Akira is a 1988 theatrical anime film based on the manga written by Katsuhiro Otomo. It was adapted by studio TMS Entertainment (previously known as Tokyo Movie Shinsha), director/writer Katsuhiro Otomo, and writer Izo Hashimoto. The film was theatrically released in July 1988 for Japan.
Brief Unboxing Redux Note:
I first received this particular version of Akira in December 2016 as a Christmas present. Akira is also one of the first anime that I had ever properly watched over the years. This was unboxed over on my Normanic Vault blog via Blogger. This post is a remaster of that unboxing with better photos, updated information and any added extras. Enjoy!
“Katsuhiro Otomo’s landmark cyberpunk classic obliterated the boundaries of Japanese animation and forced the world to look into the future. Akira’s arrival shattered traditional thinking, creating space for movies like The Matrix to be dreamed into brutal reality. Neo-Tokyo, 2019. The city is being rebuilt post World War III when two high school drop outs, Kaneda and Tetsuo stumble across a secret government project to develop a new weapon – telekinetic humans. After Tetsuo is captured by the military and experimented on, he gains psychic abilities and learns about the existence of the project’s most powerful subject, Akira. Dangerous and destructive, Kaneda must take it upon himself to stop both Tetsuo and Akira before things get out of control and the city is destroyed once again.”Plot Synopsis via Manga Entertainment, November 2016.
There is honestly nothing new that can be said here when it comes to Akira. It was the anime that pretty much got people interested in the first place and helped inspire many people including filmmakers and artists. Akira and Ghost in the Shell were the two science fiction themed anime films that got the most attention between them and the others like Evangelion, Ninja Scroll, Perfect Blue and Urotsukidoji during the 90s. And it was thanks to the support of Manga Entertainment who helped make it happen for the United Kingdom and Ireland.
Akira is also a unique case for being an anime adaptation of a source material that holds up very well back in the day. In addition, it was directed by the same person who wrote the manga in the first place which is also pretty neat. Since then nobody had bothered to try and remake the film, except for Hollywood because they ran out of ideas. Though that being said, a new anime project to adapt the manga version of the story was recently greenlit back at Anime Expo 2019.
Manga Entertainment distributed Akira for the United Kingdom and Ireland, while Pioneer and Streamline Pictures distributed the film for the United States and Canada for theatrical, DVD and VHS. Unlike Perfect Blue, Manga Entertainment was able to keep hold of Akira for the UK & Ireland and re-release it over the years. They actually released the film on Blu-ray back in 2011 using the Bandai Entertainment author, however, that release suffered from English dubtitles so the Japanese audio viewing was pretty pointless unless you knew the language itself.
With the film approaching the 4K Ultra HD market in Japan and eventually the rest of the world in the future one day, I decided to revisit the 2016 re-release of Akira which both Manga Entertainment and Funimation (who rescued the rights from Bandai Entertainment) put out.
Collector’s Edition Contents:
Manga Entertainment have celebrated Akira numerous times over the decades, and this 2016 collector’s edition release is actually a celebration of the distributor’s 25th anniversary as well as the film’s 28th anniversary.
The collector’s edition for this release is a different take to their previous outings. We have a slipcover that can allow viewers to look at the rigid box’s artwork and inside that rigid box comes with an amaray case containing the film’s discs as well as a fold-out poster and art cards. There is also a digital copy version for iTunes.
The collector’s edition’s slipcover contains the information and BBFC logos so the rigid box is clean including the spine so you will need the slipcover to view the name of the film for the shelf. The SRP was £29.99 while the unit count was never revealed, it is probably about 3000-5000 units.
The Blu-ray was eventually given a regular edition over time.
- Rigid Box with Amaray case packaging and clean artwork
- Slipcover for specs, BBFC logo and main title of the film on spine
- Folded Poster
- 4 Art Cards
- Paper sheet with Digital download code for iTunes
Distributor: Manga Entertainment
Released: 28th November 2016
The 2016 collector’s edition release for Akira is presented as a Blu-ray and DVD combo with one disc each. The Blu-ray uses the Funimation author, which includes the 1988 Streamline English dub as well as the more-commonly known 2001 Pioneer English dub alongside the Japanese audio with English subtitles. The DVD uses a previous author done by Manga Entertainment, with audio options available for the film including Japanese with English subtitles and the 2001 Pioneer English dub.
The Blu-ray disc amends the dubtitles issue that had affected the Bandai Entertainment Blu-ray release. The white subtitles are unlockable during playback, and the regions are locked to B for Blu-ray and 2 for DVD in PAL format.
|Audio||English (1988) Dolby TrueHD 2.0|
English (2001) Dolby TrueHD 5.1
Japanese Dolby TrueHD 5.1
|Video||1080p High Definition Native format|
1.85:1 Aspect Ratio
|Audio||English (2001) Dolby Digital 2.0|
Japanese Dolby Digital 5.1
Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0
|Video||Standard Definition in PAL format|
1.85:1 Aspect Ratio
Blu-ray On-Disc Extra Features:
- Akira Sound Clip (1988)
- Director Interview
- Storyboard Collection
- The Writing on the Wall
- Original Trailers
- Original Commercials
- Restoring Akira
- U.S. Funimation Trailer (2013)
DVD On-Disc Extra Features:
- Production Report
Akira is available to order through multiple retailers across the United Kingdom. The collector’s edition is still around, but you can still acquire the standard edition on Amazon UK.