Akira (アキラ), often stylized as AKIRA, is a Japanese cyberpunk manga series written and illustrated by Katsuhiro Otomo. It was initially serialized in the pages of Young Magazine, a seinen manga magazine, from 1982 until 1990, and then collected into six tankobon volumes by its publisher Kodansha between 1984 and 1991. The work was published in the United States by Marvel Comics under Epic Comics, becoming one of the first manga ever to be completely translated into English. Otomo’s art is considered outstanding, and a watershed for both Otomo and the manga form. The manga is also famous for spawning the seminal 1988 cyberpunk anime film adaptation of the same name.
The story starts with the event that caused WW3 –the explosion of an unknown weapon of mass destruction that wipes Tokyo off the map.
Things escalated and led to an all-out nuclear war that destroys every major population center in the world.
In 2030 Neo Tokyo is a futuristic city built on an artificial island. It’s also in total social decline. Gangs roam the streets and anti-government rebels commit terrorist attacks from the shadows. All while the city is set to host the 32 Olympic Games.
Riding through the ruins of old Tokyo, Shotaro Kaneda’s biker gang witness a supernatural incidence. While Tetsuo Shima, a gang member, races ahead of his rival Kaneda, a child suddenly appears right in front of his motorbike.
Swerving to avoid the child. Tetsuo loses control, skids and is knocked unconscious as his bike explodes.
And this is no ordinary boy. The child has the number ‘26’ tattooed and has the wrinkled face of an old man, Then the impossible happens, as an angry Kaneda confronts the strange boy –he disappears right in front of his eyes.
Read this classic manga cyberpunk series to find out more