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Kanye West's favourite film of all time

Kanye West has found inspiration from some weird and wonderful places throughout his career, but there’s one film that has influenced his work to an unparalleled extent which Ye will always feel indebted to.

West’s love of anime is self-evident in the aesthetics of his work which has a colourful, larger-than-life aspect. The Chicago native always thinks outside of the box, and it’s through absorbing as much anime as he can that he gets these illuminating ideas.

While a catalogue of films from this genre have helped West mould his vision, none more so than 1988’s Akira. Kanye’s video for ‘Stronger’ overtly pays tribute to the classic Katsuhiro Otomo picture; however, that is not the only time that Ye has given a nod to the masterpiece.

In Akira, Tokyo has been destructed in the third world war and replaced with the lawless Neo-Tokyo. The dystopian film is set in 2019 and contains the same otherworldy futuristic feel, which is also inextricably linked with Kanye.

In 2018, West decided to pay tribute to Akira in a series of tweets and said, “This movie is my biggest creative inspiration.” He continued: “Every stage show I’ve ever worked on, Every video, not just Stronger, every product, even when I was in the hospital, I would think… oh shit this is like Akira.”

“This is not only the greatest animation achievement in history,” Ye added in a new post, “the subject matter is so relevant to the current state of the world.”

In fact, on another occasion, he also said, “No way Spirited Away is better than Akira… NOOO WAAAY… sorry was just looking at a youtube of top 10 anime films.”

After his series of comments, the crossover of Akira enthusiasts and West fans put his work under the microscope and try to distinguish where exactly he’s taken influence from Otomo’s masterpiece. Last summer, they sensed familiarity with the set-up for Ye’s listening event of Donda in Atlanta, where he seemingly paid homage to the lead character Shotaro Kaneda.

He donned an all-red outfit similar to Kaneda’s iconic look for the performance, and the sparse stage design also bared a strong resemblance to Neo-Tokyo.

Ye is a multi-dimensional artist who is more than just a musician. Akira has helped him dive into all these different areas by building a unique aesthetic that bleeds throughout the many facets of his work and makes him the captivating man he is. 

Watch the Akira inspired visuals for ‘Stronger’ below.