With the original Akira manga dating back to 1982 and the first anime of the sort having come out in 1988, the work is credited for kickstarting Japan’s cyberpunk revolution. Nowadays, non-traditionalists are still waiting for Hollywood to release the Akira live-action remake and with no result after a decade of talks, we can always turn to fan art for a parallel universe involving this world. Case in point with these renderings, which portray an Akira realm where cars, not bikes, are the dominant vehicles of choice for mischief.
When creating Akira, writer and illustrator Katsuhiro Otomo portrayed the action in a post-apocalyptic Neo-Tokyo setup that came two decades after a bizarre explosion wiped out the city.
The name of the series comes from a mystery-shrouded being wielding psychic powers, while biker gangs fight for dominance with supernatural abilities augmenting the action. On a more profound level, the work highlights social issues with a serious impact on humanity, such as the nuclear bombs America dropped on Japan in WWII.
And if you’re getting your kicks from the global presence manga and anime are enjoying nowadays, not least thanks to streaming platforms in case of the latter, you should know Akira paved the way for this forty years ago.
Now, there are times when independent digital artists add a bit of anime/manga flavor to their machines and I feel the need to magnify that, as it’s been the case with the Akira Aston Martin rendering covered back in January.
However, this isn’t one of those times. Instead, pixel master John Richsoon set out to overturn the balance of power between cars and bikes in Akira, as mentioned above.
In his effort, the artist came up with Neo-Tokyo machines for some of the most important figures in the series. As such, the 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air in the title is destined for the Clown Gang.
And with this gang being comprised mainly of junkies and led by a character dubbed Joker, the Chevy, replaces the gang’s choppers from the series (you can check out an actual Akira battle scene featuring the bikes in the YouTube video at the bottom of the story).
Sporting a supercharged V16 (just check out those headers if you’re seeking a clue for the presence of the “double-V8”), the slab of America seems to fit the bill perfectly.
American metal vs. JDM city sliders
Then there are the small Japanese cars driven by the gang of Shotaro Kaneda, who is the central character of the story. Kaneda himself now drives a K12-generation (2002-2010) Nissan Micra, albeit with this using its March Japanese name—as you’ll notice in the gallery below, there’s even an action shot with the car, with the unusual wheel articulation reminding us of the bike he uses in the actual series.
And if you thought JDM goodies like the two-door city car that is the Subaru 360 (1958-1971) couldn’t get any quirkier, the example prepped for Yamagata, Kaneda’s right hand, will prove you wrong.
And since the OG Honda Civic (1972-1979) seen here is destined for Tetsuo Shima, the youngest in the gang, but a teenager packing impressive telekinetic abilities, this small machine is a force to be reckoned with. Unlike the Clowns’ gass guzzler(s), the Civic has four hub-mounted electric motors.
And, to add an extra layer of automotive culture, these cars feature decals linking them to the real world, from the Civic’s tuner trip to the Bel Air’s Hoonigan social media connection.