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Akira is a manga, or Japanese comic, which was created by Katsuhiro Otomo. Otomo made a name for himself when he created Akira, which became known as one of the first mangas, and animes, ever to become popular in the United States. Akira, the manga version, was released in 1982 and ran until 1990. It consists of six volumes and was released in Young Magazine. Akira became so popular that it was quickly transformed into an animated feature length film.


  • Shotaro Kaneda – Shotaro is the leader of a motorcycle gang known as The Capsules. He is best friends with Tetsuo and is the hero of the story.
  • Tetsuo Shima – Tetsuo is Shotaro’s best friend. He winds up being in an accident in the beginning of the manga, and ends up discovering that he has untapped psychic powers. It is believed that the accident he was involved in, as well as the drugs he has used, helped his psychic abilities to grow to insanely huge levels. He is taken off the streets and turns bad as the series goes along.
  • The Espers – These are children who have been taken in for a psychic project that is being held by the government. They look old, due either to the tests or their powers.
  • Kiyoko – Is an esper who is able to transport things and people from one place to another. She can also see the future. She is bed-ridden.
  • Masaru – Masaru is able to get about in a wheelchair or a floating char. He has psychokinetic abilities.
  • Takashi – Takashi is the Esper that accidentally injures Tetsuo. He also has psychokinetic abilities.
  • Akira – Akira is a boy who was once taken in to be studied and tested, as the Espers were. It was soon discovered that he had huge psychic abilities, and that he could destroy the world, if he so chose. Akira winds up accidentally destroying Tokyo and starting World War III. He ends up being frozen in a cryogenic chamber, so that he will not cause any more problems, and later comes out in order to stop Tetsuo from destroying the world.
  • Kei – Kei is a leader of the resistance movement who helps Kaneada to stop Tetsuo. Kei and Tetsuo have hidden feelings for each other.
  • Colonel Shikishima – Colonel Shikishima is better known as The Colonel. He is the one in charge of the project, which includes testing psychic children. He is a good man, though it seems otherwise, and is determined to make sure that there is never another occurrence of the Akira destruction. He goes to the government to warn them about Tetsuo, and his immense power, but they do not listen.
  • Yamagata – Yamagata is the second in command of Kaneda’s biker gang. Tetsuo kills him very early in the series, which infuriates Kaneda.
  • Ryu – Ryu is a terrorist in the beginning of the story, but winds up becoming a her who tries to stop the destruction of the world.
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