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Akira is the titular secondary antagonist of the 1982 manga Akira and a supporting character in the 1988 film of the same name. While Akira was a heroic character in the film, in the manga, he plays a villainous role, and becomes the puppet ruler of the Great Tokyo Empire, as well as the accomplice of Tetsuo Shima.


Born on an unknown day pre-1992, Akira is an esper who quickly developed powerful psychic abilities. Eventually gaining the attention of the Japanese Military, Akira joined the esper Program to unlock his true potential. Here, he became a test subject and was subjected to experiments which unlocked his true potential, at the cost of his personality. In 1992, Akira grew so powerful, he set off an explosion that destroyed Tokyo. In doing so, Akira inadvertantly started World War 3. Having no choice, the government froze Akira in cyrostasis beneath the Tokyo Olympic Stadium, and covered up any and all records of the esper Program.

Thirty years later, a teenage biker named Tetsuo Shima encounters one of Akira's fellow espers, Takashi. In doing so, Tetsuo's psychic potential awoke, however, due to Tetsuo's massive inferiority complex, his psychic powers ended up driving him insane. Upon hearing about Akira, as well as how his powers are supposedly stronger than Tetsuo's, Tetsuo became intruiged by the idea of such a being, and sought him out at the Olympic Stadium. Confronted there by his former best friend Kaneda, Tetsuo freed Akira from cryostasis. Upon seeing Akira and Tetsuo freed, leader of the Japanese Military, Colonel Shikashima orders a satellite orbiting laser to fire upon Tetsuo and Akira with the hopes of killing them. Upon losing an arm, Tetsuo destroys the satellite and escapes, leaving Kaneda and his ally, Kei, to find a place to hide Akira.

With a coup declared against the Japanese government, and Colonel Shikashima on their trail, Kaneda and Kei struggle to reach an elderly esper named Lady Miyako with Akira. After being betrayed by a backstabbing government double agent named Nezu, Takashi is shot and killed just as Akira regains his vision. Traumatized, Akira releases a similar explosion to the one 30 years prior, destroying much of Neo Tokyo and killing countless innocents along the way.

Now under Tetsuo's care, Akira becomes the ruler of the Great Tokyo Empire with Tetsuo as his second in command (though Tetsuo is truly in charge and advising Akira behind the scenes). Together, Tetsuo and Akira would give their followers the same pills the government used, in order to unlock their psychic powers. While seeking advice from Lady Miyako, Akira would be left in the care of Tetsuo's sex slave, Kaori. Eventually, Kaneda would return from the alternate universe he was trapped in due to Akira's second explosion, and join with the cult of Lady Miyako in a stand against the Great Tokyo Empire.

During an attack on the Empire's homebase, The Olympic Stadium, Tetsuo's body started contorting due to having been off the pills because of Lady Miyako's advice. During the ensuing battle, Kaori (who Tetsuo had grown to love over the course of the manga) is killed, causing Tetsuo to mutate out of control. Kei (having developed psychic powers of her own) is ordered by the dying Lady Miyako to launch an attack from the SOL in order to destroy Tetsuo. Kei obeys, causing Tetsuo to explode similarly to Akira's explosion. Upon being shot in an assassination attempt by Ryu, Akira's former personality is awakened. Him along with the other espers, Kiyoko and Masaru (along with the spirit of Takashi). Realizing what he must do, Akira and the other espers sacrifice themselves in order to cancel out Tetsuo's explosion with one of their own.