I first watched Akira a few years ago at around 2 in the morning. I had heard great praise about it and it's influence in most everything that followed. I was excited, and settled in to watch. What I saw was undeniably beautiful animation, a clear cyberpunk aesthetic, and a story which made absolutely zero sense to me. I walked away from the experience knowing that I had mostly enjoyed what I saw, I just didn't understand the themes or what it was saying. I did research into the film and watched several videos explaining what I had just seen. Through this, I was able to gain more of an understanding and eventually felt as though I had actually understood the film at last. Thus, years later, I felt ready to finally watch it again. I remembered parts of it, and some of the themes I had read about, but felt I had forgotten enough for it to be a "fresh" experience in some form. This time around, I absolutely loved it. Everything felt as though it came together to form an all-around great experience. There are two lines of thought that I'm left with however. The themes clearly needed some kind of information session for it to be enjoyable and understood. On one hand, this could mean that a film such as this excites discussion which then popularizes it even more as people work together to decipher exactly what the themes were. On the other hand, the themes could be so out there that you then lose your audience. It is a very fine line to walk, and I believe this film succeeds in that the quality of everything else does excite discussion so as to understand that last portion that some may not. Part of this is likely due to there actually being something to understand, rather than most films of this sort that simply leave it up to conjecture and can then often lose those who would have tried to understand.