It’s very hard to underestimate the global impact of Katsuhiro Otomo’s film adaptation of his own, epic manga Akira. It broke box office records when it opened in Japan, and along with Ghibli Oscar winner Spirited Away it is probably the anime film most western ‘non-fans’ have seen. For many of my generation it is a much treasured and personally important film and, without resorting to hyperbole, one that the first viewing of was a life-changing experience, akin to watching Star Wars, 2001 or Blade Runner for the first time.
It looks like Bandai have put a lot of time in and money into the imminent Akira Blu-ray, hopefully putting to rest the fears of fans worldwide that it might be yet another quick transfer. According to Blu-ray.com, although the film had a full restoration for it’s 2001 DVD release, no punches have been pulled for it’s 20th anniversary, with the focus being moved onto remastering the score and soundtrack:
(Note: This is the second part of a review of Freedom. The first part can be read here.)
Some of the coolest things I picked up in Tokyo were a trio of Katsuhiro Otomo art books – although sadly they weren’t for me, intended instead for my favourite Otomo-san obsessive Al T. Shame, as I would have liked to have spent some quality time with these beauties. Luckily though, I was able to grab a few shots before I let him get his grubby paws all over them.
To the uninitiated, the Japanese anime industry and the culture that surrounds it can seem perplexing at times, to say the least. In the west, when a film or TV show is released directly to video or DVD, its usually a sign of inferior quality or very limited market appeal. Or, in other words, it’s too shit to be shown at the cinema. Plus usually we’re talking about the sort of unoriginal, opportunist, unnecessary sequels that Disney were famous for churning out a few years ago. Jungle Book Two, anyone? God help us.