11 Akira References in Other Media
As Akira is being shown in 4K across UK cinemas, we thought we’d take a look at some of the best Akira references in Film, TV, and Anime!
Akira is one of the world’s most referenced anime, thanks to how it inspired countless creatives and became a classic. Akira has been referenced in anime, movies, TV shows, music, and more, and today we’re going to run through some of the ones you might have missed.
Punch-Line storms out of the gate with not only a strong first episode, but a homage to a classic! Super heroine Strange Juice performs a very familiar bike slide as she comes along to save a bus full of people from a hostage situation.
Officer Jenny has always been a cool character, but she has never been as rad as when she frontflips from her motorcycle, catches Pikachu in midair, and lands with a bike slide. Noticing a bit of a theme here? Yes, anime loves re-creating the iconic Akira bike slide!
The Akira bike slide? Referenced in another anime? Who would’ve guessed?! Araragi performs its own homage to the classic movie during its Nisemonogatari series, complete with facial animation that better reflects Akira than its own show.
Steven Universe the Movie has the bike slide (as expected, at this point) but one of its earliest episodes features Steven losing control of his powers, and what begins as growing a cute cat head from his fingers, ultimately turns him into a huge, cat-like blob that threatens to continue growing. Steven’s dad, Greg, saves the day, but it is a clear homage to Akira, especially given the team’s love of the movie.
Rick & Morty
When season 4 debuted, Rick & Morty fans knew they were in for something that would pay homage to Akira. There are several references to Akira, including several direct mentions of Akira, and the scenarios themselves.
Did you watch the interactive Black Mirror episode Bandersnatch? It is a bit of a blink or you’lll miss it moment, but do you spy that Akira art in the background? We wonder how that would look in the office…
Director Rian Johnson cited Akira as one of his many inspirations for Looper, and this is best seen with the character Cid, a young child with telekinesis, and he doesn’t have a healthy relationship with it.
The Matrix has directly cited Akira as an influence when designing the bullet time sequence in the first movie. John Gaeta has been quoted saying, “For artistic inspiration for bullet time, I would credit Otomo Katsuhiro, who co-wrote and directed Akira, which definitely blew me away, along with director Michel Gondry. His music videos experimented with a different type of technique called view-morphing and it was just part of the beginning of uncovering the creative approaches toward using still cameras for special effects.”
Ready Player One
If you are thinking, “oh boy, that bike sure does look familiar!”, that is because it is! It is heavily inspired by Kaneda’s own motorcycle, and there is even a similar bike slide that sometimes accompanies its appearance.
The Duffer Brothers specifically cited Elfen Lied as an inspiration for Stranger Things, but Elfen Lied itself is heavily influenced by Akira. They have acknowledged this too, and now we are hoping that a few Stranger Things fans will check out the anime that inspired the hit show!
Chronicle director Josh Trank cited Akira as one of his main influences for Chronicle, which revolves around students who receive telekinetic powers. Notably, one character is very Kaneda-like, whilst another is Tetsuo-like.
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