What Does That Japanese Text in Akira Say?

11 Comments

A reader by the name of Jack asked me to explain what some Japanese text in the Akira anime movie says. So here’s a look at the screenshots he sent:

So it looks like there isn’t much to be said about these images and screenshots, but I hope it at least helps satisfy fans’ curiosity!

11 Comments
  1. The last screenshot wasn’t localized in the movie. Or at least in the DVD version. I’ve actually been studying Kanji a bit but I haven’t recognized any of thes, ha ha ha! Thanks for doing this!

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  2. God, yet another reminder that i still need to see this damn movie. It’s so famous and i always hear about how great it is and how i need to see it some day, but i don’t even know a single damn thing about it. I don’t even know what genre it is. I so need to track down a dvd or look it up on netflix or something.

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    1. The only thing I know about it is that they used to show ads for a VHS dub on TV at like two in the morning. This was back when they called it a Japanimation classic. 😮

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  3. I guess it must be sad that I have never heard of this movie as an anime nerd?

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    1. Yeah this is the best anime. Even people that hate, HATE anime love this movie. It does everything right as a film, it more just happens to have been animated than be an anime, if you know what I’m trying to say (I sure don’t)

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  4. The DVD for Akira has a pop-up video type thing, where a little capsule symbol shows up and pressing enter on the remote will translate text in the background. This is on both the special edition and regular 2001 re-release, not positive about the blu-ray.

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    1. Oh, really…? I did not know that.

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  5. As a movie, Akira is pretty flawed actually. It glosses over major plot points like the nature of the civil unrest, or why there’s a religion worshipping Akira. It was a narrative mess, technically impressive but as a complete story it falters because it tried to condense a phone book length manga into a 2 hour movie and didnt give the movie time to develope some of the more important elements from the manga

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    1. I think that this is actually part of the brilliance of Akira, though is that you don’t need to explain why they are worshipping Akira. It is implied that they have given up on the idea that the government can fix the state of neo Tokyo and their fears have been adiquately manifested by the idea of Akira, who can topple this governments seemingly oppressive regime and bring them enlightenment. That’s how I perceive it at least. I think it is a master stroke that they didn’t explain everything.

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  6. Hi, So I have figured what the last screenshot says. If the 5 Japanese characters are put together into one word it translates to “Talent Akira”. 大覚アキラ. If the words have a space in between like this 大覚_アキラ( _ is showing the space ) it translates to “Arousal Akira”.

    Lastly if the characters are stacked like this “大覚” it translates to “Consciousness Akira”


    大 means Large, 覚 means sense/sensei/satoru,ア means ‘A’, キ means Ki, and ラ means Ra.

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    1. Al Hoff, you beat me to it! Excellent explanation. I’d only like to add that given the context and the rhetoric of the Akira worshipers later, I think all together we can take it to mean “The Great Awakening, Lord Akira!”

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