Tetsuo Shima (島鉄雄 Shima Tetsuo) was a member of a teenage biker gang and was the main antagonist of the 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 rampage in 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, weak and introverted. Kaneda is his lifelong best friend. He is perceived both by himself and others, somewhat, as a runt, though this is not necessarily a correct assessment of his character. His misdirected views and intentions constantly lead to conflict with all the other characters and he is stubborn and naive about the consequences of his actions. He is enthusiastic about motorbiking, but can't seem to 'catch up' to his friends much of the time.

Throughout the story, he reflects more openly on feeling bossed around by others, and begins exhibiting an inferiority complex. It is only when he is injured and later incarcerated by the government that he is left helpless and on his own, and begins to take on a corrupt and arrogant attitude, absorbed in his new powers as a result.


Tetsuo is a young man of below-average height with a slight, muscular build. Compared to other characters he has a slight darker skin and a oversized head. Throughout the story, he goes through drastic changes, that vary as a result of his power. He initially has short, black hair which later grows as the story progresses, before it is once again cut short. His hair later becomes white because of his uncontrollable power. After losing his left arm (right arm in the movie), he created a bionic arm to replace it, until he later regained it (this occurred in the manga only).

Initially, his attire mainly consisted of biker clothing. Much later in the story, he wears a white t-shirt, pants, and slippers. He also wore a red cape with which he would hide his bionic arm.

His outfit in the movie is relatively similar, but with some minor differences, such as his boots and the positioning of his cape.

Powers and AbilitiesEdit

As a result of experimentation, Tetsuo developed telekinesis, later he learned to create force fields, which allow him to levitate and survive in space. He has such refined use of his powers that he can block light and even bend it. When fighting Kei, he displays the ability to produce powerful blast of psionic energy, this is a very unrefined ability that splits of into in multiple directions, he also gains the ability of technopathy.

A side effect of the experiments is heightened healing abilities, he also has increased durability, resistance heat and cold, which can be amplified with his physic powers, tetsuo also has superhuman endurance. After getting his arm blasted off by the SOL satellite, he gains a robotic arm which increases his strength.

Later he lost control of his powers and transforms, this ability boosts his powers to an unknown extent that vastly dwarfs his previous limit, it also allows him ability to fuse with technology. While in this form Tetsuo and Akira could create a big bang in an alternate universe.


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 gaining leadership over The Clowns, Tetsuo soon took action, going after other gangs in order to purchase more drugs, his actions would cause the bikers to form an alliance to take him down. After an attempt to corner him had failed, Tetsuo was once again confronted by Kaneda. Because of Kaneda's hesitation to shoot his friend, Yamagata was killed by Tetsuo right infront of him. Tetsuo gets shot by Kaneda, much to his surprise, prompting him to keep him away. After getting ahold of the drug Kaneda had in his possession, Tetsuo consumed the drug and layed paralyzed for a few moments before he suddenly stood up, surprising everyone. He was later taken by the Colonel to his facility where he was once again examined and learned of Akira.


  • Lupe Fiasco named one of his albums Tetsuo & Youth, with the name being inspired by Tetsuo Shima from the "Akira" franchise.