Akira’s Art and the Importance of Detail

Okay, so I’ve never read much manga, so reading/talking about Akira has been a pretty cool and different experience for me. I have found reading Akira to be a little complicated in spots because I don’t always feel like I’m grasping parts of the plot or where characters are, so I’m missing out on a lot of subtext, which I think was briefly mentioned in our discussion about Akira so far. At least, the discussion of the art and how beautiful and detailed it is.

I find that to be something that is sticking out more to me in this graphic novel/manga than in something like Watchmen, where the art is very important and detail oriented, but seems to be more secondary to the wall of text in many panels. Whereas with Akira, most of the big scenes of art are by themselves or with smaller amounts of text and therefore pack a lot more punch. I find myself lingering over different images and scenes to experience what’s going on because it does move very quickly otherwise.

Otomo definitely didn’t skimp on action or movement. I don’t think that Tetsuo or Kaneda have stopped moving much since I started reading. I know that this is only the first volume of the manga, and it was originally published week to week I assume, but if the rest of it continues at such as dizzying pace, I don’t know if I’d be able to keep up.

I have really enjoyed how the scenery and art influence much of how I’ve experienced the characters instead of just dialogue. I find this to be an extremely interesting parallel to graphic novels that were coming out in America at the same time because it is so much more visually based. And I’m sure that also influenced how Otomo directed the animated film version as well. I just found these kinds of comparisons extremely interesting during my continued reading of Akira, as well as through our class discussion.