Katsuhiro Otomo’s Warning

Each dystopian story dreamed up by its visionary, whether writer, illustrator, or auteur, cries out a warning for the possibility of a bleak future. The stunning manga Akira, also adapted to film, by Katsuhiro Otomo introduces the protagonist Kaneda riding through Neo-Tokyo into the desolation of Old Tokyo — the city ruined by the nuclear attacks of Third World War. Neo-Tokyo, glossy and bright in appearance is in truth a corrupt city generating a culture of drugs and violence. Instead of investing in social programs or moving forward, the military has convinced the city members to sink the wealth of Japan into a human weapons program by citing the fear helplessness felt during the bombing of WWIII.

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Image from film

Although implicit, the cautionary message of Akira, tells readers to be mindful of fear and to move on from ghosts of the past. Without leadership willing to heal and rise above the miasma caused by oppression and neglect, the ramifications witnessed in the future will be caused by the anchor dragging people down to the past.

 

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A Clockwork Orange
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Fahrenheit 451

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess and Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradburry are a couple other examples of written works made into successful film adaptations. An interesting thing to examine about forms of media is how similarly or dissimilarity they reflect the climate. Reflected in dystopian creations are the seeds of creeping destruction and violence their authors have witnessed in the cycling of human action. As displayed in Akira, humans have a great strength and energy capable of powerful change towards either the positive or negative. Perhaps each great civilization will be met with downfall, and even with a bleak outlook assuredly the future is never certain, and these dystopian fictions are thankfully just that — fiction.