There's a reason Akira is a classic. That reason being that it looked damn good for its time. While the film itself is sort of a strange, unfettered mess of ideas pseudo-logic, no one can deny the film's impact on animation standards which are felt even today.
One, likely intentional side effect of Akira's gorgeous flow, and painstaking detail is that when things go bat-shit crazy by the end every second of lunacy is rendered in stunning definition. The sort of animated resolution that we'll never be able to scrub from our eyes, ears, and memes. No matter how desperately we reach for our mental steel wool.
The big moment is one that's been parodied, referenced, and replicated to death and beyond. You might know it as the "Tetsuo!" scene, while your unfortunate offspring will correct you with cries of "Travis!" if Hollywood ever gets its way. The point in question is the transformation of the aforementioned Tetsuo from an average, unassuming techno-biker into an amalgamation of saturated fats and indistinct wiring.
What is it about anime and hulking, tremulous mounds of flesh anyway? On second thought, don't rebut that. We already know the answer (and probably have it squirreled away on our hard drives in folders marked "notes" and "vacation photos.") In any case, the end result of Tetsuo's evolution is less titillating, and more terrifying. Mostly.
It's also where the film drops its duffle full of cyberpunk, and picks up a suitcase full of nonsense. Tetsuo's latent psychic abilities become much less so, and he scurries off to an alternate universe to become anime Jesus. Though not before blowing the "Neo" out of Neo-Tokyo and leaving us all with so many unanswered questions.
Questions like "Will I ever be able to unsee what I just saw?" and "What's the average lifespan of a meme based on a movie from 1988?" Now, those are some questions we'd actually like answered. Though, like all elements from 80s culture, we already know the answers are "No," and "Forever," respectively.
For better or worse, Attack on Titan is a show about horrors. The horrors of war, the horrors of militarism, and sometimes just the horrors of a 60-foot, naked Joker cosplayer on bath salts.
How effective the series is at expressing this horror is up for interpretation. Not to mention the whims of its own, wildly swinging political powers. One early moment in the series' run, however, isn't so debatable. This being the moment that show lead Eren Yeager gets swallowed up by one of the aforementioned juggernauts.
In certain forms of fiction, this might have been an end to the Germanic gentleman's exploits. This being sh?nen, however, it's just the somewhat predictable beginning. A beginning that, erm, begins with a rather upsetting swim in an anus-less giant's digestive tract.
Just how that works isn't (entirely) important. What is, at least as far as this list is concerned, are the horrible sights and sounds both Eren and viewers are treated to within. Namely, the floating, dissolving corpses of the cadet's comrades. It's an entirely unpleasant sight, but it's made even more so when you realize not every moldering morsel is actually dead.
One victim, equally maimed and breathing as Eren, is caught calling out for her mom as she burns to death in a pit of bile.
All the way down, she complains about the digestive juices being so hot. Not that Eren takes much notice -- what with him being so preoccupied by a missing left arm, and the fact that he, too, is turning into soup.
The truly awful moment kick starts his transformation into, you guessed it, a titan. That is, the only thing the series could possibly bring to bear against the oncoming tide of too-tall terrors. It's here that Attack on Titan becomes so divisive for some, as the tone of the show shifts dramatically to match its hero's newfound power. But it all started with one, truly memorable moment of despair.