Akira, the series protagonist, is a participant in a fighting tournament called "Bl@ster," until he is framed for murder and imprisoned. A woman named Emma offers him the only alternative to a life spent in captivity - join a higher-stakes fighting competition, and defeat the man at the top. Akira leaves for the city of Toshima, where the Igura competition is held, and is harassed by some thugs using a drug that gives them super powers. He's saved by a man dressed in black, who brutally murders the attackers with his sword, before the man threatens Akira as well.
The first episode begins with a red, raining sky and a monologue by Nano about the dystopian state of affairs: the nation claims a “collective identity,” but the individual citizens suffer great personal loss, and crime and sin have reached a historic high. Images of the city of Toshima with red, blood-like rain appear, before the focus moves to Nano, who is standing atop a tall tower. He explains, “The Third Division brought about ruin… and destruction.” On the ground, Shiki looks up in Nano’s direction.
Nano leaps from the building, and continues: “The evil engendered by the destruction was divided into two different colors.” Nano appears to be falling hopelessly as he says the only place in Japan not dyed in either “color” is Toshima, and closes his eyes. When Nano opens his eyes again, they’re a bright purple, and he wonders what color Toshima will take in the end. He leaves the suitcase on the ground, surrounded by red splatters.
The next scene introduces Bl@ster as Akira punches a man in the face, and his friends, Dee and Ace, cheer, “Get ‘em, Lost! You’ll definitely set a new record, ya know!” The crowd gathered around is also cheering, and Keisuke is among them. Akira takes out his opponent with punches and kicks. When the man goes down, Akira's hand is lifted as Akira (as “Lost”) is announced as the winner.
Dee and Ace congratulate Akira about how well he’s been doing in Bl@ster and ask why he’s not more excited. Akira says it’s not a big deal to him and brushes off their invitation to go drinking.
As Akira walks away, he meets Keisuke, who also tries to congratulate him and ask why he’s not going to celebrate. Akira explains he wants to rest, and Keisuke understands that Akira is worn out from the match. Keisuke asks if he can come by to Akira’s place later with something to eat: “Aren’t those solids you always eat getting tasteless?” Akira says that would be fine and bids Keisuke farewell.
It is sunset when Akira reaches his small apartment. He tosses his jacket over the edge of his bed and lies down. He raises his hand and flexes his fingers several times before rolling onto his side and closing his eyes.
Elsewhere, shadows against a wall show a man getting beaten to death by two men. His face is briefly shown as he falls.
In his dark apartment, Akira wakes suddenly and stands before his door. A man breaks in and charges at Akira. Akira fights off the first assailant, but multiple men overwhelm him and hold him down. A man with glasses steps forward and explains: “We’re cops. Follow our orders.” Akira asks what they want with him. The man calls Akira’s eyes arrogant before he shows Akira a picture, and Akira denies knowing the man in the photo. The cop explains that the man was murdered, and Akira is the prime suspect.
Keisuke arrives a while later, and after knocking on Akira’s door, he lets himself in. The apartment is empty but for a mess of footprints. Keisuke’s face looks worried as he sees Akira’s jacket still hanging at the foot of the bed.
The police “interrogation” involves punching Akira and demanding he confess. At a nearby desk, the cop with the glasses goes over Akira’s history as a runaway. He explains Akira’s position: “You have no alibi, you’re skilled, you’re strong, and you were near the scene of the crime.” Akira says he isn’t the killer, and the cop who punched him grabs Akira’s shirt and yells at him not to lie. Akira glares at him, infuriating the man. He screams, “You damned mad, rabid dog!” and punches Akira so hard that his chair topples over. Akira is taken to a cell, and when he falls, the guards kick and mock him. Grinding his boot into Akira’s face, one guard says he’ll be serving out his sentence even if he dies.
In his cell, Akira thinks about the false charges and his bleak situation. He punches a wall before curling up to sleep. The small eye window in the door to his cell opens and a man orders Akira to get up, because he has a visitor. Akira is brought into a visiting room with glass between him and two people.
He asks who she is, but a woman in red tells him they’ll get to the chase: his charges are not going to be lifted. She introduces herself as Emma, and her companion as Gwen, but who they are is unimportant. Emma emphasizes that Akira faces a brutal life imprisonment for murder, but says Akira can escape the punishment if he obeys their conditions: go to Toshima, participate in Igura, and kill the king, Il Re, to disband the drug ring Vischio. She lays out tags for Akira to use. Akira says he doesn’t really have a choice but to participate. Emma smiles, stands, and calls this the end of their negotiations. Emma warns him not to try to double-cross her before she leaves to arrange Akira’s release.
An armored car delivers Akira back to his apartment. Outside Akira’s door waits Keisuke, who holds Akira’s jacket and the bag of food he brought. Keisuke rushes forward to greet him, but the men in suits accompanying Akira ask him to refrain from unnecessary contact. Keisuke tries to stand up to the men, and Akira holds him back with an arm. Akira points out how this might be his last time here, so he should be allowed to say goodbye. The men say they have ten minutes, and demand they talk outside.
Akira smirks and replies: “What if there’s something that I want to do that I can’t do here?” Keisuke exclaims in shock, and the men tell them to go. Akira puts an arm around him as he leads Keisuke into the apartment. Inside, Akira puts on his jacket as Keisuke reacts to the news, saying, “Isn’t it just like telling you to go die?!” He admits he can’t stop Akira from going, but he doesn’t like this situation. Akira zips his jacket and grabs his knife as he tells Keisuke that he’s made up his mind, this has nothing to do with Keisuke, and that Akira will be fine. Keisuke agrees that Akira is strong.
The two guards tell them it’s time for Akira to go. Keisuke calls out to Akira, who casually waves goodbye without looking back. Keisuke sits down on the bed and rests his face in one hand as he sheds a tear.
Inside the armored car heading out of the city, one of the men gives Akira a bag, saying it has everything he’ll need. They bring him to a large chain-link fence, and say that if he goes straight, he’ll be in Toshima. They watch as Akira jumps over the fence before they leave.
Akira walks through the fallen buildings and ruins of Toshima. The moon rises into the night, and Akira discards the bag after retrieving the tags inside. He pockets all but one, and puts the chain on. Akira wanders around, checking over his shoulder and looking around the empty city. Akira finds some broken ampoules of Line and picks one up. A voice asks if he’s looking for something, and Akira sees that two men have appeared. They circle Akira, calling him unfamiliar, and demand his tags a knifepoint. Akira fights them off, but more men appear. One man takes a hit of Line, and the veins in his face bulge as he threatens to kill Akira. The addict kicks Akira to the ground, and one of the first men to attack takes a hit as well. They hear footsteps, and turn to see a dark figure coming out of the shadows.
The wind blows Shiki’s coat as he stops some feet away from the group. A man asks what Shiki thinks he’s doing, but Shiki draws his katana without a word. They can barely react before Shiki slices into the men. Attention is drawn to his red eyes as he looks at those still standing. He cuts down the Line user who tries to attack him with a knife and calls him “trash.” The last of the thugs tries begging for his life and offering up his tags, but Shiki gazes at him coldly before killing him, too.
Only Akira remains standing. Shiki lifts Akira’s chin with the tip of his katana and asks: “Do you want to die, too?” Akira replies: “Don’t screw with me!” Shiki’s eye narrows a fraction as he observes Akira’s throat swallow, and he decides out loud that he’d like to see Akira beg for his life. Their faces are reflected in each other’s eyes as they stare at each other. At last, Shiki removes his blade and smirks as he calls Akira’s eyes intriguing. He tells Akira that trash always grovels on the roadside before he turns and walks away.
Akira looks at the massacre and collapses. Rain begins to fall, and he heaves a little as he stares at the corpses and thinks, “So this is Toshima…”