|In an effort to improve the wiki, this character article is to be divided into seperate manga, and anime articles.|
Shotaro "Kaneda" 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.
Shotaro 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.
Shotaro 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 that consists of a red leather military jacket that has a large design of a capsule on the back. He wears biker jeans that are similar in color to the inside of his jacket and dark red biker boots. On his hands, he wears red motorcycle gloves. Under his jacket, he wears a pink short-sleeved polo.
Shotaro Kaneda is portrayed as the main symbol of defiance against the traditional forms of authority, particularly Colonel Shikishima, being very rebellious and anarchic. 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 several times. He also has an affinity to steal.
Beneath his tough and cocky exterior, Shotaro is brave, independent, and highly empathetic. He looks out for the safety and well-being of the members of his biker gang (most notably Tetsuo Shima) and becomes angry to the point of tears when he loses one of them. Shotaro values loyalty and becomes vengeful when trust is broken.
Like most of the characters in the story, Shotaro's early life is largely unknown. As a child, Shotaro 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 called The Capsules, of which Shotaro is the leader. During a chase with a rival gang, Tetsuo is severely wounded in a collision with Takashi, while Shotaro and the rest of the gang are arrested by Colonel Shikishima's men and taken in for questioning. While there, he meets Kei, a female resistance member whom he takes a liking to. He attempts to hit on her by following her around, which leads to him saving her life twice. When he discovers that Tetsuo has gone on a murderous rampage with his new-found psychic powers, he makes it his mission to personally end him, both because he feels responsible for him as his friend and in vengeance for Yamagata's murder. He finds Tetsuo and provokes him into a brawl, which continues until the Espers awaken Akira, whose appearance destroys Neo-Tokyo. Shotaro is dragged into the field of energy teleporting Tetsuo away, but the Espers rescue him at their own cost. He holds the final remains of Tetsuo's physical presence, a small glowing orb, in his hands and says his last goodbye to his friend before riding into the city's ruins with Kei and Kaisuke.
Shotaro's futuristic motorcycle has become an iconic feature of the series. As the group's leader, Shotaro is
entitled to have the most technologically and aesthetically advanced bike. It is a high-performance red racing bike of unspecified make and model - though a badge closely resembling the BMW logo is visible on its left-hand side in the movie. The bike also bears the logos of Canon Inc., the Citizen Watch Co., Shoei co. and Arai and the roundel for the U.S. Air Force. It has a reverse function, as well as a "ceramic double-rotor two-wheel disk drive." as said by Tetsuo at the beginning of the film[?].
- Shotaro is casually referred to as "Kaneda", his official family name, in both manga and film dialogue. Reasoning for this is unknown[?].
- Shotaro was named after the protagonist of Tetsujin 28-go Shotaro Kaneda, who shares his name exactly.
- Shotaro's full name in Japanese directly translates to "golden rice field justice[?] son".
- Besides Tetsuo, Shotaro is the only character with an official last name.
- A common headcanon states that Shotaro is the younger form of Osomatsu Matsuno, a character from Osomatsu-Kun. This has never been officially confirmed, however.