Tale of Two Cities

It was middle school when I first started reading manga, but watching anime did not come until college and the subscription to Netflix, because sometimes good English dubs are hard to find. Even though I had been reading Manga for years at this point I had not read anything as intense or graphic as Akira. I guess to some people then I had never really read true manga until I read Akira. When we were introducing it in class after Watchmen, I was apprehensive. I tended to really only like my found niche in manga. Usually supernatural stories, vampires mostly, life stories or love stories. Violent action really had to appeal to me. However when I started Akira, I could not stop reading. It sucked me in and I kept reading until I finished the whole book. Minus a few grimaces because of some of the rather brutal scenes, I was surprised how much I enjoyed the work. What really peaked my interest was the discussion in class regarding how Akira could compare to Watchmen. Both took place in a post-apocalyptic environment. One with a government that openly uses persons with special abilities to help control the common people and another hides these same people away from the common folk. Another difference between the two is that one begins with a nuclear like event and the other ends with one. Perhaps Akira, could be seen as a what would happen in after the destruction and the ‘heroes’ go away in Watchmen. The city in which Akira takes place seems to be lawless to the point that the police is ineffective. Biker gangs filled by students already going to a high school for kids on their last chance already. They go on violent clashes with other gangs doped up on pills from their school infirmary, and cause massive collateral damage. However the main difference in Akira and Watchmen or at least what I paid the most attention to is that there is a major difference in the overall tone of the work. In Watchmen there is a surrounding sense of fear. It can be seen in the graffiti. In the narration and in the faces of the characters. In Akira for most of the story there really isn’t a since of this overwhelming fear. It seems to be replaced with a sense of fearlessness. The characters seems to feel that nothing can touch them at the beginning of the story. They ride recklessly through the streets, and disregard really the feelings of everyone except themselves. But of course all that changes when who they thought was their good friend becomes a super villain.

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