Clandestine army activities threaten the war torn city of Neo-Tokyo when a mysterious child with powerful psychic abilities escapes his prison and inadvertently draws a violent motorcycle gang into a heinous web of experimentation.
Since Amazon condenses the reviews of multiple formats into one pile, I hope this one stands out. It covers the new 25th Anniversary Blu-ray/DVD combo pack from Funimation, NOT Bandai'a 2009 Blu-ray or one of the many earlier DVD releases. I was able to get an advance copy from Funimation and also used it to write a separate full-length review of this title, listed below.
"Akira" still holds up perfectly well after 25 years. The film condenses a LOT of material into two hours; not surprising, since writer/director Katsuhiro Otomo's long-running manga series was still being written after its 1988 release. This epic, violent, mind-melting slice of animated history is chock full of terrific visuals, an amazing soundtrack and, of course, the sci-fi tinged story that introduced many to Kaneda, Tetsuo and company. Those new to the film will find it an exhausting experience, but don't give up: the eye candy will suck you in, but there's a real heart and soul to the story that has made countless fans worldwide return to "Akira" again and again. It's practically the grandfather of modern anime.
But that's not what most people want to know; they're probably just curious how this Blu-ray stacks up to previous releases (pretty well, as it turns out). Video quality is ever-so-slightly better than Bandai's 2009 Blu-ray: the image is no longer "picture-boxed" (thin black bars on all four sides) and the colors appear more well-defined and evenly saturated. It's the same 2001 master, so don't expect a night-and-day difference...but it's there. On the audio front, we get two excellent DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio versions of the original Japanese track and the 2001 Pioneer English dub, as well as a new DTS-HD 2.0 Master Audio version of the older 1998 Streamline English dub. The choice of both English dubs is a nice touch, as I'd imagine that many long-time fans (including myself) have a nostalgic connection to the older one. English subtitles are included for translation purposes only. No dubtitles!
The bonus features, by and large, are similar to Pioneer's 2001 Special Edition DVD...which itself borrowed plenty of extras from the company's older Laserdisc release. Two are missing, however: the excellent "Akira Production Report" (a vintage behind-the-scenes documentary) and a gallery of promotional images. Otherwise, it's pretty much business as usual, but die-hard fans might still want to hold on to those Special Edition DVDs.
So essentially, we get a slight visual upgrade, the addition of Streamline's 1988 English dub and many (but not all) of the vintage extras not included on Bandai's 2009 Blu-ray. Funimation's 25th Anniversary Edition is definitely worth a purchase if you don't own "Akira" on Blu-ray yet, but those that do might not want to bother.
For more details, please check out my full-length review at: [...]
I was one of the people that woke up early on the day Akira first arrived on DVD, only to be sorely disappointed that there was a new English dub upon getting home and putting it in my player. The old dub was a relic from my childhood, fading away on my VHS copy bootlegged from a Blockbuster rental. I even ended up buying a Laserdisc player to get Akira in the English dub I remembered...
So here it is, in all it's corny glory! Sounding better than ever! Plus I get to brush up on my Japanese with the original sound! There's also the new dub for people who can tolerate Kaneda being pronounced "Canada" and the crap new voice cast with no emotion (I feel nauseous just thinking about it. Screw you, English Vash!), if that's your thing...
Plus, all the extras are here! I love the score documentary :)
The PICTURE IS PHENOMENAL! You can see the layers of cels and amazing detail. It feels like the colorized Manga come to life!
If you're satisfied with your old copy of Akira, you will be sorely disillusioned once viewing this! Go to Blu-ray.com and view the hi-res pictures, or watch an HD trailer. You'll understand immediately.
Yes, this version has an option for original Japanese language with English subtitles, which is impossible to find for digital download. This CD is the only place I could find this version. The English dubbed voiceover is cartoonish and flat and really robs this film of it's austerity and maturity. I highly recommend watching it subtitled. Though, it is such a visually rich movie that it makes it difficult to really take in the art. I guess I'll just have to watch it several times ;) But, if you are looking at this move here, you probably already know what it is, have seen it, and know that it is a movie worth having in your collection.
Though it's a somewhat awkward compression of the manga, "Akira" works great on its own. The tale of two teenagers in Neo-Tokyo, it begins when biker Tetsuo is captured by government forces and separated from his childhood friend Kaneda. Strange powers awaken in Tetsuo... and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
The voice acting works well, the animation is superb, the characters likable, and the soundtrack is something new entirely. "Akira"'s action sequences shine, but even the quiet moments are worth pausing to see the meticulous detailing of Neo-Tokyo. Complete with vistas of space-age skyscrapers and all the futuristic cars and motorcycles you could ask for, "Akira" is an animated gem. But before you go showing it to your kids, know that it's rated "R" for a reason. This is a good movie. But it is not a kids' movie.