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This article contains plot details about the source material.
Shotaro Kaneda (金田正太郎 Kaneda Shōtarō) is the leader of the Bōsōzoku gang referred to as The Capsules and the main protagonist of the Akira manga and anime franchise. He is the childhood friend of Tetsuo Shima. In the film Kaneda is voiced by Mitsuo Iwata in Japanese, Cam Clarke in the 1989 Streamline English dub, and Johnny Yong Bosch in the 2001 Pioneer English dub.
Kaneda is a young Japanese male standing at near average height with short black hair and dark brown eyes. His most notable feature is his attire appearing in the film, a jacket with large design of a capsule on the back.
He wears a variety of clothing in the manga.
Kaneda is portrayed as the main symbol of defiance against the traditional forms of authority, particularly Colonel Shikishima, being very rebellious. His fellow bikers and classmates all describe him as being "egotistical," as he likes to show off in everything he does. He is known to act before thinking things through, which gets him into trouble.
Beneath his tough and cocky exterior, Kaneda is brave, energetic, independent, and innately empathetic . He looks out for the safety and well-being of the members of his biker gang (most notably Tetsuo Shima) and becomes vexed to the point of tears when he loses one of them. Kaneda values loyalty and becomes vengeful when trust is broken.
In the manga, Kaneda is often illustrated using his body to shield those he perceives as vulnerable, placing Akira behind him when confronted by armed guards. He again exhibits this body language while Kei is comatose.
Like most of the characters in the story, Kaneda's early life is largely unknown. As a child, Kaneda lived in the same orphanage as Tetsuo, whom he befriended shortly after his arrival there. In their teens, they become members of a bike gang, of which Kaneda is the leader.
- Main article: Shotaro Kaneda's Bike
- Kaneda's high-tech motorcycle is an iconic feature of the series. As the group's leader, he is entitled to have the most technologically and aesthetically-advanced bike.
- Kaneda was named after the protagonist of Tetsujin 28-go (Gigantor).
- Besides Tetsuo, Kaneda is the only character with a canon full name.
- In Saints Row 2, there is a motorcycle named Kaneda.