‘Akira’ and the Post-Human Dilemma

Got your thinking cap handy? Put it on for this video analysis.
By  · Published on April 26th, 2017

Got your thinking cap handy? Put it on for this video analysis.

I’ve said it before and I will say it again: film as a medium is a mirror to the human condition. Film shows us ourselves in ways we could never see on our own, it draws us out of our self-centered mindsets and reveals aspects of self and society that otherwise we might not notice. That’s because film – as opposed to the other dominant storytelling medium, literature – is built first of images to which words are added, and images affect us differently than words, they suggest rather than lead, they leave more room for interpretation and personal translation, and thus they have the power to ring truer with an audience than does dialogue.

At the same time, film is an utter fabrication, even the most realistic (narrative) films about actual events take significant dramatic liberties in order to emphasize certain themes. After all, like I said, film is a reflection of life, not life itself, and reflections, as anyone who’s ever been to a funhouse or a mall dressing room knows, can be manipulated.

But in the intersection where film meets life there are hidden truths, there are reflections that allow us to make sense of ourselves, our society, and our collective hopes and fears.

This is the ideological jumping off point for the latest erudite video essay from Luiza Liz for her Art Regard YouTube channel, in which she examines how “the sensitive and the subversive medium of film superimposes icons of global trauma, obscenities of moral failure, and aesthetic splendors.” And her vehicle for this examination? Katsuhiro Otomo’s 1982 anime classic Akira, which she looks at specifically for how it demonstrates the post-humanist dilemma. Sound heady? Hell yes it does, and Luiza delivers the goods with aplomb.

Akira is one of those films that’s been dissected, sewn up and dissected again over and over by film critics, but I’ve never seen an analysis quite like this, and I’m willing to bet you haven’t either, which is why we’re proud to present it to you.

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Novelist, Screenwriter, Video Essayist