In the year 2019, Neo Tokyo was turning into a ghetto crawling with gangs and protests. The Government of Japan had trouble combating this because the main thing on their mind is cleaning up after the mess that had just happened, world war 3.
When main character Tetsuo gets into an accident by hitting a child mysteriously far away from the city, he is taken to a hospital.
While in a bar, Kaneda (Tetsuo's Close Friend) finds Kei who was also looking for the mysterious child. Kei is a protester so she has lots pf information about faults in the Government. Kei and Kaneda sneak into a facility to find the child.
Tetsuo soon finds that he is gaining telekinetic abilities. Government officials decide he is too dangerous and try to detain him, but he escapes.
Tetsuo attempts to find Akira, who was also experimented on by the Japanese Government. When he is unable to find Akira he goes into a fit of rage with his powers. In a massive battle involving all the main characters Tetsuo is shot and looses his arm.
After Tetsuo looses his arm he retreats to an Olympic Stadium where the Mysterious child from before appears. Akira appears in a ghost like form and causes an even bigger explosion than before. Amidst the city ruins Kaneda and his gang now joined by Kei ride into an unknown future.