There are 400 million Americans, a nation of consumers, desperate to find comfort from the disarray and terror of their world by spending money in ours ... Using your subject [Tetsuo] as a threat would clearly implicate us. And no one likes to be the bad guy ... but using his power simply presents another unsolved act of terrorism. Then we come in ... Heroes, breathing life into devastation once again.
Did you catch that? That subtle-as-a-shark-conducting-neurosurgery reference to 9/11? I speculated last week that making a movie all about 9/11 would be the cheapest way to steal meaning from another culture and make it relatable to ours. And sure enough, they're doing just that: Akira is now housed beneath the "memorial bunker" commemorating the initial destruction of the city. It's described as a blank expanse of concrete with two "massive blue spot lights beam[ing] into the heavens. Millions of names etched along the walls."
The only way they could be more overt would be to pencil in a new friend for Tetsuo named Ground Zero, whose only line of dialogue is "Never Forget!" screamed over a sound loop of eagles screeching. I'm only slightly exaggerating. In the intro to the movie, right as Akira is destroying the city for the first time, a grieving mother looks down at her children, Kaneda and Tetsuo, and one of the final lines out of her mouth, as the actual disaster is happening around them, is: