Advice From a Fanboy: Akira

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Advice From a Fanboy: Akira

If an Akira remake must happen, let's hope it goes this way.

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I think the reason that akira tends to get allot of love isnt because it was the first cartoon allot of people saw that was mature as much as it was one of the most visually striking and well animated cartoons around, I mean it makes some of the best disney movies look boring by contrast. Having a mature story and violence is just the icing on the cake.

Worgen:
I think the reason that akira tends to get allot of love isnt because it was the first cartoon allot of people saw that was mature as much as it was one of the most visually striking and well animated cartoons around, I mean it makes some of the best disney movies look boring by contrast. Having a mature story and violence is just the icing on the cake.

You can notch this up to being yet another reason not to do a "live-action" remake.

It's deemed a masterpiece mostly because of how spectacular it was animated. On a technical (hand drawn) level it has very few equals, and seeing as hand drawn animation is all but dead this is unlikely to ever change.

"All these characters talking about "some guy" as though he were Christ, Mohammed, The Buddha, etc"

Ofcourse, "Mohammed" is the single most common first name in the world. So yeah...

So, the real ticket to success is Batman and/or Harry Potter cameos. Got it.

How's the pitch for that go again?

Akira as directed by Robert Rodriguez or Zack Snyder might be awesome.

wait theres a manga? now i haaaaaaaaaaaave to go read it.

Im in for the not calling it Akira. That would be terrible.

Sergio Leone's A fistful of Dollars was a pretty damn good Remake of Akira Kurosawa's Yojimbo (which is one of my fav Toshiro Mifune stared Films :D)

its just better to adapt the plot to the setting than the other way around.

But to not have some kind of Motorcycle iconography is also sacrilege!

Today I find myself agreeing 100% with bob on this one.

I've heard and read some stupid comments on both sides of the argument about making this

(including the doozy, "they might find a way to tell the story better!" THEY WONT. Every problem the film has and to be fair it has a few, are down to trying to cram the plot of the manga into a film length adaptation)

But bobs called this one right, make a film about a mega psychic created by experimentation on the ethnic underclasses going on a rampage across la and threatening to sink california under the ocean. Stick plenty of social relevence and some dystopian imagery into the mix and we could get a good film in the way fistful of dollars is a good remake of yojimbo.

Just dont try the anime and were all good.

It certainly beats the suggested justin bieber starring death note remake to feature absolutley no shinigami. Or bleach, or any other anime more deeply rooted in asian culture than akira is.

Remember the shitty dragonball movie!

"an audience that doesn't exist" is right. All of these things plus a few more would have to happen to get a truly good remake of Akira (in itself not the greatest of anime movies, i thought Steamboy and Princess Mononoke were better). Setting aside the truly die hard fans who would want to see this out of morbid curiosity than anything, fans aren't gonna like or see this regardless of what you do. You could remake it line for line with actor who look almost exactly alike in a rich detailed world that is frame for frame perfect match you aren't gonna sell it to them because it isn't Akira (the anime) and have that parenthetical statement which is ironically more important that the title.

Also if you go for an R rating the White people aren't going to see it when there is minority violence in it scaring them away. and the black people aren't going to see it on the tissue thin but widely held belief that minority violence is either racist stereotyping or racist stereotyping and exploitative. And PG-13 rating isn't going to change that.

So takes bob's advice, repackage some Akira DVDs add a couple of bonus features like interviews with the director and some of the story/screenwriters and animators, some trailers for upcoming movies and sell it for 15 bucks and you'll make some money that way. Also make it blu-ray DVDs. Gotta have that Blu-ray.

I have the same problem with the famed "Ghost in the Shell" film by Mamoru Oshii. It was the first to give anime films real exposure, but on the whole it seems to really be missing the point of the original manga and seems to want to opt-in for having "depressed robots talk about life while our main character gets naked for the 8th time".

I'm a big fan of the series, with the original mangas, tv series, books, and recently released newer manga adaptations, but I outright dislike the films.

The manga was completed after the anime, so there's your canon 1 and canon 2. But to understand what Akira is, put it against the other production at the time: Otomo was a monster out of this world for the time.

As for todays, imagine it coming out nowadays squaring against Dancing with the Smurfs and Christmas At Pixar. Yeah. Parental control would label it M and boycott it, with reviews subtly pushing the idea it's too weird and alien compared to real merikan productions.

Great analysis, Bob. This might explain why of all the recent rash of alien invasion films and series, probably the only one I found compelling was Attack the Block.

Casual Shinji:
It's deemed a masterpiece mostly because of how spectacular it was animated. On a technical (hand drawn) level it has very few equals, and seeing as hand drawn animation is all but dead this is unlikely to ever change.

Ironically, it's noteworthy in Japan because Akira is one of the few anime to be done in the standard American fashion: they recorded the dialogue first and then rendered the animation. For most anime the animation is done first and the voice actors try to synch their lines to their characters' mouth flapping. It's the main reason the lip-synching (in Japanese, at least) and body language in Akira are so good compared to almost any other anime. Judging by Otomo's other work, he stuck with this method.

AngryMongoose:
"All these characters talking about "some guy" as though he were Christ, Mohammed, The Buddha, etc"

Ofcourse, "Mohammed" is the single most common first name in the world. So yeah...

It's not banal, though. Parents name their kid Mohammad because it has meaning and symbolism. Adam is a bad choice for the banality you're looking for. Banal is Joe or Bob. They're names with no real meaning behind them, and maybe they're shortenings of names that had meaning, but in chopping them up they've lost it. Mohammad isn't plain, it's spiritual. Adam, in the right crowds, is certainly spiritual. Joe? Pretty sure there were no prophets or important figures, religious or otherwise, called Joe. Even our Vice President manages to be plain and dopey with that name. :P (Sorry, Movie Bob. I'm pretty sure you've realized you had a banal pen name, though.)

I agree that a good adaptation could be made out of Akira.

I also agree that they probably won't make it. And whatever else might be said, it's a damn shame to watch material as strange and striking as Akira become another forgettable homogenized American CGI-tastic explode-a-thon that won't remain in audience's heads for a moment longer than it takes to mop the soda residue off the theater floor.

It really begs to not be made into a blockbuster. I'd love to see someone like Danny Boyle or a pre-Batman Nolan or an Aranofsky take a shot at the material, maybe backed by a SFX team like the one from District 9 or even YouTube fave Escape from City 17.

I should also note that while some themes of Akira certainly are universal- or at least recognizable- there are a few notes that would ring very foreign to a conventional U.S. moviegoer, not least "sometimes good people die for little real reason, @$%# happens" and "hey, maybe sometimes a little military dictatorship is what's necessary to get it done."

Fairly certain the concept of "won't-work-because-audience-hates/knows nothing of franchise" ultimately won't apply to this for the same depressing reasons Dragonball Evolution broke even or Transformers 3 is in the top 10 box office gross:

1)Unless advertising budgets balloons out control like Green Lantern, ANYTHING with enough violence and explosions will draw a crowd, no matter what the plot ends up being.

2)Hollywood seems to be outsourcing too, since foreign markets, particularly Asia, are the major cash-flows for things like these. I'm guessing the white-washing won't deter the people of Japan from at least being a little curious about what happened to their home franchise.

Bottom line: it's going to be successful, probably not a mega-hit like Transformers, but it'll most likely make a profit, no matter how much it probably won't deserve to.

Insightful, but let's face it. WB will break all of the guidelines you gave to them.

"There's got to be other stuff you'd rather spend your money on, right?"

Yes, like Tower Heist 2.

I've honestly never seen Akira. But I think Bob's last point is probably the most useful. Just don't do it. Anime doesn't translate very well into live action. It never has and it never will.

Edit: Okay, I just rented and watched Akira. I have to say, I'm not quite sure what I've just watched. It's either a work of absolute genius such as the world has never seen before, or the biggest hack to ever put a pen to paper. I'm honestly not sure which to call it. I'll have to give it a second watch to be sure.
But this does confirm one thing: it should stay animated.

Interesting points, Bob. I honestly doubt Warner Brothers will follow them, though... *SIGH*

Good points Bob, but I disagree with you on one key point.

You say that there is nothing fundamental to the story that couldn't be transplanted to another setting if done properly. I personally don't think so. For me, part of what makes the film so unique is that the story is entire focused on the idea of Japanese identity.

Look at the opening scene: gets wiped out in mere seconds by a huge explosion. That right there should remind you of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings. Those two bombing are events that, if you'll pardon the wording, are seared into the Japanese cultural psyche. Being the only country to have ever been nuked during a war, you can be damn sure it's an event that weighs heavy in their culture. Indeed, the crux of Akira's plot focuses on the government trying (and failing) to control a weapon so powerful it can level entire cities in an instant. The symbolism and imagery used in Akira is supposed to bring associations with nuclear weaponry, and Japan is arguably the only country in the world were this sort of thing would make sense.

Not only that, but Japanese society itself plays a key role in the story. Part of the conflict in the film comes from the divide between the strict, structured Japanese culture of the past, and the chaotic mess that the country has fallen into. The General himself is on a crusade to restore Japan back to its values and traditions. Looked at very simply, it's an obvious example of East vs West (in this case, liberalism against traditionalism), but there's more to it than that. Traditional Japanese society is far, far stricter than we are used to in the West, and based on a large number of customs, rituals and traditions. Akira is in many ways an examination of how all those rules, rituals and traditions lose their relevance and are cast aside when society has had to recover from a devastating attack. In short, Akira is a reflection (in many ways) of post-WWII Japan. The dystopian, lawless society presented in the film isn't just a simple Clockwork Orange pastiche, it's a representation of how the Japanese people were almost forced to challenge their own ideas and beliefs about Japan after so humbling and complete a defeat.

In short, it's a Japanese film about Japan. As such, you simply can't transplant the story to somewhere else and hope for it to have anywhere near the same effect.

Also, as has been mentioned above, Akira is one of the unquestioned landmarks of animation. Purely as a technical achievement, the film broke new ground, and still stands as one of the most impressive feats of animation ever. Such landmarks are best left alone.

i like the idea of not doing it, :D even better for getting it exists

Falseprophet:

Casual Shinji:
It's deemed a masterpiece mostly because of how spectacular it was animated. On a technical (hand drawn) level it has very few equals, and seeing as hand drawn animation is all but dead this is unlikely to ever change.

Ironically, it's noteworthy in Japan because Akira is one of the few anime to be done in the standard American fashion: they recorded the dialogue first and then rendered the animation. For most anime the animation is done first and the voice actors try to synch their lines to their characters' mouth flapping. It's the main reason the lip-synching (in Japanese, at least) and body language in Akira are so good compared to almost any other anime. Judging by Otomo's other work, he stuck with this method.

I still don't understand why Japanese animation studios operate like that. If it's that much more expensive or time consuming I can understand why TV series don't work like this, but most feature films do the animation before voice recording, too.

However, eventhough Akira is definately Otomo's baby, I think the animation director Koji Morimoto doesn't nearly get enough credit for his work on the film. When you compare the movie and the comic you can tell that the movie has way more oddity to it, like the weird delusional nightmare sequences. And if you've ever seen other work by Morimoto such as the music video to Ken Ishii's Extra, it's not too hard to imagine he was the driving force behind Akira's twisted moments.

I agree completely. Take that 100 million dollars and buy 10 million people dinner.

Kwil:

You mistake...


Funnily, back in school, the guy sitting next to me was a Japanese and called Akira.

Edit:

Akira, Battle Angel Alita and Ghost in the Shell as liveaction-films in development hell... That is very funny. :)

If I had a spare $100 million I'd be tempted to troll the internet too ;)

Kurt Cristal:
I have the same problem with the famed "Ghost in the Shell" film by Mamoru Oshii. It was the first to give anime films real exposure, but on the whole it seems to really be missing the point of the original manga and seems to want to opt-in for having "depressed robots talk about life while our main character gets naked for the 8th time".

I'm a big fan of the series, with the original mangas, tv series, books, and recently released newer manga adaptations, but I outright dislike the films.

I was thinking of Ghost in the Shell too when I read the beginning of this article. It had good animation, but overall the movie was awkward and it was clearly trying to fit too big a world into too short a film. I could have forgiven this if it was created as a pilot, but it wasn't.

I don't have much experience with manga or anime, but Nausicaa strikes me as a good lesson in translating from one to the other. While the movie lacks the eventual scope and depth of the manga it's still a complete package. Granted the manga was in its infancy at the time, so it rather forced the situation, but I'd wish studios would take a close look at what happened with some thoughts on repeating it.

I actually don't mind the idea of calling the film "Akira". If you made the replacements for Tetsuo and Kaneda minority youths in a possibly mixed-race gang (and don't call them "Tetsuo" and "Kaneda" - I agree with Bob there), then having Akira named "Akira" wouldn't be a big deal.

In fact, if you did this right, you could go for an interesting visual look. The future America is going to be even more multi-racial than it is right now, so you could create a new film aesthetic the same way it was done with Blade Runner.

j-e-f-f-e-r-s:
Good points Bob, but I disagree with you on one key point.

You say that there is nothing fundamental to the story that couldn't be transplanted to another setting if done properly. I personally don't think so. For me, part of what makes the film so unique is that the story is entire focused on the idea of Japanese identity.

Look at the opening scene: gets wiped out in mere seconds by a huge explosion. That right there should remind you of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings. Those two bombing are events that, if you'll pardon the wording, are seared into the Japanese cultural psyche. Being the only country to have ever been nuked during a war, you can be damn sure it's an event that weighs heavy in their culture. Indeed, the crux of Akira's plot focuses on the government trying (and failing) to control a weapon so powerful it can level entire cities in an instant. The symbolism and imagery used in Akira is supposed to bring associations with nuclear weaponry, and Japan is arguably the only country in the world were this sort of thing would make sense.

Not only that, but Japanese society itself plays a key role in the story. Part of the conflict in the film comes from the divide between the strict, structured Japanese culture of the past, and the chaotic mess that the country has fallen into. The General himself is on a crusade to restore Japan back to its values and traditions. Looked at very simply, it's an obvious example of East vs West (in this case, liberalism against traditionalism), but there's more to it than that. Traditional Japanese society is far, far stricter than we are used to in the West, and based on a large number of customs, rituals and traditions. Akira is in many ways an examination of how all those rules, rituals and traditions lose their relevance and are cast aside when society has had to recover from a devastating attack. In short, Akira is a reflection (in many ways) of post-WWII Japan. The dystopian, lawless society presented in the film isn't just a simple Clockwork Orange pastiche, it's a representation of how the Japanese people were almost forced to challenge their own ideas and beliefs about Japan after so humbling and complete a defeat.

In short, it's a Japanese film about Japan. As such, you simply can't transplant the story to somewhere else and hope for it to have anywhere near the same effect.

Also, as has been mentioned above, Akira is one of the unquestioned landmarks of animation. Purely as a technical achievement, the film broke new ground, and still stands as one of the most impressive feats of animation ever. Such landmarks are best left alone.

This pretty much covers what I was thinking.

The movie is still a good movie if you don't think about this but if you leave this in the back of your mind when watching the movie it becomes a masterpiece. Otherwise it is basically just a good action flick.

The first time I watched the movie I liked it but did not see that much special with it. When I went back and watched it after learning a little more about anime in general and Akira specifically it became the aforementioned masterpiece (to me at least your experience may vary). Also the manga helps too.

Kwil:
How's the pitch for that go again?

"Adam" would actually not be the best friend of anyone. "Adam" would be the kid that they dissected in order to learn more about the ... whatever the hell we are going to call the "espers" in this version... I got it! How about "Daaaa Bears".

So "Adam" is the first of "Daaaa Bears" which starts this whole project off.

Meh. I never felt Akira was so great as to warrant uncharacteristic mercy from the Hollywood milking machine. Go nuts, I say. Hollywood already knows it will never be as good as the nostalgic fans think they remember the first one being.

Hmm, I'd actually watch an Akira remake if it was made to be about disenfranchised black kids in a filthy US neighborhood. Well done, Bob.

The reason there aren't many black sci-fi characters is that moviemakers think black people don't like sci-fi, and also think white people don't like watching anyone who isn't white in their movies (durr durr durr). I remember reading an interview with Neil Gaiman about whether a film verson of Anansi Boys (a fantasy novel with an almost entirely black cast) was coming out, and he mention that every time he had been approached by a producer they mentioned something to the tune of 'oh and we'll make the characters white because black people don't like fantasy' and then they get surprised when Gaiman doesn't want to sell them the rights to the book any more.

Instead of remaking the entire movie, they should just make a 15 minute live-action version of the body-horror transformation and giant fetus mutant. That's all that people want to see anyways.

huh. and until today I thought "Akira" was a class of starships from star trek's TNG era.

A quick trip to memory-alpha later and I've learned the ship is named after the show.

learn something new every day...

They should just ignore it entirely. It'd be destined for mediocrity

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