Usually I wouldn’t openly express my profound interest in all things cyber, dystopian and futuristic. But it seems BCM320 is making me do just that.
Our screening of Akira, made my geeky senses tingle and I became intrigued.
Akira is a Japanese anime movie set in 1988, which explores the Japanese government dropping an atomic bomb on Tokyo after ESP experiments on children go ‘awry‘. The film illustrates the repercussions of the bomb almost 31 years after it destroyed the city. The movie is all things dystopian and cyberpunk, and shows strong similarities to your favourite movies and shows like Blade Runner and Stranger Things. It’s crazy to evaluate the similarities between the successes despite being decades apart. But it seems the themes of dystopia and cyberpunk will continue to reign as current and adaptable themes for futuristic movies.
We were given the challenge to channel our thoughts and understanding of the film in an autoethnographic account. ‘Autoethnography’ is “an approach to research and writing that seeks to describe and systematically analyse personal experience in order to understand cultural experience“. Autoenthography is a combination of autobiography and ethnography, fundamentally autobiographies are often written based on epiphanies of the researcher. Such epiphanies are “remembered moments perceived to have significantly impacted the trajectory of a person’s life“.
Autoethnography all the researcher to analyse their content from an outsider and cultural perspective. “Scholars began recognising that different kinds of people possess different assumptions about the world…Auto-ethnography, on the other hand, expands and opens up a wider lens on the world…”
Attempting to live tweet while focus on the movie and research the film’s themes proved difficult, and this is exhibited by the minimal tweets I was able to curate. My cultural understanding of anime has never been broad, or my preference. However, I have always had an interest in post-apocalyptic film and the analysis of the repercussions of war and corruption.
During the viewing I noticed constant references and similarities to Blade Runner, and began thinking about the correlation between the movies and their overarching themes. Akira, like Blade Runner incorporate the themes of globalisation, technology and capitalism. It is these themes that we can see transcend over time, to portray a dystopian society which reflects war and destruction. This was evident throughout Akria, understanding these themes helped me to gather the cultural understanding of how Japanese people have dealt with the repercussions of atomic bombs.
The post-apcolyptic destruction reflects the ruins and fear of the Japanese people. What once was and what now stands, are the effects of military and political corruption which are common themes in Japanese film and literature. Being set in 2019, as the repercussions of WWIII caused me to constantly question, I questioned how filmmakers have the capacity to create films that reflect times that we have not yet experienced or predicted. It caused me to question, whether these themes of political corruption, war, globalisation and technology will continue to be labelled as ‘time-less’. And it lastly caused me to question the Japanese culture and its preconceived predictions for the future, and their immersion with western culture.
So I attempted to draw a conclusion.
Akira is a futuristic reflection of the repercussions of Atomic Bombings present and future. As a result of a Western influence and Japan’s technologically advanced society, they predict that military and political corruption will lead to ultimate destruction. Cross-cultural understanding and autoethnography allowed me to understand that Japanese culture largely influences post-apocalyptic and dystopian films. The value of Japanese anime and film culture is preserved and treasured amongst the film industry. Anime is ‘time-less’.