Sunday, August 4, 2013

Blurb on Otomo's Akira manga

One of the rare but perhaps most rewarding things in life is when something exceeds your expectations. When you think, this will not be the great and it ends up blowing your mind. Or even if you think "this is going to be great" and it ends up even BETTER. 
When I was still in Okayama for my student exchange program I reluctantly bought the really expensive tickets to see Polysics a block or two from campus at a little hole in the wall that doubles as the greatest live house in Kansai(the world maybe?): Okayama Pepperland. It was expensive and Polysics wasn't my favorite band, but people always told me their live shows were not to be missed. I remember getting there a bit earlier, walking from my dorm(how SICK is that? walking to a live from your place of residence --> awesome feeling) and standing among a pretty packed crowd. 15 minutes later and many pushes and shoves saw the tiny little space packed like a can of sardines: wall to wall with more people than I'd ever seen in there at one given time. It felt full and people kept coming, space between neighbors got reduced to zero, and then the band came on. Between moshing, lifting crowd surfers, playing notes on Hayashi's synthesizer as he lowered it into the crowd, and being drenched in my own sweat, I had no time to think about the fact that I almost stayed home and missed all of this because I thought the tickets were expensive. 

Anyways, manga has done this to me in no better comparison than Otomo's Akira. After reading the first volume I was just hooked. Floored. And the feeling is quite strange and difficult to explain. 
Even though the grotesque scenes of blood, violence, and little kids who look 90 years old permeate through the book it all feels strangely...pleasant. I get that sensations after reading through the first of 6 huge paperback volumes of the book. It's relaxing and it makes you feel good. I knew that Akira was a great series, the animated film sure was amazing, but reading the manga was just on another level. It felt good to read it. It just flowed so well and made me think that "this is how you should feel when you read manga." Miyazaki's Nausicaa evoked a similar feeling within me but Akira flows much smoother, and that's quite a thing to say considering how much I love both Miyazaki and Nausicaa to pieces. There is just some kind of magic strewn into the fabrics of the pages of these volumes that is very distinct. 

I hope I can find it again. 


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