In 1988, the landmark Anime film AKIRA, by director Katsuhiro Otomo, defined the cutting edge of Anime around the world. By today's standards, Akira remains the pinnacle of cel animation and retains the explosive impact of its highly detailed animation and its intensely violent saga of power and corruption. Neo-Tokyo has risen from the ashes of World War III to become a dark and dangerous megalopolis infested with gangs and terrorists. The government seethes with corruption and only maintains a token control over the powerful military that prevents total chaos and hides the secrets of the past. Childhood friends Tetsuo and Kaneda plunge into Neo-Tokyo's darkest secret when their motorcycle gang encounters a military operation to retrieve an escaped experimental subject. Tetsuo, captured by the military, is subjected to experiments that make him a powerful psychic, but, unfortunately for Neo-Tokyo, Tetsuo's powers rage out of control and he lashes out at the world that has oppressed him! Nothing can stop the destructive forces that Tetsuo wields except possibly the last boy to destroy Tokyo. Insert: 1) Black BRC response card (regular version).
2) Todd McFarlane Toy Insert (limited to 300,000 total inserts) * Anime masterpiece first time ever on DVD for North American release! * Created and directed by Katsuhiro Otomo. Special Features: * Digitally re-mastered including High Definition film transfer, High Definition restoration. * THX Certified * New English dialogue, new 5.1 mix (on the English audio only), scene access and more. * Disc 2 contains supplementary materials including "Akira" Production Report, "Sound Clip," director's interview, trailers, production materials, Restoration of "Akria", and "Akria" glossary. * Widescreen format (1:78) and enhanced for widescreen TV's (anamorphic). Akria The Special Edition (DVD9, 2 discs)
Katsuhiro Otomo's Akira
is often described as the movie that created a mass audience for Japanese animation in America. Akira
looks better now in this remastered DVD than it did on its original release: dust, dirt, and scratches have been digitally removed and the color has been rebalanced. It also makes more sense in a new translation. The ending still leaves many questions unanswered (which is not unusual in anime), but the convoluted plot is easier to follow than it was in the initial English version. Pioneer has included numerous special features in this two-disc set, some more special than others. "Capsule mode" offers brief explanations of some details and translations of signs in Japanese during the feature. "The Akira Production Report," an old Japanese making-of film, comprises interviews with staff members who explain the basic animation process (the footage of artists inking and painting cels by hand looks almost comically dated). "Restoration" provides a behind-the-scenes look at the people who prepared the remastered version, but it's pretty superficial. "Production Materials" contains more than 4,500 still images: storyboards, early character designs, background art, etc. There's also an interview with Otomo and an assortment of trailers. This Akira
is the definitive version of a landmark film in the history of Japanese animation and anime fandom: it's a must-have not just for otaku
, but for anyone interested in the medium. --Charles Solomon