K: “Right on time.”

June 21st, 2011 by | Tags: ,

This is Chiyoko.

So is this:

She may or may not be Kei’s aunt, but she calls her Aunty Chiyoko, so sure. She’s part of the same resistance movement (terrorist group) that Kei’s in. She’s astonishingly direct, almost to the point of rudeness. She doesn’t spend any time at all dealing with the metaphysical aspects of Akira. She’s strictly go there, do this, let’s go and do that. At one point, sure, she tells one character to just admit their love, but that’s as deep as it gets when she’s there. Chiyoko is all about real life.

The funny thing about Akira is how often the cast goes up against the military. Early in the series, the military is essentially the main antagonist. And the cast? They’re basically high school kids and young adults at best. Kei’s clearly had some gun training, and Kaneda is scrappy and cunning, but as far as being soldiers goes? They aren’t. They manage to kill their fare share of enemies, though, and they don’t really react like someone unused to violence would. They get by off luck and recklessness, by and large.

Except Chiyoko.

Frank Castle, The Punisher, is a character that’s tough to like. Garth Ennis’s version is my favorite, and on top of that, the one that Garth Ennis draws and Goran Parlov draws, the one from Valley Forge, Valley Forge and a few other tales. He’s this big gorilla of a dude, formidable and invincible all tied up in one package. You look at him and know that he could carve a path through you and your crew with ease.

Chiyoko, in demeanor and depiction, puts me in mind of Frank Castle. She never really says too much. She’s so direct that conversations are near pointless. There’s not a lot of back and forth to be found when one person is completely assured of what she needs to do. She’s the tallest person in the cast, save for the Colonel, and she’s broader than he is. She’s got the same flat, sour demeanor as Castle, and a single-mindedness that’s positively admirable. She’s got a job to do and people to protect, so she does it. She has a purpose.

That purpose is wrecking an absolutely astonishing amount of people. She has an amazing aptitude for tearing through entire groups of grown men with ease. She’s resourceful and inventive. If she’s too far away to get her hands on you, she’ll either close that distance quicker than she should be able to or hit you with something from far. She barely gets a scratch until late in the series, even.

It’s implied that she’s ex-military, though no other female soldiers are shown in the series. But: she knows how to drive a tank, she’s good with a gun, she’s got major ordnance, and she’s even willing to get down and dirty with an armful of rockets, whether that means caving in a man’s skull or firing a rocket directly into his chest. She demonstrates an aptitude in this area that no one else in the book can match.

No one else in the comic wrecks people like Chiyoko. Tetsuo has a bigger body count, maybe, but half of his were accidental or fits of pique. Chiyoko is the one who wins battles intentionally and gracefully. She’s this perfect killing machine in an apron that was just dropped into the story. It’s reasonable to believe that Kei’s resistance group really is an effective terrorist organization if she’s counted as a member.

She’s great, man. She always gets a moment or two to destroy somebody, and she shows more heart than pretty much everyone but Kei and the Colonel. She’s not in the movie, unless there was a quick cameo that I’ve missed all these years.

This is probably my favorite bit:

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3 comments to “K: “Right on time.””

  1. Seeing Akira in color really makes me wish they would reprint the series in color – I’ve only read the Dark Horse black and white version and haven’t been able to find a full set in color.

  2. I spent the whole thing expecting Chiyoko to die, honestly.

    She seemed too badass to live. I mean, it was thinking in cliches Akira generally sidestepped, but whenever somebody is playing bodyguard to the protagonists, well, it’s not a profession with a good retirement package.

    Glad my library had volumes 1-5 in. I think the copy of volume 3 was even in color.

    Also managed to find one of the original Epic issues in an antique store. #2, I think.

  3. […] Brothers continues his analysis of Akira here, here, and here at […]