Merry Christmas, it’s Akira’s 30th anniversary! And the influential anime film, released in US cinemas December 25, 1989 has everything you need for jolly holiday viewing — vicious gangs, telekinetic powers, the eradication of civilized society, psychic children with horrifyingly aged faces, a dystopian view on how technology will consume us all, a viscerally disgusting villain that consumes and absorbs everything in its path, and one of the scariest film scores ever composed. Uh… maybe it’s not so much a wonderful life?
Akira is a chest-grabbing masterpiece, an explosive film that helped usher manga and anime into the Western cultural forefront and has influenced projects as wide-varying as South Park, Stranger Things, and Kanye West’s “Stronger.” It also gave an expansive, entertaining overview of the science fiction subgenre known as cyberpunk. First defined and explored by notable sci-fi authors like Philip K. Dick, Harlan Ellison, and William Gibson, cyberpunk works tend to feature a near-future dystopian society that is paradoxically gutted and devolved thanks to the expansion and evolution of technology. Human bodies and cybernetic approximations co-mingle, bleary-eyed protagonists fight their way through noir-tinged conflict, and the cold, steel flesh of industry, from robots to skyscrapers, juts into every facet of life — all tinged with the iconoclastic, rebellious spirit of punk. Sounds pretty damn cinematic, no?
So, in honor of Akira’s 30th anniversary, and a world which feels more and more cyberpunk every minute, here are some of the best cyberpunk movies for you to watch, enjoy, and further convince you to delete all your social media accounts and live off the grid.