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Akira, often stylized as AKIRA, is a Japanese cyberpunk manga series written and illustrated by Katsuhiro Otomo. It was initially serialized in the pages of Young Magazine, a seinen manga magazine, from 1982 until 1990, and then collected into six tankōbon volumes by its publisher Kodansha between 1984 and 1991.[6] It was published in the United States by Marvel Comics under Epic Comics, becoming one of the first manga ever to be completely translated into English.[7] It is currently published by Kodansha Comics in North America. Otomo's art is considered outstanding and a watershed for both Otomo and the manga form.[8] The manga is also famous for spawning the seminal 1988 cyberpunk anime film adaptation of the same name.

The manga is set in a post-apocalyptic and futuristic Neo-Tokyo, more than two decades after a mysterious explosion destroyed the city. The story focuses on the efforts of teenage biker gang leader Kaneda, militant revolutionary Kei, a trio of espers, and Neo-Tokyo military leader Colonel Shikishima, who attempt to prevent Tetsuo, Kaneda's mentally imbalanced childhood friend, from using his unstable and powerful telekinetic abilities to ravage the city and awaken a mysterious individual with similar psychic abilities named "Akira," who was responsible for the destruction of Tokyo several years ago. Throughout the volumes, Otomo uses conventions of the cyberpunk genre to detail a saga of political turmoil, social isolation, corruption, and power.[8] It is considered a landmark work in the cyberpunk genre, credited with spawning the Japanese cyberpunk subgenre. Akira has received widespread universal acclaim from readers and critics, with the artwork, writing, characters, narrative progression and the exploration of mature/adult themes and concepts, along with the disturbing and unsettling storytelling being points of praise, while also achieving international commercial success, selling millions of copies worldwide.

An animated film adaptation released in 1988, shortened the plot considerably, while retaining many of the manga's primary characters and plot elements alongside additional scenes, settings, motifs and received similar critical acclaim and has served as a major influence to the anime industry and the cyberpunk genre, as a whole.[9] The manga takes place over a longer time frame than the film and involves a much wider array of characters and subplots. Otomo's Akira anime film adaptation marked his transition from a career primarily in manga to one almost exclusively in anime.

Akira was instrumental in the surge in popularity of manga outside Japan, especially in the United States, as the release of a colourized edition by Epic Comics coincided with the release of the film.[10] The manga has won several awards, including the Kodansha Manga and Harvey Awards, and is named as being an important title in the manga explosion in France.

Credit: wikipedia.org