Present Tense Book Review – Akira

I was a big fan of the majestic film of the same name, directed by the author of the books (Katsuhiro Otomo), when I was a pimply youth. And if I’d ever been bored (boring?) enough to write a list of “X things to do before I’m Y”, reading the original comic books would certainly have been on it. I finally got round to buying them with some Christmas money earlier this year – there are six telephone-book-style tomes, and even doing some bargain hunting on the internet, together they represent the most expensive book I’ve ever bought. Worth it so far, though.

Why have I had these on my shelf for almost a year before starting them? I don’t know, I guess they look fairly formidable all lined up, but I think I was also worried that they would disappoint. I needn’t have been, as, two volumes in, I’ve enjoyed them tremendously. The drawing is sometimes stunning, from big, immaculately realised futuristic landscapes, to emotion-filled faces, via action sequences with a bewildering sensation of urgency. And the story is good too, complex but involving, with fun moments that leaven the sometimes brutal violence. Looking forward to the next one…

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