Page 8-The Michigan Daily - Thursday, September 27, 1990
Akira re-defines animation
dir. Katsuhiro Otomo
by Brent Edwards
It's set in the future and involves a
phase for a secret weapon that could
destroy the world. It's action packed,
full of blood and violence and sex; it
has spectacular settings, was made
with a big budget, and doesn't star
Arnold Schwarzenegger. In fact, it
doesn't have any humans at all -
iO s an animation film that could
match any of this past summer's
action movies blow-for-blow and it's
With a budget of $7 million and
a palette of 327 colors, director Kat-
suhiro Otomo set out to make a film
version of his enormously successful
dOmic of the same name. Whereas
bisney used their creative animation
to create a bright and wonderfully
Xive ocean in The Little Mermaid,
Otomo uses his resources in a dark
and gloomy manner.
The results are visually spectacu-
lar, producing a post-apocalyptic
world cluttered with detail of futuris-
tic advances and decay. The destruc-
tion was due to Akira, a child who
was the government's test subject in
telekinetic experiments. Akira's
mental powers grew so uncontrol-
lable they started World War III and
Akira was eventually kept locked
4way in an absolute-zero container.
Now, 30 years later in a revitalized
neo-Tokyo, the government is be-
ginning more experiments and rebel
factions are fighting back.
Neo-Tokyo is impressive. Be-
camera moves as in a real film -
tracking characters with realistic per-
spective changes, crane shots - but
shots are also used to give a hyper-
adrenalin rush of intensity that could
never be done effectively with a real
camera. And, needless to say, there
are spectacular images that could
never be done with real actors, such
as the transformation of one of the
characters into an ever-increasing,
transmuting, amorphous mass of
Akira owes much to past sci-
ence-fiction films. Many aspects of
the city, from the structures to the
streetlife, are straight out of
Bladerunner; there's the spiritual
mysticism of Dune, and the ending
is reminiscent of that of 2001: A
Space Odyssey. The basis of the
story has been done before, and it is
comic book science fiction fare after
all, but the fast pacing and incredible
visuals minimize this fault.
As with most films that have
come out of Japan lately, the story,
is a commentary on the nuclear
bombings on World War II. It warns
against a technology that has ad-
vanced beyond humans' capacity to
control it, and depicts the distorted
humanity that results from the use
of such obscene weapons. But of
course people don't watch Star Trek
for its moral teachings. Akira is for
those who want to see an unusual,
though immature, story told in spec-
While students in other states,
such as California, Texas,
Florida, or New York, have easy
access to Hispanic cultural
events, Michigan students are not
so fortunate because of the state's
geographical location. That is,
until this week. As part of the
1990 Hispanic Heritage Cele-
bration series of events, Sigma
Lambda Beta, the first Hispanic
fraternity on the University cam-
pus, will be presenting Los Ven-
didios today at 12:15 in the
Michigan Union Pendleton
Room. Admission is free.
Louis Valdez, author of Los
Vendidios, wrote the popular La
Bamba and was a leader in the
theatergroup Teatro Campesino.
Loosely translated as "the theater
of the people," the group would
travel and perform pieces to build
up a sense of community within
the Hispanic culture. Sigma
Lambda Beta has taken up the tra-
dition with their presentation, one
of the first presentations for the
Hispanic Heritage Celebration.
There are other related events
starting today and tomorrow
through Oct. 15.
The playwright Sam Shepard
is an expert at putting very differ-
ent characters together in a situa-
tion where they have to commu-
nicate, forcing them to listen to
others' opinions and usually
change their own by the end.
Icarus's Mother, being presented
by Basement Arts today, tomor-
row, and Saturday at 5 pm, is no
exception. As the characters wait
to see a fireworks display, some
patiently and others not so pa-
tiently, discussion ensues and
personal emotions rise. At the
climax of the play the characters'
full emotional impact upon each
other is fully realized as each
leaves with very different opin-
ions and feelings. Performances
are in the Arena Theater, base-
ment of the Frieze Building, are
-Mary Beth Barber
Akira's bold realistic look and intensity makes the animated story look
different than most.
Write to us!
cause the film is animated, extrava-
gant and impressive sets can be used
and yet they seem realistic; consider-
ing that many of the scenes in the
Star Wars trilogy used drawn sets
with matte technology, this
shouldn't be surprising.
What is surprising is the detail
with which this film is presented.
Unlike the Japanese cartoons seen on
TV where multiple items never
move at the same time, great atten-
tion is given to the background, par-
ticularly during crowd scenes. The
AKIRA will play Friday
Sunday at the Michigan'
See The Listfor times.
The National Honor Society in Psychology
is now accepting applications
-12 graded credits in Psychology beyond intro level
- - Major or Minor in Psychology
- 3.3 Overall GPA
- 3.5 GPA in Psychology (including stats)
DEADLINE IS OCTOBER 5, 1990
Pick up Applications in K-106 West Quad
Daily Arts wants, make that needs
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Read the Arts-Daily!
& the U-M Office of Major Events present
Jerry Seinfeld of NBC 's "Seinfeld"
Date September 27
Location Power Center
Look for the PONTIAC EXCITEMENT CENTER
and check out the latest PONTIAC cars. Win
tickets, t-shirts and enter a sweepstakes for a
chance to win a PONTIAC Sunbird Convertible.
Tickets: $8, $5 with a Student I.D.GMAC
Tickets available at the Michigan Union Ticket Office and PONTIAC.
all Ticketmnater Outlets. Order bh n na 6!nII 7A2.eTTQ vv Lus