Villain Spotlight: Tetsuo

Neo Tokyo is buzzing. The lights and sounds of the city hide the truth of the past, and the possible rubble of a collapsed future on the horizon. Gangs run rampant throughout the city, and a cataclysmic event is still being felt, even though it happened so long ago. Neo Tokyo stands as a testament to what people can achieve and recover from after everything is taken away or destroyed. Massive buildings dot the skyline, and give the view of stability and tranquility. It is amazingly beautiful, and gives hope to a new and prosperous future. It’s almost euphoric just looking at them. It’s a shame we are going to have to tear it all down.

Welcome back everyone to another installment of the internet’s #1 ,#2, and #9 most famous column, the Villain Spotlight! With you as always, I am Arthur Harkness, and today I bring to you another one of my favorite villains. Hailing from Neo Tokyo and coming from the amazingly epic manga/anime Akira, we shine the light on Tetsuo; the psychic, murderous, insane asshole who is blessed with powers well beyond anything you or I could comprehend. I mean we probably could, but it’s just so much power, that I have a feeling most of us wouldn’t know what to do with it. Which plays heavily into the narrative of this gorgeous story. I cannot even begin to tell you how often my buddy Greg” Mr. Lovely” Rossettini and I have been told not to scream “KANNNEEEDDDDAAAAA!!!” and “TETTTSSSSUUUUOOOOOO!!!” at each other while working at a now defunct video store. Such was our love for this story. Promises had been made that we both still intend to keep, and we will be getting Kaneda and Tetsuo tattoos before we die. Bank on it.


The most amazing thing about this Villain, is that he never asked for it, but when he got it, he went running all the way to goddamn crazy town with it. Tetsuo was just a regular punk kid, and was running around with his buddy Kaneda in their gang called the Capsules, and got into a scuffle with a rival gang called the Clowns. In a moment of sheer confusion, Tetsuo crashed into an Esper, released from a government facility, and he is injured somewhat badly. The military shows up, grabs Tetsuo and the Esper, and place them in a hospital. Kaneda is interrogated, and he becomes the protagonist of the story, as Tetsuo is slowly , yet dangerously realizing he has psychic powers that rival anything we have ever seen in mediums such as this. We also learn that Akira, who was also an Esper, caused the destruction of Tokyo years ago, and we have our reason for the captures and interrogations. Espers are not something to be fucked with, and we learn that very quickly. Another of the Espers, Kiyoko, has visions that show Tetsuo completely wiping out Neo Tokyo, and the colonel in charge of the whole operation gives orders to kill Tetsuo if he is shown to be acting up in any way. Now imagine that…You wake up in a strange hospital, people guarding you for no reason you can see, and your head is killing you. It is literally the worst headache you have ever had, and you want it gone immediately. Now what is a scared kid with budding psychic powers to do? If you guess create a giant demonic teddy bear and get scared shitless, then you would be absolutely correct. This scene is so odd and unsettling that it stays with you for so long after it’s over. It makes you almost sympathize with Tetsuo because he really is just a scared kid who has no idea what’s going on. The thing is though, he eventually does realize what’s going on, and that doesn’t seem to deter him.


Tetsuo at this point has become literally the most powerful being on the entire planet. I’m talking like Dark Phoenix levels of power. Raw, emotional and unforgiving. Multiple people are sent to stop him , but he escapes and eludes them around every corner. Eventually, he learns that Akira’s body is being held in cryo storage, so naturally, he says fuck you to everyone, and goes searching for him. This leads him to destroy almost the entire city while heading to the stadium where Akira is being held. He goes in and locates Akira, but is distraught because all that is left of him are vials and jars of fluid, as his body had been experimented on for years after the original catastrophe. The colonel arrives in time to shoot Tetsuo with an experimental laser weapon, which takes off his arm. Tetsuo, now in massive pain by his powers and the loss of his arm, shoots the gun into the atmosphere, but brings it back after dematerializing it, and makes another arm for himself. You might want to reread that real quick…..he vaporizes a gun….and uses the materials to make a new arm that said gun shot off…..mother of fuck that is so hardcore that it’s not even funny…it’s amazing. The colonel at this points begins to beg and plead for Tetsuo to return to the hospital so they can help him control his powers and help rid him of the migraines, but Tetsuo finally and completely loses his shit, and grows into a humongous mass of flesh and hate. The sudden surge in power causes him to completely and entirely crush his girlfriend to death, and near consumes Kaneda. Ladies and gentlemen, he has become Paris Hilton. GWAR did well when they tried to end her.

tetsuo gif

In light of this event, the Espers unite along with Akira, who has actually transcended the need for a physical body, and together they rescue Kaneda from inside of Tetsuo. That sounds a lot dirtier than it really is….perverts. The Espers are then able to finally calm down Tetsuo, and take him away….just a little too late as he has essentially destroyed most of Neo Tokyo, but at least it wasn’t all of it! Right? Right? Whatever. Tetsuo is put away, and Kaneda is able to go back to doing whatever he was doing before the events took place. Mainly hanging out with his girlfriend, who apparently now is acquiring psychic powers of her own. Might wanna get a handle on that one there, guy. All in all, I will have to remark simply on the fact that even though Tetsuo didn’t start out as a villain, he definitely became one after he realized what was happening to him. I know it’s rather difficult and traumatizing to learn and deal with what he was gifted/cursed with, but he took it in a very evil and destructive fashion. And I must say, I love him for it. Like I mentioned before, the sheer raw power, emotion and batshit craziness really messed with him, and he just couldn’t handle it. With some help though, everyone can learn to master the things they cannot grasp or perceive properly. I highly recommend you all taking a look at this film/manga, and just stare at the TV in appreciation of what you are witnessing. Now if you will excuse me, my lungs are filled with the need to scream. TETSUUUUUUUOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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About Arthur Harkness

I like things, and things like me back

Posted on July 19, 2013, in Features, Geekology, Movies, Villain Spotlight and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. I prefer the Manga of Akira, because A. it’s just better and B. the last 15 minutes of the movie just kinda ruin it for me. I also feel like we didn’t get enough of Tetsuo’s super powered rampage that the whole movie was leading up to, and it immediately went into the techno organic shenanigans.

    But uh, I think you’ve got a pretty decent handle on it.

  2. Arira is still one of my all time favorite anime movies and Manga books. Tetsuo is a classic example of a villain origin, frustrated, little respect from peers and anger issues. Add in a catastrophic event and BAM, you get a villain.

    • right? my thinking was along those lines as well. he doesn’t start off as a villain, but as these horrible things happen to him, he has no choice but to succumb to it. its so brutal and awesome at the same time haha

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