As they recover Takashi, the Neo-Tokyo government picks up Tetsuo for testing as well. The scans reveal how powerfully psychic Tetsuo is, and he confirms it by getting up and walking out of the facility without any of the security forces seeing him. When he’s recaptured, we see him beginning to realize the extent of his powers when he moves a glass across his meal tray.
A very similar scene played out almost a decade earlier in the great Russian filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky’s science fiction classic, “Stalker.” In it, a mysterious “Zone” with its own laws of physics has appeared in Russia. At its center is a Room that grants visitors’ wishes, so the titular tracker takes two men only known as Writer and Professor on an expedition to find it.
There are also mentions of the Zone causing mutations, much like the mutant children in “Akira.” Stalker’s daughter, nicknamed “Monkey,” is one of them, but at first, the mutation seems to extend only as far as her malformed legs. Stalker goes to the Zone trying and failing to find transcendence, which Tarkovsky visualizes with a trick borrowed from “The Wizard of Oz” where the normal world is sepia-toned, but the Zone is in color. Savvy viewers should know something’s up when they see the film stays in color after Stalker returns home. The last scene confirms the magic he’s been looking for has been at home all along, when Monkey, just like Tetsuo, manifests her telekinetic powers by moving glasses across the dinner table.