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Akira 35th Anniversary Box Set Hardcover – October 31, 2017
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About the Author
Katsuhiro Otomo is best known as the creator of the three-thousand page epic Akira. He also directed the groundbreaking animated feature film of the same name, as well as the acclaimed animated film, Steamboy. Most recently, he directed the live-action Japanese film, Mushishi.
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First, the box. The box cover/slip cover is well built and the graphics are crisp and the colors are deep. The cardboard is thick and sturdy. The lid opens on the top by splitting open down the middle (see pictures). The two parts to the opening (door?) have magnets in the cardboard so the two halves stay closed tight.
The novels are all hardcover. Six of them are the six volumes of the Akira story, and one of them is a hard-bound book called "Akira Club" that has loads of what could be called bonus material. It is filled with behind the scenes renderings and art from Katsuhiro Otomo. And the whole book has glossy color pages. The novels are all black and white pages, with the first several pages of each book in gloss color. The books are all sewn bound.
The content of the books is, of course, the reason you are buying this stunning collection. The story of Akira is a science-fiction adventure that is fast-paced and thoroughly illustrated. There are plenty of existential concepts for those who are looking for that sort of thing, but for the most part this story is straight forward. The plot is thick, be ready for two thousand pages of story development. Also, this edition has all of Katsuhiro's original hand-drawn sound effects, which is pretty cool to see in an English edition, and they add to the feel of the futuristic Tokyo scene.
Overall, incredible collection.
New translation, with the original untranslated hand-drawn onomatopoeia (sound effects).
The onomatopoeia is what excites me! There was some confusion during the wait for this collection as to whether the sound effects would be the re-drawn english translations or the original Japanese. I'm looking at them right now in my hands and they are Otomo's original Katakana and Hiragana characters, totally undisturbed. Outstanding!
I have two complaints, and they're really just minor quibbles.
1. The dust jackets are a flimsy paper material that wrinkled and warped slightly in transit. Not a major problem, but for a collection such as this, they could have been a nicer, cleaner, and more sturdy quality.
2. The afore mentioned onomatopoeia have no translations in the footnotes. Dark Horse Comics would sometimes preserve the original sound effects in Japanese, and then translate them in tiny text between panels, or in the margins. Kodansha has instead chosen to keep the pages as clean and similar to the originals as possible — only occasionally providing translations whenever important. I can appreciate this approach because Otomo's page layouts are so beautiful, it'd be a shame to cram notes in-between panels. Still, it'd be nice to know if a sound is KA-BOOM or SWISH or TAP TAP. So brush up on your basic Japanese Katakana and Hiragana!
The hardcovers are gorgeously printed with minimalistic 2 color designs. Each volume is a different color.
The dust jackets have the more familiar covers you'll recognize from the Dark Horse collection — but with variations in the type and information that give these a more 80s pulpy feel. Very reminiscent of the original releases.
Also included is the Akira Club book, which is great for those looking to complete their collections. Akira Club has the same minor problems with the dust jacket material though.
The collection case is very handsome and well constructed — if you're into that sort of thing.
One thing to note about the case though, the Akira books are half a centimeter shorter than the Akira Club book. So inside the case they don't line up exactly. My box included a cardboard spacer underneath the 6 Akira books to raise them up to the same height as the Akira Club book so they'd travel more snugly. Truly not a big deal, it's just kind of silly when you're looking at everything together in the box.
All in all though, I'm thrilled. This is an awesome collection, and a great way to celebrate 35 years.
Looking forward to reading it all again.
The biggest gaff has to be adding a sound effect glossary in back which translates all the sound effects. Did someone actually expect the reader to stop at every panel with a sound effect, then flip to the back of the book to read what the sound was, then go back and do it again and again hundreds of times in each book??? The obvious move is to drop the translation in the gutter by the sound effect so you can read it as you go.
Good news is the actual art in the books looks great with no printing issues. The printing is far superior to the dark horse books which was loaded with grey tones that end up being black obliterating the line drawing beneath the tones. These are basically HC versions of the original japanese books with all color art intact.
Akira needs to be printed in an absolute over sized format with some real good color work, not Oliff's oversaturated CG coloring from the epic series.