. However, I realize that if the entire comic was in color, the price would probably be doubled.
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Format: Paperback
'Akira' and 'Lone Wolf and Cub' were among the first complete manga masterpieces to be published in English, and despite the mirror-imaging, were very similar to their original tankobon incarnations. Katsuhiro Otomo's SF-classic 'Akira' -- as well as it's equally brilliant predecessor, 'Domu' -- revolutionized Japanese comics. It introduced realistic, incredibly detailed artwork that merged a far more subtle manga stylization with European influences, incorporating aspects from the art of 'Metal Hurlant' regulars Moebius, Francois Schuiten, and Enki Bilal. The importance of 'Akira' is difficult to express, but it certainly rivals US contemporaries 'Watchmen' and 'The Dark Knight Returns', though it ran far longer than either title. While the film adaptation is perhaps the best anime -- and animated -- film ever made, Otomo wrote and directed his debut when he was only around half-way through the manga. The 6-volume, 2200+-page series is not just 'worth checking out' for fans of the anime, it's essential. The film contains less than 15% of the super-epic that inspired it, but the art, the characters, the basic plot, and the light-speed pacing will all be unmistakably familiar.

P.S. While I prefer the original right-to-left orientation for translated manga, Kodansha is still using the Dark Horse translation that appeared before Japanese formatting surprised the hell out of US publishers by catching on. It's only as big a deal as you make it, in my opinion; obsessive-compulsive types are out of luck, but anyone who has recovered from the mind-blowing shock of confronting a left-handed doppelganger in the bathroom mirror will do just fine. My preference for R-to-L has to do with preserving the artist's original vision... does that sound right? Something like that, anyway.
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Format: Paperback
A lot of people are familiar with the film version of Akira. Readily available in the US, it's become a keystone in many American anime collections and is revered by many as one of the best Anime films ever made.
Of course, along with the praise comes the obvious (and, in many cases, justified) complaints regarding the movie's plot and pacing. As wide in scope as the movie is, it's also exceedingly vauge on many topics, and it seems like it only offers a glimpse into something much larger as opposed to being a singular narrative in and of itself.
Well, Akira fans, your boat has come in. The original Japanese Mangas (comics) are now available in the US, and to those unfamiliar with the works of Mr. Otomo, brace yourself. This is the world of Akira as it was originally concieved, and the result is simply breathtaking. If you thought the movie lacked scope, wait 'till you get ahold of these books.
The futuristic story of Akira revolves around several factions - government, anti-government, spiritual, political, and more - all struggling against each other in an attempt to unearth a secret that started the third world war. That secret is a child, Akira, subjected to tests and adjustments by a government project to bring his latent psychic abilities to their full potential. Now, he is gifted with a complete attunement to the ebbs and flows of all the energies in the universe...And the ability to control them. He is the ultimate evolution of humanity, and the most dangerous and uncontrollable weapon ever unearthed by science. After an unleashing of his energy sets off World War III, he is locked deep underground at absolute zero, kept asleep until modern science can figure out a way to deal with him.
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