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"Oh, flames of purity, raze this corrupt city!"
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Shotaro Kaneda (金田 正太郎, Kaneda Shōtarō) is the main protagonist of the Akira film. He is the leader of The Capsules. He was also a friend of Tetsuo.


Kaneda stands at near average height with short black hair and dark brown eyes. His most notable feature is his attire in the film: a jacket with large design of a capsule on the back, a pair of red pants and boots, and a pale yellow t-shirt. In several scenes, he swaps this out for a pink polo shirt, a pair of off-white pants, and white sneakers.


Kaneda is portrayed as the main symbol of defiance against traditional forms of authority, particularly Colonel Shikishima. He is known to act before thinking things through, which gets him into trouble.

Beneath his tough and cocky exterior, Kaneda is brave 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.



Young Kaneda, as seen in one of the flashback sequences in the film.

Like most of the characters in the story, Kaneda's early life is largely not shown in the film. However, behind-the-scenes materials describe his childhood. His parents owned a laundry business, and he had a brother four years younger than him, who was born with a disability and frequently visited treatment centers. The stress of this seems to have gradually caused the family to fall apart- their father collapsed from fatigue, Kaneda had to change elementary schools due to his brother changing treatment centers, and then his mother ran off. From ages eight to nine, the family lives off of government assistance, and eventually, due to his father's turn to alcoholism and being deemed unfit to care for the children, Kaneda is sent to an orphanage, separated from his little brother who stays at a hospital.

Kaneda had been living at the orphanage for half a year when Tetsuo arrived there, whom he quickly befriended by retrieving Tetsuo's toy which had been stolen by bullies. The two of them spent about a year and a half together there, before Kaneda turned eleven and graduated, forced to go to a boarding middle school and leave Tetsuo behind. Middle school is where Kaneda began showing signs of a defiant attitude, and while his grades were above average, he was a fully-fledged delinquent by thirteen. At fourteen, he got in trouble with the law and was expelled, getting sent to Eighth District Youth Vocational Training School.

At the Vocational School, Kaneda met Yamagata, and eventually formed a motorcycle team the next year. Not long after, Tetsuo and Kai transferred to the school and joined as well.

During a fight with The Clown Gang, Tetsuo becomes victim of a motorbike accident caused by the sudden appearance of Takashi crossing the Old Tokyo road. After that, Kaneda and the rest of his gang are arrested by government forces who interrogate them because of the events.

Kaneda’s Bike[]

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. It is implied that he stole it in the film, given that he encourages Tetsuo to do the same when he finds him marveling over it.


  • The name Shōtarō means "right, proper" (正) (shō), "thick, big, great" (太) (ta) and "son" (郎) ().
  • Shōtarō's surname Kaneda means "gold/metal, money/cash, currency" (金) (kane) and "field, rice paddy" (田) (ta/da).


  • Kaneda was named after Shotaro Kaneda, the protagonist of Tetsujin 28-go (Gigantor).
  • In Saints Row 2, there is a motorcycle named Kaneda.
  • in Ghostrunner, Kaneda's red bike is featured as an Easter egg.
  • Even though it is seen throughout the whole movie, Kaneda's bike is only seen in Volume 1 and at the end of Volume 6 of the original manga.
  • In the Famicom playthrough of Akira, Kaneda shows up as deceased or arrested in the bad endings.