Why Jordan Peele Wanted Nope To Include That Awesome Akira Homage

Warning: Minor spoilers for "Nope" ahead. Read at your own risk.

Jordan Peele has never shied away from paying homage to some of his favorite horror movies, proudly wearing his influences on the sleeves of his work without ever feeling like he's just straight-up ripping off a classic scene for a cheap nostalgia pop. Peele's films are meticulously crafted, which makes them a joy for movie-lovers who delight in trying to find all of his Easter eggs

In Peele's latest film "Nope," star Keke Palmer rides a motorcycle across the desert before pulling off a bike slide that has since become synonymous with the animated masterpiece, "Akira." Given Peele's history of being previously attached to making a live-action adaptation of the anime and the iconic nature of "The Kaneda Slide," it seemed undeniable that Peele was directly referencing "Akira." Fortunately, our speculation was proven correct, as Peele went on record with Cinema Blend to confirm the reference.

"I mean, that movie meant so much to me," Peele said. "And yeah, there's a moment where we do the famous motorcycle, the Kaneda motorcycle slide." Not to pat ourselves on the back too hard because identifying The Kaneda Slide as a reference to "Akira" is like hearing someone say "We're going to need a bigger ___" and recognizing it as a reference to "Jaws," but it's validating to know that Peele fully embraced the "Akira" influence, and purposefully included it for reasons outside of it looking cool as hell. The Kaneda Slide has been recreated numerous times in animation, but Peele's live-action recreation is something worth celebrating.

Paying homage is a tough decision

Peele has been very open about his love of anime, so it's perfectly understandable that anime references would make their way into his work. "You know, anime in general was a big influence, but I think the choice to go after that real, hardcore homage was a tough one," he said. "Because you always can just not." 

It's been a big year for anime influenced American media, and "Nope" is a welcome addition to the party. "It felt so good, and it felt so — it's a moment that's been paid homage many times in animation, and I hadn't seen it done like this," Peele said. "And so to have, something about having a Black woman on a white motorcycle with, you know, having broken police tape do that 'Akira slide,' just felt like, "You know what Jordan? Go for it." 

 "Akira" is the dystopian story about what happens when a government allowed to act out in heinous ways is finally taken to task by those they've harmed was a revolution. It was released in 1988, and, unfortunately, is still relatable even today. The added layer Peele adds with Palmer on the white bike, sliding through police tape, feels like the evolutionary next step of what a story like "Akira" would look like in our own time. Peele has done it again, folks. We are truly witnessing the progression of a master.