Book review: Akira, Vol. 3

Akira, Vol. 3Akira, Vol. 3 by Katsuhiro Otomo.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is another brief review, largely because it feels kind of weird to review Akira per-trade rather than as a whole.

Boat trips are fun.

(No, it doesn’t. It just fits in with my must finish it! feelings – though I’m trying to pace myself with it. I mean I can’t read manga all year, can I?)

Anyway, at this point we’re halfway through the story. You’ll remember the last volume left us with a maimed (or dead…?) major character, and a sleepy Akira in a state of just-awakened befuddlement. After that big reveal – the weapon of doom is a kid? – this volume serves to ratchet up the tension.

A nicely understated interior, that’s what I like.

There’s always been a sense of shadowy mystery and behind-the-scenes power-plays to the work, but they’re brought into the open here. There’s religious, military and government players, all with their own still-unrevealed endgames. What we’re presented with is a part of the story where crisis is common, and all the figures within – be they Diet members or ex-biker jerkass kids – are scrambling to figure where they fit in, and what they should do.

And in the middle of it all is Akira, who has remained something of a cypher so far.


But not any more. Hoooooo boy.

A lot of what I wrote in my reviews of the first two volumes still holds here: the artwork conveys movement and a sense of dread incredibly effectively. It’s an urban tale, thus far, and if you have a thing for building porn, then you’re going to be happy, particularly if your especial kink is watching Built Shit Get Fucked Up. Some of the classic imagery I’ve associated with Akira is in this volume, and the level of detail is remarkable.

Google Maps might take a while to reflect all this.

In terms of narrative, it’s all systems go, here. The pacing and advancement of the story seems a little cack-handed in places, but you find a way of conveying governmental disruption that doesn’t make my eyes roll back into my skull. (I’ll wait.)

Things are heating up, and I suspect the next volume will be nuts. Especially if it features more Chiyoko, because frankly, she fucking rules.

My Goodreads profile is here.

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