For my textual analysis I decided to choose a scene from the middle of Katsuhiro Otomo’s 1988 anime film Akira. The film elements I will be analyzing are editing, sound, costume,writing, and culture. This movie being an animation makes this analysis much more intriguing to write about. In the beginning of this specific scene there was a dialogue between two characters. Tetsuo, the main character of the movie, and the neighborhood bartender Harukiya. Because the two where conversing back and forth, there were cuts to change back and forth between the characters.
Since Tetsuo had just escaped from the hospital, it led Harukiya to ask plenty of questions, making the cuts frequent. The cuts were made to show the setting the two were in.
It was an underground bar and earlier in the night so the cuts created a change in angle and perspective to show that the bar was empty with just the two of them. Fig. Still From Akira 1:10:33 Tetsuo was requesting of Haru to provide him with illegal drugs which he was used to providing, but he was concerned about the kids condition.
His interjections were annoying and Tetsuo became impatient. The tense atmosphere was created as the conversation got more heated, the amount of cuts became more frequent, causing you to sit on the edge of your seat, nervous about what would happen next. The editing of this movie is a major language system throughout the movie, close-ups on faces making it easy to become familiar with the different characters and their voices.
After the first minute of the scene it cuts to after Tetsuo has demolished the bar and his friends come in to find him there. This scene was cut for continuity. Fig. Still From Akira 1:09:00 Furthermore, the sound composition of this film was made to really create a tense atmosphere. There wasn’t much background or distorted noises as there was crucial dialogue between the characters, including Tetsuos old friends. Silence in this scene was necessary to set such dark and intense setting. When Tetsuos old friends entered the bar, the silence triggered questions in their mind why was it empty and to what could have possibly happened to the bar for it to be in such terrible conditions. Language throughout the scene and movie is vulgar as many of the characters have a “badass” personally since they young and rebellious. Everyone throughout the film all speak the same dialect since the story takes place in Neo-Tokyo.
There should be a difference in dialects and language since the characters have distinct visual difference. It could have been displayed in the english dubbed version especially but unfortunately fell short. The voice actors performed well with letting the audience understand the differences of age with the characters. The voices were stereotypical to a specific characters visuals ad occupational characteristics. Because of these simple assertions, we are able to associate the class of these main characters. The teenagers being poor, and looked down upon because of their age. While people like the general and the mad scientist are talking with a more sophisticated vernacular. Fig. Still From Akira 1:08:47 In this film, the setting takes place in Neo Tokyo. Since this film was made in the late 1980s, the costume design of these characters fit their time period but in a sense, they do have a futuristic feel.
This futuristic style is what was seen as techno-futuristic for society in the 1980s compared to present time. The reconstruction is ideally accurate since it was more imaginative of what fashion would look like in the future. The cast normally seen throughout the film was lower to middle class teenagers and adults. During the film they were revolting to the government and these reasons could be due to the poverty in lower parts of the city. The kids at school were in a style that seemed very common and cheap. The women in the movie were typically dressed very raunchy. Headbands, crop tops, and daisy duke type shorts while there was one main female character named Kaori who was dressed more modest. She typically wore a white tank top and a skirt that went to her knee.
The common theme for the women was to look very feminine and their suggestive outfit choices elevated this goal. To continue, the men in the film were designed to portray this badass attitude and masculinity that definitely fit their characters. The main characters Tetsuo and Kaneda were bikers so they wore outfits in the colors to match their rides that consisted of boots, gloves, along with jackets and pants that gave a track suit sort of style. Costume designs in terms of the women were definitely not age appropriate since they were only high school students. Revealing shirts and shorts are typically outfits that shouldn’t be sold to or worn by the average teenage female. The colonel in the film promisingly had a look that fit his role in the film, wearing olive green uniform and badges with a buzzed haircut and a thick mustache above his lip to top it all off. The accessories, colors, and function of these outfits were all fitting to the characters role.
Some of these things were stereotypical to the character. A perfect example of a character fitting the stereotypes is the scientist, Doctor Onishi. Onishi had a mad scientist look, resembling similar characteristics of famous theoretical physicist Albert Einstein. He had white hair that receded and was sort of fluffy and a white mustache. Onishi also had a white lab coat and glasses which is a typically an accessory choice for doctors and scientists in films. Throughout Otomos film, the writing of the film had a great literary value. There are very talky scenes within the movie. Scenes definetly become talky near the end as the viewer and the characters are beginning to get an understanding of the Akira. In this scene specifically, Tetsuo is voicing foreign opinions to his friends since this power that is taking him over is damaging his old self and creating something new. The characters are articulate to a limited degree.
Because this version of the film is an english dub, some of the actual words being said have been switched around or changed since it is a translation from the original film which is in japanese. The dialogue that is being presented is stylized and isn’t made to sound realistic. Though the characters don’t have any awkward accents or vernacular, they are teenagers so the writers did make sure to add in silly slang and unreasonable but funny, inappropriate lines. To conclude about the writing of the film, the point of view that the film is portrayed through switches between the main character Tetsuo and Kaneda. The cultural context of this film is best explained through a geographical analysis. This film was released in 1988. The genre of this film is a action, sci-fi anime. Anime is a style of animated manga motion pictures that originated and popularized in Japan.
The end of the 1980s was a perfect time for this film to release in Japan since around this time was the boom of animated styled film that wasn’t aimed at a adolescent audience. This film was written, designed, and originally voice acted in Japan. For the english dub version, Otomo made sure his english actors would suit the tone of the film and their attitudes could be universally understood. Anime films are more than just typically in the region of Japan, it is a culture there. Japan being viewed from a national standpoint from anyone looking in would without a doubt point out the Anime culture.
At the time, natives to Japan might not have understood the reasonings of such films or shows in the style of anime but those films and shows now are much more popularized now than they were then. As fascinating the film Akira is, there are many more iconic films that Japan created and should be very proud of creating such a unique culture. In conclusion Otomos film Akira is a complex, futuristic 1988 film that consists of crazy social motifs and silly stereotypes. Editing, sound, costume, writing, and culture are all very important aspects to the special film that was a huge impact of film styles of its time. Otomo and the people of Japan are essentially pleased by the socially and technically diverse film Akira.