On the suggestion of a couple of new friends, I purchased Akira and watched it with my children. While "groundbreaking" in 1988, going back to experience something which has already been established doesn't seem to be met with the same awe.
Initially, they found the stylization very un-anime (more like a regular cartoon they said) but during the movie, discussed elements they were aware of in other anime they've seen in a sort of real-time comparative analysis. As they have watched far more than I have, I listened intently to which ideas presented in this movie had been applied to later series they were familiar with.
That said, while both kids disliked the 95-minute movie, they've been talking about it for two days. Which can be, I suppose, a point of controversial films.