Amazing Live-Action Fan-Made Akira Trailer Helps Us Revisit Neo Tokyo

By Gabe Toro 2014-05-14 10:59:00discussion comments
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Let's reiterate: it's a bad idea to remake Akira as a live-action American movie. It's a horrible, horrible concept to place that dialogue, those themes and those action sequences in the hands of America. No offense America, but you don't get to have everything. It's not a good marriage. But a trailer, like the one above? Sure, fair game. Good job, The Akira Project.

Based in Canada, CineGround is the studio behind The Akira Project, which aimed to adapt several of the key visuals from Akira into a short trailer, a task that's been two years in the making. And hey, it looks cool: Akira DOES translate to live-action in its visuals, even if this is a much milder evocation of the original material. The project was partly crowd-funded, which is interesting because if someone said you'd have to pay to see an English-language Akira, why wouldn't you say no?

The kicky music from Deus Ex: Project Revoution probably sets the wrong mood for this material, as it presents a pretty hyper-cool Akira, when in fact the story is actually quite downbeat, upsetting and bizarre. The original Katsuhiro Otomo anime is based on his own manga and takes pretty extreme liberties already, condensing the story into a narrative where two young brothers are torn apart by one's newfound powers as a result of military testing gone awry. You don't need to know that Akira has left a strong fingerprint on pretty much every sci-fi film after, and you don't need to see a trailer for the original Akira again, but here it is for comparison's sake, where you can see a couple of shot-by-shot comparisons here. No subtitles here, just let the visuals watch over you.



Jaume Collet-Serra (Non Stop) persists in his interest in making Akira for Warner Bros., even though the idea is inherently Japanese, rooted in deep-seeded cultural concerns and anxieties in the wake of Hiroshima. The newer film was said to tackle these concerns by translating the action to Neo-Manhattan, possibly in the wake of 9/11. Which... guys, tragedies in big cities that kill thousands aren't interchangable. It's not like there are trading cards of human atrocities, and you can just trade your Hiroshima card for a September 11th lenticular hologram.

You want to believe Hollywood will come to their senses, as if Warner Bros. is being controlled by a higher power every time they put the kibosh on the planned American Akira. Hopefully, The Akira Project puts to rest anyone who thinks the anime and manga just aren't enough Akira.
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