Akira is considered an all-time classic in animation for many reasons—but one rarely championed is the way it uses light in the movie to support Katsuhiro Otomo’s commentary on the grim future of Neo-Tokyo.

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The ever-excellent Nerdwriter has a great new video about the use of light throughout Akira, from the bright neon signs of Neo-Tokyo to the harsh spotlights of the Japanese Self Defense Force’s armed troopers, right down to the film’s climactic, cataclysmic explosion.

Aside from all the typical symbolism light can carry in movie making—from the hopeful revelation of something to its overwhelming blindness—Nerdwriter argues that because the act of traditional animation necessitates the deliberate addition of light to a scene by its creator, practically every overt use of light in Akira is given an added sense of dramatic weight and importance to the film. It’s an interesting take on something people rarely focus on, especially in a film as heavily analyzed time and time again like Akira.

[via A.V. Club]