Akira 02 mangadigest

10 Things You Should Know Before Reading Akira

Akira is one of the best manga ever created. But I do realize that such statement alone is not enough to turn a casual reader into a buying customer.

Even if you are kinda interested in giving Akira a try, you might still hesitate about whether or not Akira is your cup of tea.

So, with that in mind, here are ten things that I think you should know before you read Akira. Hopefully, some of this thing would help you make up your mind to jump into the Akira bandwagon.

1. About

Akira about

Akira is an epic story about two teenagers that trapped in a military, political and supernatural conflict that would alter the face of the earth itself.

A rebel turned revolutionary on one side, and a biker gang that turned into something that could bring tsunami with his supernatural power on the other side.

2. Author

Akira author

Akira is the magnum opus of Katsuhiro Otomo. He gains mainstream attention in 1979 with his science-fiction work called Fireball. In 1982, he began working on Akira.

This epic story took Katsuhiro Otomo eight years to complete and has since been hailed as one of the best manga ever written. Akira is also considered as the cornerstone of the science-fiction, particularly the cyberpunk genre, in the world of manga.

3. Length

Akira length

When it comes to volume, Akira is not that long. There are only six volumes of it. But those six volumes translate into more than two thousand pages worth of story and illustration.

Each volume is filled with around 250 to 400 pages. So each book is quite thick. How long does it take to read the whole thing is certainly depend on how obssesed you are to the story.

4. Genre

Akira genre

The main genre of Akira is science-fiction, particularly cyberpunk. But there are also some elements of other genres weave in throughout the story.

There is body horror, military conflict, supernatural powers, political intrigue, and of course, a dash of romance. Come to think of it, there are slight elements of brotherhood and bromance as well.

5. Themes

Akira theme

Akira is a story of power and what it does to people. What it does to people who suddenly given so much power and to people who try to control something that lies beyond their understanding.

It is also the story of ambition and redemption. A story about those who are not aware of what happened to people around them, and about the value of those who close to him until they’re gone. It’s about love, regret, fear, and betrayal.

6. Demographic

Akira seinen

Akira is a seinen manga, which means it is mainly for men aged around 18 to 40. There are a couple of reasons why a story would be placed in the seinen demographic.

It could be because of the violence or nudity in it or it could be due to the complexity of the story.

Akira is both. It has its fair share of violence and destruction, and the story is quite complex as well.

7. Rated R

Akira rating

If we follow the rating system that is often used for movies, then Akira is certainly sitting nicely in the Rated R section.

That being said, Akira leans more towards violence and gore rather than nudity and sex.

If I remember correctly, the bare-chested lady only appears in two panels out of its 2000+ pages. So if you are concerned about something like that, don’t be.

8. The Art Style

Akira art

Katsuhiro Otomo used the combination of hyper-realistic background with the unmistakable 80’s style character design. But the most stands out feature to me is the atmosphere.

Katsuhiro Otomo is the master in creating the feeling of gloomy and a deep sense of helplessness in his pages.

9. Accolades

Akira awards

It has lots of accolades. Both towards the work and the author. Among others, there are two that stand out the most to me.

Akira is the first manga ever that received the Nihon SF Taisho Award in 1983, Japan equivalent of the Nebula Award. Katsuhiro Otomo himself has been inducted into the American Eisner Award Hall of Fame in 2012.

10. Adaptation

Akira adaptation

There is a 1988 anime movie by the same name. Sort of a condensed version of it. I think most people are exposed to the movie first, rather than the manga.

The anime has been considered by most to be a seminal achievement in the world of Anime.

But I think the manga is a thousand times better than the anime. You know, just saying.

So there you go. I hope this list could help clear out some of the things that hold you back from reading Akira. Or at least spark a little interest in you to finally put this masterpiece into your reading list.


This is the second out of five featured articles on Akira. Click here to read the previous one, an introduction to Akira. Up Next: Akira: The Story Arcs Review.

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