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Warning: This manga contains violence, drugs and other unsuitable content for all ages. If you are a minor, please choose another of our articles to read.
It was the end of the eighties; Katsuhiro Otomo decided to get inspiration from a classical robot anime in black and white called Gigantor (in English). He completely transformed the innocent looking story into an extreme rendition to rebellion and the spirit of youth. In an apocalyptic setting in Japan (where else?), we testify about the fight of several factions for the control of Neo Tokyo and the showdown of two friends/rivals.
If you are not a fan of manga in particular, you probably don’t know that there are vast differences between the anime and manga of Akira. As the manga is longer, it had more space to develop every single character that only has a few seconds in the film. However, what makes both versions stand out and be the classics they are is their visual style, the vitality of each scene and the genial way science fiction and the Japanese spirit is combined. What other manga try to do renditions of the same topics like Akira? Let’s try to find out!
Similar Manga to Akira
1. Denmu Jikuu (Chronowar)
- Authors: Kazumasa Takayama
- Genres: Action, Drama, Sci-Fi, Psychological, Seinen
- Volumes: 1
- Published: 1994
Denmu Jikuu is one of the few works by Kazumasa Takayama. In this story, Tokyo is once more in danger as a satellite is heading towards it. The city has been evacuated with the exception of three citizens who, due to different reasons, stay behind. One of them is a housewife called Chiaki, who after the satellite hits, discovers that someone has came with it!
Just by looking at the cover, we see an art style similar to the creator of Akira, Katsuhiro Otomo. We also have an unexpected encounter with the supernatural combined with science fiction here. The strong female characters cannot be missed either. The main difference is the length of the manga. Therefore, if you are into the mood for a quick read, Denmu Jikuu is the sci-fi manga for you!
2. Sarah - The Legend of Mother Sarah
- Authors: Katsuhiro Otomo and Takumi Nagayasu
- Genres: Action, Adventure, Drama, Sci-Fi, Seinen
- Volumes: 7
- Published: Oct 1990 to May 2004
Katsuhiro Otomo had to appear again somehow in this article, as he has so much interesting material under his mangaka sleeve. He wrote the story of Sarah, while Takumi Nagayasu did the illustrations. In this story, we see a poisoned Earth while humans have migrated to space colonies. However, after a terrorist attack, people are forced to go back to the unwelcoming Earth. During the process, Sarah becomes separated from her family, so she begins her journey to reunite with them.
The truth is that Sarah was inspired by a secondary character who appears frequently in the manga of Akira: Chiyoko, the weapons expert. She and Sarah are badasses ready for everything and willing to survive. Their stories are set in post apocalyptic worlds which are rather bleak. However, although it looks like everything is action and violence, the truth is that both Akira and Sarah are stories that treat their protagonists in depth, exposing their human vulnerabilities and highlighting the dramas of their lives. So, if what you liked about Akira was the background story of the characters, you can give Sarah a try.
- Authors: Iqura Sugimoto
- Genres: Action, Mystery, Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi, Shounen, Supernatural
- Volumes: 4
- Published: 2004 to 2006
Iqura Sugimoto has published several manga, among them Summer Wars. In Variante, we meet Aiko, a girl who wakes up in a laboratory after her family dies. Her arm has become a Chimera, a powerful and barely controllable monster. Will she be able to control it or will she have to end her own life?
Tetsuo is not the only guy around with mysterious powers that could destroy the world. If Aiko and Tetsuo do not control their emotions, their powers will take over. If you like the topic of an evil organization doing experiments on people, well, Variante is an option for you. Also, the relationship between Aiko and other experiment subjects reminds us of Tetsuo and company. So, if you ever wondered what would have happen if said Tetsuo was a girl, you can well read Variante to find out 🙂
Any Manga Like Akira ?
- Authors: Hiroya Oku
- Genres: Action, Drama, Ecchi, Horror, Sci-Fi, Supernatural, Psychological, Seinen
- Volumes: 37
- Published: Jul 13, 2000 to Jun 20, 2013
Hiroya Oku is famous for authoring manga that is difficult to stomach, and with this, we mean that his themes are mature. Before his most recent success (Inuyashiki), there was Gantz. The protagonist is Kei Kurono, who finds himself caught in a strange game when he dies. His skills and morals will be tested while he develops bonds with other members of the Gantz theme.
Kei Kurono and Kaneda have a lot in common. They are rebellious and violent teenagers who are leaders of gangs in worlds where only the fittest can survive. Both manga have social commentaries and reflect on having special powers that come with heavy responsibilities. The main difference is that Gantz is longer, and can get a bit repetitive sometimes, while Akira ends at the optimal length.
5. Ultra Heaven
- Authors: Keiichi Koike
- Genres: Drama, Sci-Fi, Psychological, Seinen
- Volumes: 3
- Published: 2001 - In Hiatus
Keiichi Koike used to be more active in the nineties, publishing several manga that are as psychedelic and sombre as this one. Ultra Heaven tell us the story of a world where everyone is a potential drug addict. Kabu is a little peddler and (you guessed) a drug addict, one who hates those who made the society as it is. When he is offered the Ultra Heaven, he goes one more step deeper into the conscience. But what really is Ultra Heaven and why was it given to Kabu? Will he be able to discover it or will he be consumed by the drug?
One aspect of the manga of Akira that is not explored in depth in the film is that drugs run heavily in Kaneda’s world. That is one of the reasons the world is in such a state of disarray. We have a similar atmosphere of hopelessness in Ultra Heaven, with some weird dreams also thrown in the mix. The only bad thing about this manga is that it is on hiatus.
6. 20th Century Boys
- Authors: Naoki Urasawa
- Genres: Mystery, Drama, Historical, Sci-Fi, Psychological, Seinen
- Volumes: 22
- Published: Sep 27, 1999 to Apr 24, 2006
Naoki Urasawa is a monster of the seinen genre. His works have been frequently adapted to anime, but you probably have heard of him because of his opera prima, “Monster”. In 20th Century Boys, a strange cult is dominating the city. When the protagonist, Kenji Endo, finds out one of his friends committed suicide, he realizes that this cult is much more than it looks. Reuniting his childhood friends, Kenji decides to fight back in order to save the world.
If what you enjoyed about Akira was the complexity of the characters and their world combined with raw action, 20th Century Boys will satisfy you. Naoki Urasawa is a master at dealing with big casts, giving them detailed background stories. Both authors know how to keep your attention and curiosity, alternating action scenes with more philosophical ones. The advantage of 20th Century Boys is that it is loooong, so you can enjoy it little by little.
Akira was the first contact with japanese animation for many. However, as you can see, there are many more waiting among the masters of Japanese manga. Complex stories full of criticism towards those in power and that exalt the rebellion of youth are not uncommon. However, what Akira and other similar manga excel at is in questioning the individual motifs and their relationships with others. What other manga like Akira do you know? Don’t forget that we are open to all your comments and suggestions. See you soon!