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This article contains plot details about the source material.
Tetsuo Shima (島鉄雄 Shima Tetsuo) was a member of a teenage biker gang and the deuteragonist of Akira. After a near-collision with Takashi and being experimented by the Japanese military government, he rapidly develops powerful, psychic abilities. Tetsuo goes on a violent search of methods to improve and better control his new powers.
One of the youngest members of a motorcycle gang led by his best friend Shotaro Kaneda, he initially has problems with being seen as little more than an inexperienced "junior" member. He is enthusiastic about motorbiking, but can't seem to 'catch up' to his friends much of the time. He is perceived both by himself and others, somewhat, as weak and introverted, though this is not necessarily a correct assessment of his character. His misdirected views and intentions and his stubborn nature and naivete about the consequences of his actions lead to conflict.
When he was injured and later incarcerated by experimentation of the government, he begins to take on a corrupt and arrogant attitude. Throughout the story, he reflects more openly on feeling bossed around by others and exhibits an inferiority complex even after gaining destructive powers. He enjoys driving motorcycles, however after receiving powers, he doesn't care about motorcycles anymore.
Tetsuo is a young man of below-average height with a slight, top-muscular build and no bangs. He has slight darker skin and a large forehead. Psychic powers alter his appearance; his short, slightly textured black hair grows, shortens, and becomes white. After losing his right arm at the end of the second volume, he creates a bionic arm to replace it for much of the story. Later he recovers his lost arm.
(Only the first volume. Needs to be shortened, other volumes added)
After riding their motorcycles along the highway towards the old city, Tetsuo, along with Kaneda and their biker crew stumbled upon the area where the cause of the destruction took place. After it was decided to race back to Harukiya, Tetsuo took the initiative to get ahead of the group. Going at a very fast speed, Tetsuo was surprised when he suddenly saw Takashi within his path. Almost coming into a near-collision with the boy, Tetsuo's bike exploded, leaving him unconscious when he was taken by an ambulance shortly after. He appeared at school a day later, being greeted by his friends because of his return.
Ignoring his initial appointment to the hospital, Tetsuo decides to join everyone as they ride their motorcycles through the city, causing the police to chase after them. Attempting to lose the police by splitting up, Tetsuo escaped unknowingly into a rival biker gang's territory where he was ganged up on until Kaneda, with the rest of the Capsules, came to save him. Tetsuo, growing furious, began to assault one of the bikers who beat on him, with the intention to kill. He was stopped by Kaneda, prompting him to express his feelings towards being ordered around by him. The day after at school, Tetsuo was called to meet with Colonel Shikishima where he was explaining his intentions of visiting the hospital until, much to his surprise, Kaneda appeared and began running from the agents accompanying the Colonel.
He was later seen being examined to determine his potential to awaken "the ability". After being placed in a room, he began to gain a headache while revealing his powers. Because his headache was becoming unbearable, he escaped outside, killing a doctor who attempted to stop him. While walking outside, he encountered the same biker he initially tried to beat to death. He defends against the biker's attack using his power, mentioning his head was hurting, before using his power to kill him. Tetsuo, still suffering from his head pain, requests that the rest of the clown gang supply him with the "drug", becoming their new leader.
After becoming The Clowns' leader, Tetsuo sent them after other gangs to buy, con, and steal their drugs. The other gangs team up to defeat them, led by The Clowns' rival gang, the Capsules. A mistake in their plan leads to Yamagata being cornered with Tetsuo, so Kaneda intervenes. He hesitates to shoot, so Yamagata tries but is killed. Kaneda then shoots Tetsuo, who retreats, but is pursued. Kaneda drops the pill he got from Masaru in shock when the Colonel arrives. Tetsuo consumes it and, shockingly, survives. He eventually agrees to go with the Colonel to his facility where he was once again examined and becomes Member No. 41 of the project in the eyes of the military.
In the facility he is subjected to corresponding experiments and becomes victim of an attempted murder by Kei, who is in control of the psychic trio, which failed. He later finds out about Akira and the psychic trio. Then he faces the psychic trio and recognizes Takashi as the one who caused his motorbike accident. After that the psychic trio try to kill him again, which fails again. During that fight he finds out where Akira is and intends to find him. His actions make sure he is reawakened. During an attack by the military, who tried to prevent it he loses an arm and everyone believes he died. However, he survived and replaced his lost arm with a mechanical one he created.
After that he meets Akira, who has destroyed Tokyo in a painful reaction, and takes him away. Later he rules over the ruins of Tokyo in Akira's name, with the help of an aide and his men. He calls his rule The Great Tokyo Empire. During this time he shows a corrupt side and, in time he begins to change in appearance, His power increases even more, replaces his mechanical arm with a better one and finally even regenerates his biological arm. He is also capable of flying to the moon and return. He also becomes the boyfriend of Kaori, who he casually meets at that time and shows a good side, when she is neaby.
In time, he also fights against Kaneda again. During the fight he also has to fight the US military who try to assassinate him and defeats them. Finally, he witnesses Kaori's death, which leaves him devastated. Shortly after that Tetsuo completely loses control of his powers while Akira, under the influence of the psychic trio, uses his powers again when it happens. It causes Tetsuo to go with him. He makes peace with Kaneda while doing that.
Powers and AbilitiesEdit
Tetsuo's latent psychic talent first starts to awaken when he crashes into Takashi. As a result of the government's experimentation, the development of his powers is artificially sped up. His body also became stronger as a result, developing superhuman healing abilities, endurance, and temperature resistance amplified by his psychic powers.
Tetsuo uses telekinesis (on objects and himself), teleportation, mind reading, and force fields that allow him to survive in space. After his arm is blasted off by SOL, he uses technopathy to form a prosthetic. Eventually, he learns to manipulate and block light. When fighting Kei, he produces a powerful blast of psionic energy, but this is unrefined and splits off in multiple directions.
Later when the power takes over his body, its capabilities far exceed Tetsuo's individual limitations. At this level of power, displayed in Tetsuo and Akira, they could create a big bang in an alternate universe.
- In the English release of the manga, Tetsuo's prosthetic arm appears to be on his left side due to mirroring. It is originally on his right, and is so in the anime.
- In Saints Row 2 there is a motorcycle vehicle named Tetsuo as reference to him.
- Tetsuo's appearance changes throughout the series.