| Most anime series start with a manga and end with a movie. In some cases, the characters are changed between the three, and in the case of Shoujo Kakumei Utena, the changes are frequently radical. Akio is among the characters most changed between the three, and while this site really is for Akio as he appears in the show, here is an offering to his other incarnations.
| The manga and series are the same idea through different
minds. Instead of the series being inspired by a successful manga, both were produced simultaneously, with a lot of creative communication between Chiho Saito, the mind behind the manga, and Kunihiko Ikuhara, the mind behind the series.
Several of the characters are completely different, the
foremost of which would probably be Touga and Juri. Shiori and
Nanami are not in the manga, though Nanami is shown briefly
in a photograph. While Akio is a prominent character for most
of the series, he's only in a little more than half of the manga.
The latter half, as he is still the main villain.
The manga and series versions
of Akio are similar enough, but
differences worth pointing out.
In the manga, the parallels
drawn between Akio and Satan are reinforced when he, as well as the prince, sport wings in the final scenes.
First off, their backgrounds are different. Manga Akio's history is explained in greater
detail, and fleshes out a being different from what is perceived
by watching the show. Manga Akio was a God who split
at some point into two parts, Akio and Dios. Though they once
shared a body, the manga continuity depends on that
they are now separate entities (as seen to the right). Anthy loves Dios, as she did
in the show, but in the manga, she's portrayed as much less
malicious, and she's more of a victim character, so Akio operates
with Anthy as an unwilling partner. After Dios and Akio became
separate beings, Akio's goal was to destroy Dios, which
would grant him the power of the both of them combined, without having to share his body with his better half. Anthy shut Dios
away in the castle to protect him from Akio, so in the manga,
Akio's goal is to get to the castle and knock off Dios. Which
he does. Little does he know Dios then moves into Utena, who, by kissing Akio, unites him and Dios, causing the both of
them to vanish. Anthy is, in the end, convinced
Utena's still out there. This is shoujo manga. Kisses are magical.
Akio's seduction of Utena remains somewhat
intact. The ultimate goal of seducing her into doing his bidding
remains, as does his plan to manipulate her by bringing her into womanhood. Series Akio rescues Utena when she sprains her ankle
and when she falls off Touga's horse. Manga Akio burns down
a building so he can save her. (One wonders which came first in the creative process, Mikage's pyromania or manga Akio's.) The sprained ankle and the burned building are both Akio's fault, though in the series, he 'happens' to be in the right place at the right time, instead of elaborately staging a dangerous situation. Overall, the seduction is more openly romantic; in the series there's a heavy tone of sexuality and possession in his courtship of Utena that's lacking in the manga. However, in the manga Akio interacts with Utena via letters, long before
her entrance into Ohtori Academy. In fact, the early part of
the manga is set at Utena's aunt's home, outside Ohtori. I get
the feeling this isn't in the series because Ikuhara wanted to promote an alien, detached atmosphere that would
have been disturbed by prolonged exposure to the world outside
Ohtori. Also it would be impractical to wait so long before introducing the main cast. Ultimately, in the series he relies on the distance he places between Utena and her dreamy prince of the past. In the manga, he instead approaches her over the long term.
Manga doesn't lend itself to
the development of a character like Akio, who doesn't say what
and doesn't feel what he's feeling. The manga loses his malicious sense of humor and most of the raw sexuality that's so much a part of his character in the series. The length
of the series gives it considerably more time to develop the
cast, so Akio's not the only character less fleshed out in the manga. Saito's Akio feels stripped down,
so instead of a master manipulator (though he still
is one) Akio feels more like the stereotypical evil overlord.
He just seems to be the boss. Part of this is probably because Touga has already severed himself from Akio in the manga. In the series, much of what you learn about Akio's personality, especially his sense of humor and sexuality, you learn through his interaction with Touga. Also, these scenes show you the vise grip Akio has on the events that unfold around him. There's no compensatory device in the manga to flesh out Akio's character or his manipulations of the cast. Without that,
the whole story is less intentionally orchestrated,
as if Akio lets them do what they might and pokes his nose
in when it suits him.
The character design in the manga is virtually identical. The only difference of note is that in the early colored artwork, his hair and tie are black, and his shirt is white with green trim. It's not
a bad look, but he just doesn't seem as hot if he's not pulling off unholy color stunts. That said, he does change outfits a couple times in the manga. Honestly with disastrous results. Like plaid