"Akira," the Katsuhiro Otomo anime film that celebrates its 30th anniversary this year (next week, in fact) is so often cited as influential, it's almost a cliche. Type "Akira influence" into your search engine of choice and you'll be hit with article after article about how the film inspired "The Matrix," "Inception," "Stranger Things" and more.

Years before any of those films or series, "Akira" helped influence the course of one American's career — and inspired him to move halfway across the world. Shibuya-based illustrator David Roy, who was born in the southern U.S. state of Louisiana, took the rare step of moving to Japan in the early 1990s to get into the animation industry. It was a decision in which "Akira" played no small part.

"A friend of mine was really into comics, and he dragged me to some local comic book conventions. You know, at that time the only way you could ever see anime was at those conventions," explains Roy.