Kaneda is the one of the main characters from Katsuhiro Otomo's Akira. In this story of power, Kaneda seems to be the least likely person to have to face such awesome and terrifying power as that which is possessed by his closest friend, Tetsuo. However, in the face of these conflicts raging around him, Kaneda is amazingly intelligent and resourceful even when he is in grave danger. Though not totally beyond him, Kaneda's control of his own fear and doubt seem to be his biggest advantage over the world he is faced with.
Kaneda's evolution as a character closely mirrors that of Tetsuo's evolution of power. For every step down that Tetsuo makes in his descent into utter lack of control of himself, Kaneda seems to become more and more focused without ever losing the charm or wit he began with. Unlike Tetsuo's evolution, Kaneda never lose himself to the changes around him or in himself; he is refined as the story progresses and his actions become more and more meaningful.
Kaneda's story,which Akira for the most part is, is a love story, a story about friendship, a story about loyalty, and a story about honor. Kaneda struggles with a love for Kay and only towards the end of the story does he show this love for her through his own confrontations with what he knows is incredible odds against him. In my opinion, Kaneda's love, or care, of Kay is not the driving motive behind his anger with Tetsuo and most of the minor characters at the beginning of the series, but becomes almost completely dominate in his actions and reactions towards those other characters. Kaneda's passion as an individual gives him power to face and witness the awesome physical and spiritual powers around him.
Kaneda struggles also to stop or curb the power of Tetsuo. In many ways, especially towards the end, this seems totally drawn from both a total anger and a total passion for his former friend. Tetsuo was Kaneda's closest friend, and throughout the story, his friendship holds his hand against the forces which consume Tetsuo. The story seems to keep a main theme of the struggle between his loyalty to his friend and to his fear of the power. Kaneda's strength is the balance and the control he has at the pivotal moments to keep both at bay.
In my opinion, Kaneda is perhaps one of the best developed characters of any comic book series. The power and emotion, which Kaneda shows, makes the character truthful while also seeming to give him life on the page. The greatness of Akira is held together by the development of two superb characters, Kaneda and Tetsuo. Both of these characters show the awesome talent of Otomo to bring both bring to life a vivid story and to do so in the medium of the comic book.