In the film, not so much a boy as an entity. The government had him destroyed for not having the technology or undestanding to monitor his condition, but kept his remains buried in an underground vault. Believed to have caused the explosion on Tokyo which started World War III, his psychic potential is the highest monitored by scientists. His 'essence' lives on through the other espers who were at the same lab and they vaguely communicate via telepathy. Kiyoko describes him (telepathically through Kay) as energy thought to be the ultimate form of human evolution, too dangerous for modern man to possess. In the past, the government tried to harness that power, they failed and the destruction of Tokyo was inevitable. In the manga Akira is a living child, who still holds great power. He is worshipped by the people who live under his Great Tokyo Empire with Tetsuo as Prime Minister. He is cared for by Kaori who acts like his sister, as ordered by Tetsuo who wishes to harness his power.
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