Katsuhiro Otomo’s cyber-punk anime classic Akira may be as muddled and ridiculous as it is exhilarating, but there’s no denying its still-astounding animation. Otomo, adapting his own 2,000+page manga, packs his convoluted film with too many extraneous side-stories involving anti-government protestors (angry about tax reform?), an army coup, and a romance between a rampaging superboy and a dainty waif. But as a purely visual experience, this science-fiction epic is a furious spectacle of lush colors and dynamic movement that deftly combines elements of Blade Runner, The Road Warrior, and William Gibson’s Neuromancer. In post-WWIII neo-Tokyo, the military-industrial complex maintains tenuous control over rebuilt Japanese society, biker gangs rule the streets, and one kid – Tetsuo, a picked-on member of popular Kaneda’s moto-delinquents – becomes an out-of-control semi-diety when he crashes into a psychic child. Mid-way through, Akira’s story – which, like so much anime, is concerned with man’s relationship with machines – unravels into incomprehensibility, though it’s clear the film functions as both a parable about technological (specifically, atomic) progress, and a coming-of-age story about one maligned kid’s angry retribution against authority figures. Yet to really enjoy Otomo’s masterpiece, it’s best to just turn one’s mind off and enjoy the incredible imagery.