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Aki
Character from the James Bond franchise
Akiko wakabayashi.jpg
Affiliation Tiger Tanaka
Portrayed by Akiko Wakabayashi

Aki, played by Akiko Wakabayashi, is a fictional character in the 1967 James Bond film You Only Live Twice. She was a member of the Japanese secret service during the 1960s and participated highly in the events in You Only Live Twice. She was alive from sometime in the 1940s until she was killed while taking part in a mission in 1967.

Contents

Personality and appearance

In You Only Live Twice Aki is portrayed as being a gorgeous, intelligent and capable young Japanese woman in her early to mid twenties who works for the Japanese secret service. She is depicted as being a warm, friendly person who displays an affinity for wearing traditional Japanese garments and is bilingual in Japanese and English. Despite her seemingly genteel manner, however, Aki can be professional when she needs to be and maintained a high standard of phyical fitness. Aki also showed immense courage, risking death several times during the mission and maintains a feeling of loyalty towards others in her missions, particularly James Bond with whom she spent several passionate nights.

Background

Like all the other operatives, Aki is an accomplished ninja and is an expert driver who often uses her skills at driving her trademark white sports car to escape from trouble. By the time of the events of You Only Live Twice Aki is already experienced enough to fulfil her mission correctly and is one of the top agents in the Japanese secret service, displayed by the fact that she was entrusted to participate in what was to be her most important and ultimately her last mission. Aside from this, not much is known about her background before the mission, or about her family or personal life.

In You Only Live Twice

Aki is first seen when 007 meets her at a sumo wrestling show. Bond is there to meet a contact who will take him to Mr. Henderson, M's recommended contact in Japan. He confirms that Aki is his contact by saying the code words "I love you" to her. Aki takes Bond to meet Henderson in her Toyota 2000GT. After Henderson is killed during their meeting, Bond attacks and kills one of Henderson's killers. Taking the man's place, he is driven to the Osato Chemical Works HQ, where he is discovered by the villains. Aki rescues him, then takes him to meet Tiger Tanaka. It is after this that Aki invites Bond to spend the night with her "I think I will enjoy very much serving under you" and Bond carries her to bed, were they have sex for the first time.

The next morning, Bond returns to the Osato Chemical Works and meets Mr. Osato. Leaving after the meeting, he is pursued by gunmen, from whom Aki rescues him again. The gunmen chase Aki's car and she leads them out into the countryside, where a Japanese Secret Service helicopter lifts their car off the road with a giant magnet and drops it into the sea. She then takes him to a quayside to investigate a ship he suspects is being used by the villains. When investigating the ship Bond and Aki are attacked by SPECTRE henchmen so in order to get Aki to safety Bond tells her to leave and report to Tanaka, which she does after initially saying that she will not leave him even though she would most likely have been killed if she had stayed.

Aki next appears when, after Bond is captured and almost killed by Helga Brandt, she meets with him back at Tanaka's Headquarters, when Bond is about to go on another mission, however this was one that Aki could not accompany him on. By the time Bond returned to the base in Kyoto, Aki was already fully briefed on the plan to disrupt SPECTREs plot and she too would be part of Tanaka's ninja force although (much to her disappointment) she could not play the part of Bonds "wife" in the cover operation. Unbeknownst to anyone however is the fact that assassins have been sent to kill Bond, instead however this would lead to Aki's untimely demise.

Death

One night after training at the ninja academy an assassin stealthily enters where Bond and Aki are sleeping after having had sex and lowers a thin cord to Bond's mouth, dripping poison down this. At the last moment, Bond turns in his sleep and Aki moves to his position and the poison falls on Aki's lips, causing a desperate struggle for breath in which her agonized gasping wakes Bond up, causing him to notice and then kill the assassin. It is to late for Aki however, who dies after desperately trying to speak while fighting to breath. Ultimately what she intended her last words to be are never known as all she could say in between pained gasping was "I’m... I’m... I..." before she succumbs to the poison and dies. The poison appeared to have been extremely deadly as Aki died in less than a minute of consuming it, despite her struggling. Up until this point Aki had survived all the dangerous situations she was in and so was eventually killed purely by chance during an attempt by SPECTRE to kill Bond.

Aki meets Bond at sumo arena

Aftermath of death

Following the death of Aki Bond then has a strong reason to seek vengeance on SPECTRE and its leader Blofeld who most likely did not know or care about Aki or the fact that he indirectly killed her. Aki never lived to see the island and so could not have had the opportunity to use her skills in the final battle against SPECTRE and so is replaced by Kissy Suzuki who is less experienced and able than Aki. This would most likely be a surprise to the audience because up to this point Aki appeared to be the main bond girl in You Only Live Twice and so her death as it came so suddenly would have been a serious twist in the plot. Another factor in this is that Aki's death is for Bond and Tanaka a sobering reminder of the deadliness of SPECTRE because up until that point the three seemed to have banded together as a team, which continues with only Bond and Tanaka. Aki is also the only main character on Bonds side to die during the film. Aki is among the more pro-active female characters from the 1960s Bond films, and her character has some similarities to that of Tracy Bond, who Bond would marry for real in the series' next film On Her Majesty's Secret Service. Both are depicted as intelligent women who can take care of themselves, both save Bond from the villains during the course of the story, and both are excellent drivers, taking the wheel during the films' respective main car chases. Bond's reaction to Aki's death is also stronger than similar characters such as Jill Masterson.









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