From the back cover:
Neo-Tokyo has risen from the ashes of a Tokyo obliterated by a monstrous psychokinetic power known only as Akira, a being who yet lives, secretly imprisoned in frozen stasis. Those who stand guard know that Akira’s awakening is a terrifying inevitability. Tetsuo, an angry young man with immense—and rapidly growing—psychic abilities, may be their only hope to control Akira when he wakes. But Tetsuo is becoming increasingly unstable and harbors a growing obsession to confront Akira face-to-face. A clandestine group including his former best friend sets out to destroy Tetsuo before he can release Akira—or before Tetsuo himself becomes so powerful that no force on Earth can stop him!
Elsewhere on the back cover, it says that Akira is required reading for any enthusiast of science fiction, manga, and the graphic novel. I tend to agree.
This volume consists almost entirely of people escaping from or sneaking into military installations and it was freakin’ awesome. I love Otomo’s detailed art—from city skylines to the underground warrens of secret military bases, there are amazing images in abundance. I’m a geek for buildings, so seeing the characters dash through a cavernous room of generators, for example, is the sort of thing I adore.
The story moves along as well, though not quite as much happens this time, since the focus is more on the action. Well, I say that, but perhaps the biggest thing happens at the end, which kind of surprised me, since I thought they’d leave that for volume six. I think my favorite part is when Kei (from the resistance group), who along with Kaneda was captured after the big biker gang battle from the previous volume, suddenly seems to develop psychic powers and attacks Tetsuo.
There’s more humor in this volume, though sometimes it feels out of place, like when Kei accuses Kaneda of trying to cop a feel when they’re in the middle of running for their lives. Other bits do amuse, though, like this exchange between some workmen discussing the food they’ve been given for lunch:
Workman #1: What’s with this crap?
Workman #2: Well, what do you expect for free?
Workman #1: Better crap.
Lastly, I must give kudos to Dark Horse for their extremely thorough ‘Story So Far’ page. Because I’m reading these from the library, I don’t have my own copies to refer to, so it was very helpful. Happily, I’ve already secured a copy of volume 3, so I’ll be able to plow on ahead without delay this time.