Akira is a Japanese Animation classic that was first screened in 1988. The animation is based off of Katsuhiro Otomo’s manga Akira, which incorporates the use of psychic powers amongst the characters. One of the main characters, Tetsuyo obtains psychic powers and his friend, Kaneda, another main character has to figure out a way to stop him from over taking the city. The laws of physics are very similar to this worlds rules, because the location of the film is set in Tokyo, and is still within the elements of Earths rules. The rules of natural physics are often broken throughout the movie to relate with the “super natural” aspects of the characters and situations that occur.
Through the movie, there is the works of low and high pressure interacting with each other and the rules that apply to pressure. Yet there is no definite rule to pressure within the film, there is a natural feeling to the use of the characters powers because there is always a sense of suction. Not only is the exposure of low and high pressure within the elements of using powers, there are the simpler elements that apply to the physics of objects in motion. In the scene where Kaneda is facing a rival gang leader, he challenges him to a game of chicken on their bikes. Riding along the center line of the freeway, the two bikers face off and barely miss each other, only to cause one to slide to the side while Kaneda skids to a stop. The issue that can be noticed within this scene is that with the higher pressure outside of the bikes as well as the low pressure following behind them, there should have been a rebound effect. This observation may be wrong but with the high amounts of speed as well as the amount of surface area penetrating through the wind force there would be more of a drastic result instead of sliding to the side but an actual incident similar to losing control of their vehicles. In later scenes, there are more noticeable pressure changes that affiliate to the use of super natural powers.
The main focus of the film is based on the use of super natural powers and their effects on their surroundings. In most cases with the use of special powers, the pressure change could be seen through the use of wind effects as well as surrounding debris. The first time the main character, Tetsuyo uses his powers is when he is in the other patient’s room getting payback for their previous teasing. In this scene Tetsuyo later on uses his powers to shoot out from the room, creating suction from the absence of his presence. Also later on in the film, there is a larger subject that is scene to display the exposure of low and high pressure creating suction. Within the last climatic scene of the film, there is a great explosion, similar to an atomic bomb exploding, but with this effect there is suction as in everything is drawn to the center like a black hole. Despite the expansion of the explosion, everything still is pulled to the center as well as in the end, everything zeroes into the very center where this episode ends without an actual outburst. Despite the use of pressure, gravity is greatly affected and played with throughout the film.
Within films, the use of gravity gives the feel of solidarity, where the characters are contained by the rules of gravity like all people are, so that gives a center of connection between the audience and characters. In the first scene introducing Takashi, one of the young children with psychic powers, he creates an explosion, shattering glass of nearby buildings to fall down to a group of on lookers. The glass itself falls too slow to display realism, especially after the initial impact which is fast and sharp. There are other objects in this scene that falls consistently to the first initial impact, but it is believed that in order to make the scene feel more effective, the contrast of timing was used with the shards of glass. Also when it comes to using their power, a character with special capabilities can levitate and move objects despite their size and weight. An example of this can be noticed in the scene when Kaneda first discovers more about his powers, he uses his powers to throw large objects at people as well as using bursts of energy to channel objects at people. There was also another scene when he did this and it was with a fight between himself and a female lead, Kei, in which they both were somewhat equal in strengths of power. The only limitation one can believe in due to this technique is that they could not levitate or throw a building. Not only are objects through about or in the air, but also characters have the ability to fly.
All characters with special powers have the ability to fly . The first introduction of flying was noticed in the scene when Tetsuyo was facing off the three other psychics , The sense of flight was easily accepted in the movie because also there was the use of flight through other means and it felt that it as a normal setting, especially after the fact that this film was set more in the future, and also that it was already clear that a person with special powers would have the ability of flight. In a way it is expected in more animations and films that anyone who has a special power should at least be able to fly to a degree. Also the characters with powers are able to walk on top of water like it is glass. This was revealed in a scene where Takashi is retrieving Kei from the other characters by guiding her to walk on top of the water. Gravity just doesn’t have any effect on anyone who has powers, but for normal people there are still the basic rules of physics.
There is realistic physics involved in the movie but in order to convey the effect of super natural powers, the boundaries of realism is pushed. Some forms of basic natural physics that one can recognize is simply, inertia as the bike gang ride through the streets of Tokyo on their bikes. As Kaneda is racing through a tunnel, there was a fire, which resulted in a fire extinguishing system being activated. Kaneda had skidded to an abrupt stop which almost tossed him to the side. Also another incident of making a sharp abrupt turn resulting in sliding, is when Tetsuyo is racing after a rival gang member but losing his balance by turning in at a curve too much to cause him to slide and keep moving in the same line of motion. Other natural applications of physics relate to how with angle and weight, speed is increased with motion. In a scene that involved Kei defending herself against armed policemen, Kaneda is seen running down a steep slope, leading him to pick up speed and eventually tackling the office to fall into a sewage ravine below. Just with the basics of physics, can anchor the story to make it feel realistic, but what also makes a film are scenes that are just unnatural that makes you think of how it would be to be involved in such a situation.
The last climatic section of the film dealt with the destruction of a portion of Tokyo. Reality is pushed to the degree that there is no real defined sense of gravity and speed of motion. The main character Kaneda was pulled into the core of the explosion, and he is literally floating through space and time, causing an unbalance of time and gravity as objects fly about and crumble at different speeds. The irregularity of the scene is what creates the mood for the ending, the unknown of endless possibilities. The end of the film itself is left open for that reason, because the director/writer wanted the audience to decipher their own ending to this film.
Akira can be a rather confusing movie to watch, but the push between realism and surrealism is what makes it interesting. Having physics pushed to unrealistic settings benefited the story because it would feel unconvincing if everything was naturalistic yet t he characters have super natural powers. The laws of physics in this film are applied to the affiliation of gravity, pressure and realism, displaying a wide range of action between characters and the environment within scenes.