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May 9, 2014 10:43 PM   Subscribe

Akira Project - Live Action Trailer

"The Akira Project is a crowd-sourced, non-profit project meant to create a live action fan trailer of AKIRA, the renowned manga-turned-anime film from the late 1980′s; a stunning example of both mediums as art forms. While Hollywood has been working on a live-action Akira movie for a few years now, we, as fans, wanted to take a shot at making our own adaptation. A chance to stick as close to the source material as possible. A chance to do Akira Justice."
posted by quin (48 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
doomed to diminish the original, yet I can't help but applaud such obsessive commitment to ... something or other.
posted by philip-random at 10:54 PM on May 9 [2 favorites]


the howie scream at 2:05 really breaks the mood but otherwise this is neat
posted by p3on at 10:57 PM on May 9 [2 favorites]


Why would it diminish the original?

I'm hoping that Anime and Manga start getting consistent Hollywood support like comic superheroes are getting now. Unfortunately the studios appear to still be afraid of Japanese actors.
posted by Brocktoon at 11:21 PM on May 9 [1 favorite]


That was well done, but the music of Akira is part of what made it so incredible. The battle against the clowns (especially the part that starts at 2:20) and the doll's attack are just two that come to mind.
posted by Hactar at 11:46 PM on May 9 [4 favorites]


I remember when I first watched Akira in the early '90s when I was living in Albuquerque for minute. I called a friend of mine back in Atlanta to ask him explain the ending.

One good thing about this is perhaps it will expose people who wouldn't watch the animated version because "cartoons are for kids" to the story.
posted by ob1quixote at 12:02 AM on May 10


I was expecting something dire but that was actually quite impressive. The English is more than a little strange, but at least the cast is Asian.
posted by zardoz at 12:16 AM on May 10 [6 favorites]


If it's a live-action shot for shot re-do it could be jaw dropping. This is a great low-rent proof of concept. I don't know if I trust Hollywood not to screw with the plot and make it less weird.
posted by MeanwhileBackAtTheRanch at 12:26 AM on May 10


That was great, and as zardoz says, look Hollywood! Asian people!
posted by GallonOfAlan at 12:28 AM on May 10


That... that wasn't anywhere near as bad as I thought it would be. I'm actually impressed.

Considering this, I think they might actually be able to pull this off if they can raise the funding and not end up ideologically molested by Hollywood and anglicization.

The practical and digital FX are going to be a bloody nightmare, not to mention the stunts. There are many things you can do with animation that simply don't easily translate to live/hybrid action, but digital FX are now at a point where it can make this challenge moot if handled well, with better results than real explosions and people getting yanked around on wires. The majn thing is having credible animators who can make realistic looking yet impossible physics, which is something that much of the recent spate of big productions of comic book and other action movies suffer from in varying quantities.

See Bay's Transformers as a bad example. Or Jackson's Lord of the Rings, which is absolutely terrible in many places. Whereas the first Matrix movie crosses the line into the impossible and fantastic while somehow managing to pass and remain internally consistent and believable.

I mean, not that anything about the original Akira manga or anime is "realistic" but there is a fine balance of internally consistent that needs to be achieved, which the anime achieves brilliantly. (See Princess Mononoke as another stellar example.)

My main concern is that they amass enough funding and talent to achieve this balance. The Olympic Stadium scenes are going to be incredibly expensive, but I can't help but note that they do the laser cannons some serious justice with the shaking beams, like someone holding a laser pointer, where even the lasers in the anime movie didn't bother to try to capture that, even though that rock solid, razor sharp treatment was aesthetically pleasing and internally consistent.
posted by loquacious at 12:44 AM on May 10 [1 favorite]


Would everyone please stop addressing this like it's a trailer for a feature length film project that's underway somewhere? It's not. Let's all go back and re-read the part of the description where they make it clear that the "project" was to create this trailer. Just watch and enjoy, stop overthinking it.
posted by trackofalljades at 12:58 AM on May 10 [8 favorites]


That was well done, but the music of Akira is part of what made it so incredible. The battle against the clowns (especially the part that starts at 2:20) and the doll's attack are just two that come to mind.
I knew the dubbing was bad in the US release but oh boy I wasn't prepared for that.
posted by fullerine at 1:00 AM on May 10 [3 favorites]


This was nice.

But Akira belongs to animation, and to 1988.
posted by Quilford at 1:23 AM on May 10 [2 favorites]


Also I really should post this incredible mash-up of Akira and a Tracey Thorn song, by Cinque Lee, younger brother of Spike Lee.
posted by Quilford at 1:26 AM on May 10 [1 favorite]


Akira belongs to animation

Much of this fan film is animated, digitally.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 1:39 AM on May 10 [1 favorite]


I would pay real money to see this. I probably would be on the fence on the Hollywood version.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:47 AM on May 10


FANTASTIC.

If there must be a live action version, then THIS is the way to achieve it.

Unfortunately (for various non artistic reasons) I don't think that a full scale live version will ever occur and not suck.

Lovely to see what Osric Chau is doing now he's not locked into the punishing Supernatural shooting schedule.
posted by Faintdreams at 1:48 AM on May 10


That was really good. A whole lot better than it had any right to be. I would watch the hell out of a complete movie (or, better yet, mini-series) of this.

That was well done, but the music of Akira is part of what made it so incredible.

The very predictable music of this clip was definitely the weakest part. Thankfully, it didn't distract from the visuals too terribly.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:53 AM on May 10


Might be time to go back and read the (translated into English) manga again. Had misgivings about watching the trailer but am happy I did. As others have mentioned, I wish the music could have been the original movie music, but other than that, it felt right.
posted by sciencegeek at 4:56 AM on May 10


The music is from the deus ex video game, btw.
posted by empath at 5:04 AM on May 10 [1 favorite]


At the top of my list of films I wish I could see fresh again with virgin eyes is "Akira". It's not that I didn't enjoy my subsequent viewings, but seeing it for the first time in the early 90's (back before Blockbuster even had an Anime section) was a cinematic revelation.

And although I ususally go for subtitles vs. English dubbing, the copy we had way back then was a dub and that's what I was used to. I did eventually pick up the DVD they put out with a new (and more accurate) english dub translation, but was sorely disappointed that they lost the line "Gentlemen, we're going to the Olympics".
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 5:04 AM on May 10 [1 favorite]


Apparently this was done in Montreal! A lot of friends are posting about it, very proud that it came from their hometown.
posted by Kitteh at 5:39 AM on May 10


The music is from the deus ex video game, btw.

It's from Deus Ex: Human Revolution actually and it's called "Icarus (Main Theme)" and it's by Michael McCann you filthy casual.
posted by turbid dahlia at 5:53 AM on May 10 [5 favorites]




Quilford: "This was nice.

But Akira belongs to animation, and to 1988.
"

You mean Akira belongs to Manga and FOREVER.
posted by symbioid at 6:46 AM on May 10 [1 favorite]


That was very good. I would watch the full-length version if they ever decided to make one. And yes, best done as a series - there's no way you could capture all of Akira in 2-3 hours.

Thanks, quin!
posted by jammy at 6:51 AM on May 10


The first time I watched Akira was also the first time I dropped acid.

That is a bad combination of firsts.
posted by Sys Rq at 6:55 AM on May 10 [7 favorites]


I also saw Akira as a young teen in the early 90s, and the terrible terrible English dub is such an integral part of the experience for me. I've since tried to watch it with subtitles, or with the new "better" English dub, and it always feels like something huge and necessary is missing.

The most obvious explanation for this is basic tiresome nostalgia; I engraved a certain version of the movie into my brain at a very formative age, and now there's no convincing me it could be any way else. If this is the case, my discomfort with "improvements" is just the ossified opinion of an inflexible man using a cartoon to pine for his lost youth, same as those awful middle-aged dudes who get weirdly protective of Star Wars or the Beetles.

But! I'm not sure that that is the case. I think maybe I still gravitate toward the deeply silly and inept voices because they bring to the fore one of the most salient aspects of the movie adaptation: it's deeply silly and kind of inept. The story is compressed so hard that a lot of stuff doesn't really make sense, and it swings wildly between dreamlike gorgeous audiovisual spectacle and a goofy coming-of-age story with sort of bad pacing.

I think I still like those voices (goofiness including, but not limited to, Leonardo the ninja turtle as Kaneda) precisely because they highlight the ways that the movie tries very hard to be gritty and cool, but is also just sort of adorably dumb. Not to sound too college-application-essay about it, but I guess That's What Akira Means To Me. I've watched it dozens of times over the past couple of decades, and the older I get when I revisit it, the more it goes from fourteen-year-old me saying "THIS IS THE COOLEST THING I'VE EVER SEEN" to older me going "ha ha ha, awww, you cuties"

ANYWAY

I liked the trailer! But still my favorite adaptation of the animated movie is Kanye's Stronger video, which: gods DAMN, I wish I could go back in time to the aforementioned fourteen-year-old me and show him that. Can you imagine? "Kid, in the future, the most famous rapper of the 21st century will use his money and cultural influence to remake AKIRA in one of his videos. Also he teams up with two FRENCH ROBOT MUSICIANS to do it. Oh btw I can watch that whenever I want on my TELEPHONE, which is a SUPERCOMPUTER that fits in my pocket." Boy howdy! Young me would be all "SOUNDS LIKE THE FUTURE RULES, DUDE"
posted by Greg Nog at 7:15 AM on May 10 [14 favorites]


Supergroovy.
posted by valkane at 7:51 AM on May 10 [1 favorite]


it's deeply silly and kind of inept. The story is compressed so hard that a lot of stuff doesn't really make sense, and it swings wildly between dreamlike gorgeous audiovisual spectacle and a goofy coming-of-age story with sort of bad pacing.

but it's a coming of age story where you grow up to learn that literally everyone in your society is willing to destroy the world in order to gain power/knowledge/control: the military, the government, teachers, scientists etc. it starts with teenage wannabe-gangsters fucking shit up on their motorcycles, until they discover that the military can fuck shit up on a grander scale than they could have imagined. and ends up with a teen-age hoodlum being the only one capable of making mature moral decisions even as he pretends to himself he's just chasing pussy...

which is why (as i've said before) if you think about it, the only way to make a live-action Akira in the US is if you forget neotokyo/LA and set it around black kids riding motocross in Baltimore. Akira is black.
posted by ennui.bz at 7:56 AM on May 10 [12 favorites]


I'm reminded of how badly I once wanted Kaneda's pill jacket. And of how badly I now want it again.
posted by cmoj at 8:08 AM on May 10 [1 favorite]


The dub is not "terrible terrible". It's actually above average. I encourage you to watch Speed Racer or Lupin for examples of terrible dubs.
posted by Brocktoon at 8:31 AM on May 10


I still want Kaneda's bike.

Although, I admit, the music was a big let down. And, of COURSE, I would duel cmoj on bikeback for the coat.
posted by Samizdata at 8:44 AM on May 10


The dub is not "terrible terrible".

The dub is 40% people shrieking one another's names.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:25 AM on May 10 [1 favorite]


My friends and I used to quote the first 25 seconds of this clip to each other in the exact voices and cadences of the characters

To think that only fifty years earlier, teen annoyance technology had only advanced enough to rely on "pull my finger" as the height of hideous obnoxiousness
posted by Greg Nog at 9:37 AM on May 10


I'm blown away by the quality of this production. I don't know what this actually cost to put together but it looks like something that had a size able budget. I loved it and would prefer this to whatever Americanized crap Hollywood is trying to make.
posted by humanfont at 9:45 AM on May 10


I also saw Akira as a young teen in the early 90s, and the terrible terrible English dub is such an integral part of the experience for me. I've since tried to watch it with subtitles, or with the new "better" English dub, and it always feels like something huge and necessary is missing.

I feel exactly the same way about it. The part my brother and I used to quote at each other: "Hey Kaneda, they took your bike!" "No way! My bike?" And in that cadence. Which is almost like a line from Clerks or something.
posted by furiousthought at 10:14 AM on May 10 [1 favorite]


That was really cool.

Would everyone please stop addressing this like it's a trailer for a feature length film project that's underway somewhere? It's not. Let's all go back and re-read the part of the description where they make it clear that the "project" was to create this trailer. Just watch and enjoy, stop overthinking it.
posted by trackofalljades at 3:58 AM



You are not my supervisor.
posted by Divine_Wino at 11:04 AM on May 10 [4 favorites]


I can't help but note that they do the laser cannons some serious justice with the shaking beams, like someone holding a laser pointer, where even the lasers in the anime movie didn't bother to try to capture that, even though that rock solid, razor sharp treatment was aesthetically pleasing and internally consistent.

I always rationalized it by saying that those big bulky laser cannon housings must have gyroscopic stabilizers inside them. Perhaps they're like digital camera shutter buttons and the gyros only lock in when you half-pull the trigger. Cause without something like that you get no cool laser action like in the bridge scene ["new" dub].

I spent a lot of time thinking about those lasers.
posted by BeerFilter at 12:10 PM on May 10 [2 favorites]


You are not my supervisor.

Thank you for that. Hearing Cheryl's voice in my head was exactly what I needed just now.
posted by quin at 12:59 PM on May 10 [1 favorite]


Japan has been doing live-action adaptations of anime for a while now.

For example, there's an Attack on Titan live action movie in the works, Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sugunai recently had one, lots of older ones too (Grave of the Fireflies, Barefoot Gen, etc).

Also lots of manga -> live action movies.

But of course these have built-in fan bases that are much larger, and I am not sure very many have been hits. I know this is just a fan-made trailer, but if the US wanted to do a live-action version of anime, I think they would/should pick something more accessible than Akira (which I like, but if the goal was "Open American audiences to the idea" it's probably not the right choice).
posted by wildcrdj at 1:18 PM on May 10


The dub is not "terrible terrible".

The dub is 40% people shrieking one another's names.


The original English dub was rushed, and it shows. They did a really bad job of it, frankly, with odd pauses to match the character's mouth movements. There's a new version of it done around 2002 or so: all new translation, voice acting, and subtitles. It's much better than the original, and it's a shame that most people only know the bad dub.
posted by zardoz at 2:08 PM on May 10


The quality of dubs in general tend to be problematic. In fact I can think of only one anime where the dubbed version is better than the subbed one, and that's Baccano. That's because Baccano is set in prohibition era New York, and they got people who could do the accents perfectly.
posted by happyroach at 4:14 PM on May 10


I'd love to see an Akira live-action film in the vein of the Rurouni Kenshin live action film, which was remarkably true to the subject material, but also a not-bad action flick on its own...
posted by Sedition at 4:21 PM on May 10


Quilford: "This was nice.

But Akira belongs to animation, and to 1988."

You mean Akira belongs to Manga and FOREVER.
posted by symbioid at 11:46 PM on May 10 [1 favorite +] [!]


This is also true! It belongs to anime and manga and 1980-1988 and forever, for all values of forever that do not include years in which Akira could be remade as a live action film by Hollywood.
posted by Quilford at 8:07 PM on May 10


I've watched it dozens of times over the past couple of decades, and the older I get when I revisit it, the more it goes from fourteen-year-old me saying "THIS IS THE COOLEST THING I'VE EVER SEEN" to older me going "ha ha ha, awww, you cuties"

If you watch the production report where they talk to Otomo and all the artists behind the film, it reverts back to "THIS IS THE COOLEST THING I'VE EVER SEEN" i promise
posted by Quilford at 8:16 PM on May 10


Nice title!

My car's name was "TETSUO!!"
posted by Pronoiac at 3:20 AM on May 12


Granted I have not watched the film in whole since I was like 12.. but I remember thinking that it did not seem to make a damn bit of sense. Probably the whole issue with the first dubbed versions that were out at the time. I couldn't tell whether Kaneda was trying to kill or help Tetsuo. If the latter, why the hell were they spending the last half of the movie shouting one anothers names? Etc..
posted by mediocre at 4:38 PM on May 12




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