One of the best sustained examples of "Japanimation" (or "Anime," as fans of the genre called it), Akira
is based on the manga
(comic book) by Katsuhiro Otomo. The story is set in the post-apocalyptic community of Neo-Tokyo. Akira is a fiercely individualistic member of a scrungy motorcycle gang. The despotic authorities, the robotlike police, and even the cycle gang pursue Akira when he's bombarded with a new, insidious energy source that has rendered him telekinetic. Budgeted at $8 million (an enormous amount for a Japanese film of any kind), Akira has become a cult favorite thanks to generous midnight-movie exposure and multiple showing on cable TV's Cartoon Network.