Whenever the topic of the greatest animated film of all time is discussed, Akira is always in the mix for the top spot. Coming from Japan in 1988, Akira tells the story of Kaneda and Tetsuo, two best friends who are members of a youth biker gang in a dystopian version of Tokyo. When Tetsuo displays supernatural abilities, he is abducted by the government, forcing Kaneda to join forces with a resistance movement to free him.
Despite being nearly four decades old, Akirathe animation is phenomenal and still stands up favorably against the best in the medium today. It is one of the most influential anime films of all time, and this is best exemplified by the countless references to it in all forms of media. The moment where Kaneda skids and stops his bike, known as the “Akira slide”, remains the film’s most iconic scene and has been recreated dozens of times in live-action, animation and video games.
‘Batman: The Animated Series’ (1992 – 1995)
Available for streaming on HBO Max.
The best adaptation of The Dark Knight, Batman: The Animated Series helped popularize elements of the character and his rogues gallery. With the legendary voices of Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamillthe series depicts a darker version of the iconic superhero as he fights to rid his city of crime.
The episode “Robin’s Reckoning” is considered one of the best in the Batman series, and earned the show an Emmy Award. As Batman and Robin discover the whereabouts of the man who killed Robin’s family, The Boy Wonder engages in crime-fighting aboard his motorcycle, resulting in a quality “Akira slide.”
‘Pokémon’ (1997 – )
Pokémon is the most recognizable anime series of all time; its iconic characters are familiar to those who have never seen an episode. Beyond just being a never-ending TV show, the franchise has crossed over into every medium imaginable, including a mega-popular video game empire.
In the show’s Diamond and Pearl era, Ash and friends encounter a particularly bad officer Jenny in the episode “Stealing the Conversation!” After an encounter with Team Rocket leaves Pikachu as the one blasting through the air, Jenny gets on her motorcycle, flips in the air, catches Pikachu and does the iconic slide without missing a beat.
“Star Wars: The Clone Wars” (2003 – 2005)
Available for streaming on Disney+.
While the prequel trilogy was busy disappointing Star Wars fans in the early 2000s Clone Wars picked up the slack by being the best Star Wars content on TV. Producing bite-sized episodes, the show is set in between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith and follows the Jedi as they battle the Sith armies.
Starring the majority of the prequel trilogy’s characters, episode four of the first season features Obi-Wan Kenobi as he leads a clone army in raiding an enemy base. As the conflict ensues, Obi-Wan comes running in on a speeder bike and uses an “Akira slide” while swinging his lightsaber, which of course earns style points.
“Carmen Sandiego” (2019–2021)
Available for streaming on Netflix.
The international criminal who taught children everywhere about the world around them, Carmen Sandiego is a nostalgic icon. The fourth TV show made for the popular character, Netflix takes Carmen center stage, serving as both an origin story and a showcase for her Robin Hood-like activities.
“The Need for Speed Caper” is the sixth episode of season two and sees Carmen and friends in Dubai as they attempt to steal a supercar. Being as tough as she is, Carmen is a pro on a motorcycle and after nearly colliding with her teammates, she pulls off a flashy “Akira slide” to the delight of older viewers.
‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine’ (2009)
Available for streaming on Starz.
One of the weakest entries in the X men saga because of its treatment of certain characters (viz Deadpool), X-Men Origins: Wolverine serves as an origin story for everyone’s favorite clawed killer (sorry Freddy). From his childhood, the film depicts the events that led to Logan (Hugh Jackman) to join the X-Men.
On the run from those who want to enslave him, Logan commands a motorcycle as Agent Zero (Daniel Henney) pursues him in a helicopter. Origin: Wolverine has a twist on the classic slide, as Logan uses his indestructible claws to stop the motorcycle’s speed, adding a nice touch unique to the character.
“You’re Under Arrest” (1996 – 2008)
An anime series centered around two motorcycle-riding female police officers, it would be more surprising if You are under arrest did not contain an “Akira slide”. As Natsumi and Miyuki patrol the streets of Japan every day on their bikes, each episode showcases the interactions they share with the colorful cast they cross paths with.
One of these characters is Daimaru Nakajima, the father of one of their colleagues. The owner of a motorcycle shop and a former champion rider, the elderly man has lost none of his driving ability as he pulls off a perfect “Akira slide” in episode 17, the first in an anime since the original Akira.
‘Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children’ (2005)
A sequel to the legendary video game, Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children is a CGI film that catches up with the game’s heroes two years after that story’s end. When a new evil emerges and begins abducting children, Cloud Strife, Tifa Lockhart and their friends must step in to save the day once again.
Final Fantasy has never been a stranger to over-the-top action and Advent children contains many ridiculous yet entertaining sequences. Cloud and the villain Kadaj are seen fighting while riding their bikes on a highway, and of course the villain spins the bike around in the air using the famous slide.
“Adventure Time” (2010–2018)
Available for streaming on Hulu and HBO Max.
One of the breakout shows of the 2010s, Adventure Time quickly became loved by young and old viewers. The show tells the story of Finn the human and Jake the dog, and follows the wannabe heroes and adventurers in each episode as they embark on a new mission and meet a large cast full of colorful and memorable characters.
One of the most popular characters on the show is Marceline, a rock musician who also happens to be a thousand-year-old vampire. When the episode “Go With Me” sees Marceline and Finn hanging out with a pack of wolves, a wild Marceline unleashes her inner Kaneda as she performs the slide on all fours, making it a rare occasion where the move is performed without a bike.
“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” (2003 – 2010)
Available for streaming on Paramount+.
While most fans agree that the 1980s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is one of the greatest Saturday morning cartoons of all time, the 2000s version remains a worthy follow-up. While the four pizza-loving brothers live in the sewers with their master Splinter, they emerge to fight criminals and the minions of the evil Shredder.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles actually pays tribute to the “Akira slide” twice, both times performed by Raphael. In the intro that plays during each episode, the turtle can be seen performing the move, while the feisty fighter whips out the trick again in the fourth episode “Meet Casey Jones”.
Available for streaming on Peacock.
Perhaps the most high-profile use of the move, Jordan Peele creates an audience-friendly moment through its incorporation of the slide. When siblings OJ (Daniel Kaluuya) and Em (Keke Palmer) inherit their father’s farm after his death, they soon notice a UFO-like object in the sky and try to capture it on film for profit and fame.
What begins as a simple UFO sighting turns into something far more sinister as the creature targets the siblings and their neighbors for consumption. During the hectic finale of noEm controls a motorcycle and leads the alien into a trap, finally performing the slide, so that Akira fan Peele to pay tribute to the legendary film.
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