A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘akira

[BLOG] Some Monday links

  • Architectuul looks back at some highlights from 2019.
  • Bad Astronomy looks at the gas cloud, red and green, of RCW 120.
  • Crooked Timber looks at the dynamics of identity politics, here.
  • Bruce Dorminey notes a NASA statement about the importance of understanding dust dynamics in other solar systems to find Earth analogues.
  • Far Outliers looks at the problems pacifying the Chesapeake Bay area in 1813, here.
  • Gizmodo looks at the most popular Wikipedia articles for the year 2019.
  • io9 shares a video of images from a 1995 Akira cyberpunk computer game that never got finished.
  • JSTOR Daily looks at how the United States tried to “civilize” the Inupiat of Alaska by giving them reindeer herds.
  • Language Hat links to an online atlas of Scots dialects.
  • Language Log reports on a 12th century Sanskrit inscription that testifies to the presence of Muslims in Bengal at that point.
  • Marginal Revolution notes how much Tuvalu depends on revenue from its .tv Internet domain.
  • Drew Rowsome looks at the Duncan Ralston horror novel Salvage, set in small-town Canada.
  • The Russian Demographics Blog looks at the strong relationship between wealth and life expectancy in France.
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel notes that, in a hypothetical supernova, all life on an Earth-like planet would be boiled alive by neutrinos.
  • Strange Maps links to a graphic interface that translates a word into all the languages of Europe.
  • Understanding Society looks at the structures of high-reliability organizations.
  • Window on Eurasia shares a suggestion that Homer Simpson is actually the US’ version of Russia’s Ivan the Fool.

[NEWS] Five sci-fi links: science fiction, Farscape, climate change, Rose MacAulay, 2019

  • The BBC considers what the science fiction we prefer to read says about us.
  • Arkady Martine at Tor considers the ethical dilemmas of Farscape protagonist John Crichton, reminding me again that I should watch this series, some time.
  • James Nicoll at Tor lists five classic SF novels examining anthropogenic climate change.
  • Alison Flood at The Guardian reports on the overlooked 1918 novel What Not by Rose MacAulay, a work that may have influenced Brave New World and Nineteen Eighty-Four.
  • Adrian Lee at MacLean’s considers what the three dystopian films of Blade Runner, Akira, and The Running Man, all set in 2019, have to say about the year as it was imagined and as it exists.

[REVIEW] Akira

Thursday night showing’s of Akira at the Revue Cinema in Roncesvalles happily did not disappoint. The showing itself could have been better: the start time was delayed, but more frustratingly the organizers kept having sound trouble, starting with the dubbed version and then trying to get the sound going on the subtitled one only to opt for the dubbed version on the fourth try. The film itself was superb, no disappointment to my old memories.

A quick Googling reveals that I encountered Akira for the first time a bit more than a decade ago, Sam showing me the movie in December of 2005 and then lending me the translated volumes of the original manga over the first part of the following year. It’s been a decade since I last engaged with this in depth, and I was a bit worried. I had been afraid that my memories of Akira were wrong, but I had also been afraid that the appraisals I wrote at the time would be massively incorrect. Neither is the case: Akira still stands up as a powerful and artistically credible depiction of the human encounter with the post-human, and the movie in particular remains an effective distillation of the sprawling sagas of the manga.

I was off on one thing, though, or–at best–I was reflecting the perspectives of my time, back in the halcyon pre-crash days of 2005 and 2006. At the time, I wrote that Akira did not feel like our future, not with its post-apocalyptic urban civilization beset by mass protests and terrorism and the real dangerous conspiracies of the powerful and disenchanted. History has since returned, and watching some of the scenes featuring the revolutionaries and random protesters of Neo-Tokyo gave me chills. The imagining of the possibility of radical human transcendence embraced by so many of Akira‘s characters may be widely unrealistic, but what does it say about our civilization that the only thing left to us is chaos and despair?

Written by Randy McDonald

June 4, 2016 at 11:59 pm