There’s Never Been A Better Time To Read Akira

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Back in 2017, Kodansha released a deluxe box set of Katsuhiro Otomo’s Akira to celebrate its 35th anniversary. Included in the set are the six volumes of the series, along with the odds-and-ends artbook Akira Club. You also get a neat little patch of Kaneda’s jacket design.

It’s currently on sale for $206.25, down from $340.

Akira is my all-time favourite anything, so I’ll take any excuse to get people to pick up the manga. It’s nothing short of a masterpiece. I can only think of a handful of manga series that have influenced pop culture the same way Akira has.

Set in the far-off year of 2019, Akira takes place in Neo-Tokyo, a neon-soaked dystopia where teenage biker gangs wage war on the streets while a growing resistance attempts to overthrow a corrupt government.

When Tetsuo, a punk biker with a severe self-esteem problem, is involved in an accident, he awakens latent psychic powers. He lets these new abilities go to his head, kicking off a gang war that builds to an explosive revolution that will permanently alter Neo-Tokyo.

If you’re a big fan of the movie adaption of Akira but have never dipped your toes into the source material, you owe it to yourself to read this. Even though the anime was written and directed by Katsuhiro Otomo, it only covers about 30% of the manga, at best. It’s almost like reading a different work that just happens to share the same characters and setting.

While it looks like we’ll all be spending a little extra time inside for the coming weeks, I can’t think of a better time to either crack open this cyberpunk epic for the first time or even just revisit the ruins of Neo-Tokyo. And if you are going to read it, this anniversary printing is how you do it.

So what makes this box set so special?

akira
Image: Kodansha

As someone who owns multiple versions of the series (did I mention I’m a huge fan?), this is the definitive version of the manga.

Each volume is now housed in a sturdy hardcover and, unlike previous English printings, now reads in the traditional right-to-left. The manga also retains the original hand-drawn sound effects and is printed on high-quality paper, so Otomo’s detailed art is incredibly crisp. Akira has never looked better.

When you consider that the individual volumes of Akira retail for $42 to $53 each, that’s one hell of a deal. Akira Club also seems to be out of print at the moment, so this is also the only way to get your hands on it without paying out the nose for a secondhand copy. The series isn’t currently available digitally either, so your options are limited.

You can grab the Akira 35th Anniversary Box Set here. Trust me, you won’t regret it.

And if your bookshelf isn’t saggy enough with big box sets, the Adventures of Tintin set is also on sale for $242, down from a usual RRP of $330. There are 23 books included, so that shakes out to be about $10.50 per volume. Not bad when a single paperback Tintin comic is $20.

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