Celebrate The 40th Anniversary Akira By Reading The Whole Damn Thing

Celebrate The 40th Anniversary Akira By Reading The Whole Damn Thing
Image: Kodansha
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In December 1982, mangaka Katsuhiro Otomo published the first chapter of a new manga. This series took place in the far-off year of 2019, where teenage biker gangs wage war on the streets of a dystopian Neo-Tokyo, while a growing resistance attempts to overthrow a corrupt government.

When Tetsuo, a punk biker with a severe self-esteem problem, is involved in an accident, he awakens latent psychic powers. He lets these new abilities go to his head, kicking off a gang war that builds to a revolution that permanently alters Neo-Tokyo. The series was called Akira, and almost forty years later it remains a high watermark of both manga and comics as a whole.

Akira is my all-time favourite anything, so I’ll take any excuse to get people to pick up the manga. It’s nothing short of a masterpiece. I can only think of a handful of manga series that have influenced pop culture the same way Akira has. It’s a sprawling sci-fi epic, a watershed moment for the cyberpunk genre and was a pivotal influence in introducing manga to wider Western audiences.

It also looks goddamn incredible.

Image: Madman

If you’re a big fan of the movie adaption of Akira but have never dipped your toes into the source material, you owe it to yourself to read this. Even though the anime was written and directed by Otomo, it only covers about 30% of the manga, at best. It’s almost like reading a different work that just happens to share the same characters and setting.

Back in 2017, Kodansha released a deluxe box set of Katsuhiro Otomo’s Akira to celebrate its 35th anniversary. Included in the set are the six volumes of the series, along with the odds-and-ends artbook Akira Club. You also get a neat little patch of Kaneda’s jacket design.

If you’ve been looking to finally read the iconic manga series or need to replace your well-read volumes, this remastered set is currently on sale for $206.25, down from $340.

If your New Year’s resolution was to read more or you just love comics and manga, I can’t think of a better time to either crack open this cyberpunk epic for the first time or even just revisit the ruins of Neo-Tokyo. And if you are going to read it, this anniversary printing is how you do it.

So what makes this box set so special?

Image: Kodansha

As someone who owns multiple versions of the series (did I mention I’m a huge fan?), this is the definitive version of the manga.

Each volume is now housed in a sturdy hardcover and, unlike previous English printings, now reads in the traditional right-to-left. The manga also retains the original hand-drawn sound effects and is printed on high-quality paper, so Otomo’s detailed art is incredibly crisp. Akira has never looked better.

When you consider that the individual volumes of Akira retail for $42 to $53 each, that’s one hell of a deal. Akira Club also seems to be out of print at the moment, so this is also the only way to get your hands on it without paying out the nose for a secondhand copy. The series isn’t currently available digitally either, so your options are limited.

You can grab the Akira 35th Anniversary Box Set here. Trust me, you won’t regret it.


  • Alternately, if you happen to live in range of the Sydney library network you can borrow it for free. Be warned – there are several volumes and they’re huge.

    • Dude, libraries are *great* for graphic novels nowadays. I’ve gotten into so many new series from the half dozen libraries in my general area. 😀

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