As we have often said, Katsuhiro Ōtomo’s 1988 AKIRA is one of the cornerstones of Japanese animation and a generational turning point that still continues to inspire the work of many artists like Kanye West and to influence contemporary culture in all its aspects.
Based on the manga of the same name of 1982 created by the master Ōtomo, AKIRA represents a unicum in the panorama of the history of animation, perhaps by impact the only Neon Genesis Evangelion can be compared to the cyberpunk masterpiece that tells the story of a young biker, Shotaro Kaneda and his friend Tetsuo Shima, in a Neo Tokyo of 2019 built on the rubble of Tokyo that we know now destroyed by World War III.
One of the most iconic and unforgettable images that the movie has ever given us is for sure Kaneda’s motorcycle, a bright red two-wheeler with a very peculiar design characterized by a low and wide body, two massive wheels and “vintage” stickers that enrich its design.
Concept artist Ryan Hong has reinterpreted the iconic Kaneda’s Bike through a contemporary perspective and created a model that respects the original design but at the same time is extremely contemporary.
One of the key elements in Hong’s reinterpretation was to preserve the overall aerodynamic structure of the bike: air enters through the front wheel opening which is then redirected to the sides of the bike body, while the pocket around the central headlight is an air intake for cooling the upper battery.
A fixed lower battery, two sets of interchangeable batteries on the sides, a nitrogen tank to cool the dual engine when the latter is pushed to maximum speed.
We Japanese animation fans, and AKIRA fans in particular, want to thank Ryan Hong wholeheartedly for making the bike we all wish we had “real”.
Below you can take a look at Kaneda’s Bike by Ryan Hong.