(Source of plot summary: http://myanimelist.net)
Akira is a classic old-school anime dating back to the late 1980s (1988 to be specific). This is one of those films that pretty much every die-hard anime fanatic has seen at least once in their life. The tone and theme set by Akira speak to rebellion against conformity, the value of human life, and the toll of war on society.
The plot of this film was quite good as a whole. There were a number of elements present within the story (as are outlined to some degree in the plot summary above). I found myself having to watch this film a few times before I would wrap my head around all of the different elements that were addressed. Personally this was something that made the film more enjoyable for me. It is always refreshing when you can watch an anime repeatedly and find aspects of the story that help to make it feel new again.
Being that Akira was released in the late 1980s, much of the music is very dark and heavy. There is plenty of rock and metal throughout the film as is common for many of the anime released during this time period. The picture does have that aged-graininess to it, again a product of the time period, however, this ageing in the picture I found helps to reinforce the darker tone that the film sets. There are no goofy character designs or comical relief present in Akira, so be prepared for a more intense 2 hour viewing compared to much of the anime on the market today. The artwork itself is not quite as dark as we have seen in some of the newer works such as Shin Getter Robo, where characters almost appear as demonic. Much of what the character artwork equates to is what you would see in a series such as Devil Man.
Overall, I would highly recommend Akira to any anime fan who hasn't already seen it. Even for those who have, its worth checking out again if its been a while since your last viewing. While this may not be the most appropriate film for younger audiences, I doubt that it will scar for life any younger anime fans if they happen to get their hands on a copy (given mcuh of the themes and content that are regularly aired on public television today).