I absolutely adore Akira; it is one of the coolest and easily one of the most impressive animated films ever produced! Akira is possibly the closest thing anyone has ever achieved to bringing a Graphic Novel to life. It is so detailed in it’s graphical content: you can see pools, and droplets of blood, you see every bullet ricochet, you see destruction and decay in every building. But it’s not all doom and gloom; the initial shots of a giant metropolis, beautifully lit, and packed into every square centimeter of the screen; it’s already a beauty to behold. It is an amazing film, with a weird, but still interesting and captivating plot; and cool character development which sees them go from discovery, through inner turmoil, to the leading characters on a large stage. It is an amazing picture!
One of it’s key standout characteristics; is it’s soundtrack! It has an incredible soundtrack! Composed by Shoji Yamashiro; it’s a soundtrack that fills your ears to the brim with a stream of interesting and captivating sounds and music; that you won’t want to forget! In many cases, it’s the best part of the entire film. So, I thought I would do a post featuring my favourite pieces from the film. Now as I chose to do a Top 5 Post there isn’t enough room to mention them all. But I would like to take a moment to talk about one certain sound from the film.
It can be heard at regular intervals throughout, and it’s so dark, and demanding; but it’s so perfect in it’s use. As the film opens, after the initial moment, and we zoom in on Neo-Tokyo; we here this thud, this drum/bong/beat thing (it’s hard to describe). It brings you to attention, and silences your mind, to give you some important information. It then repeats a few times with some variation, before the film’s title appears, and then we can begin the film. I love this sound effect, it just snaps your mind away from whatever thoughts you had, and makes you focus on the film. And then, we get to hear it again later on, and does the same thing. It’s a great way to break from one chapter into the next, and bring your concentration into the next chapter!
Now I chose to do that piece separately as it’s more just a sound rather than an entire piece. But it was still important part to mention, and explain why it works and why it’s there. So, if you have yet to see Akira, there’s an extra little treat to keep your ears open for! Anyway, without further a do, here are my Top 5 Favourite Pieces of Soundtrack from Akira; Enjoy!
5. Battle Against Clown – The introduction of the Clown’s leader, is the first boss battle of the film. He strides into view on top of his bike, in a rather arrogant fashion. This piece introduces him by using a lot of heavy breathing. It features some cool breaks here and there, with a slight magical essence, before returning to some more breathing, and Kaneda’s theme. It’s a strange mix of styles, but by providing a curve ball early on in the film, it diverts our attention away from the big story, to something much smaller…for now!
4. Kaneda – The film’s bike chase is one of the film’s most iconic moments, and it’s a real treat as it happens within minutes of the film’s beginning. This theme as a background sounds very traditional in it’s composure, but in some respects it allows the creation of an image. The mage of the city of Neo-Tokyo being like a modern jungle, filled with both warring tribes, and deadly animals. It’s a magical sounding track that helps deliver one of the film’s most iconic images, whilst also painting an important early image of what the city is, and what it means!
3. Dolls Polyphony – The scene this piece is heard in is a weird one, which starts out just looking bizarre, and ends with a violent confrontation. The early sounds are what you pick up quickly, which are then sped up and mixed together to create the track. The track is actually very peaceful, and rather pleasant, when heard in isolation from the film. Combined with the film’s scene it paints a horrifying image of the weird and terrifying, at what is happening. But when you turn the film off, and listen to the track it sounds peaceful and calming, even when the deep voices come in half way!
2. Tetsuo – Tetsuo in the film goes through the biggest changes and development sequence in the film. He goes through tough changes that deeply change his character. These elements start out small, but then pick up gently, but get more and more serious. To this end he needed a theme which was broad, one which highlighted the many levels of these changes. We get nice little jingles as he starts out small, but then we get some chapter breaks, to illustrate the higher levels of change he goes through. So we get majestic, angry sounds as he becomes a powerful and angry figure, like he is to be worshipped. This is filled with great choral sections of singing, like they are within a church hall. The track is nicely broken down into quiet sections, and large sections, but finishes off with that choral section once more, but bigger, louder, and more intense.
1. Exodus From The Underground Fortress – This track is pretty much on point in which ever scene it is used. In the instances in the film, it’s used for scenes of high adrenaline, or fast chase sequences. It’s fast and high octane; but it still features those cool traditional styles, including what sounds like Steelpan music to provide it’s more standout sounds. It’s a really cool track, and by far the most enjoyable piece to listen to from the entire film.