Set in the near future the movie features a band of anti-terrorist cops led by the cyborg Kusanagi who must seek out the computer-hacking Puppet Master before he/she/it can alter the world as we know it.
When Akira first blasted out of Japan back in 1991 it looked like the Western concept of widescreen animation would be changed forever. Goodbye, cute yodelling animals. And hello, gun-toting, cyberpunk vigilantes. Unfortunately, it was not to be. Sure, on video, the Manga scene has gone from strength to strength, but as far as theatrical releases are concerned, nothing has really come along to match Akira's sheer retina-scalding magnificence.
Until now. Based on a cartoon story by legendary Japanese artist Masamune Shirow, this not only equals the technical proficiency of its predecessor but goes some way beyond it.
Naturally, it goes without saying that, despite being made of 99 per cent plas-metal, Kusanagi has the kind of looks that even the cast of Baywatch can only dream about while all around her stand enough corrupt cops, demolished sushi bars and state-of-the-art weaponry to fill half-a-dozen Blade Runner sequels. So far so predictable.
What makes this such a cut above the rest are a set of sense-assaulting production values that equals anything Hollywood was producing at the time.
From its baddie-eviscerating opening sequence through innumerable car chases, shoot outs and tongue-in-cheek dialogue exchanges, this is exactly the kind of film that James Cameron would make if they ever let him through the Disney front gates. Just make sure you see it on a big screen. One the size of Norfolk should do.