I first came across Akira, a Japanese weekly manga compilation by Epic Comics way back in 1988. At the time, I was a graphic design student at a local art college and was greatly influenced by Japanese Animation.
I recalled the works by the great Osamu Tezuka of the Astro Boy fame, Hayao Miyazaki (Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind) and Katsuhiro Otomo's Akira. As I see it, Akira was the manga that caught my attention because it was visually stunning and realistic.
It was translated by Epic Comics, a division of Marvel Comics, painstakingly coloured and reversed (The Japanese read from left to right) and was released as a monthly Graphic Novel. At the time, it was priced at RM16.80 a book, which was a feat to collect.
I had the first printing of number 1 - 26 and ceased from buying the issues sometime in late 1993.
And at the same time, other works by Shirow Masamune (Appleseed, Ghost in a shell and Black Magic) had hit the scene.
It wasn't until late 99 when I managed to score a special edition of the Akira DVD which was re-released with new voice talents.
For me, the Akira experience was something that took hold of my late teenage and early adulthood and I must say that it impacted the way I see the works of art from the mange genre. Till today, I must admit that I am still interested in anything that is related to the Akira phenom...