Akira is considered an all-time classic in animation for many reasonsā€”but one rarely championed is the way it uses light in the movie to support Katsuhiro Otomoā€™s commentary on the grim future of Neo-Tokyo.

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 Forceā€™s armed troopers, right down to the filmā€™s climactic, cataclysmic explosion.

Aside from all the typical symbolism light can carry in movie makingā€”from the hopeful revelation of something to its overwhelming blindnessā€”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. Itā€™s an interesting take on something people rarely focus on, especially in a film as heavily analyzed time and time again like Akira.

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[via A.V. Club]