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Akira on blu-ray
October 17, 2008 1:07 PM   Subscribe

20 years after its cinematic debut, Akira is being released on bluray.

Now would probably be a good time to do the following:

Visit the official site (in Japanese).
Watch the documentary (Part 1 of 5, youtube, English dub, Spanish subs) and learn, among other things, about the record-breaking colour palette that was created for the film and the intricate storyboarding process that Katsuhiro Otomo went through for the production.
Read the manga (and then buy it!).
Listen to the soundtrack by Geinoh Yamashirogumi (in Japanese). (buy it too!)
Visit the fan sites. (previously on metafilter.)
Fear the soon-to-be-release live action remake.

Apologies for the copyright infringements. Excise as felt necessary.
posted by slimepuppy (96 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
Fuck Yeah!
posted by chunking express at 1:11 PM on October 17, 2008


Also: TETSUO!
posted by chunking express at 1:12 PM on October 17, 2008


KANEEEEDAAAAAAA
posted by Greg Nog at 1:14 PM on October 17, 2008


AKIRA!
posted by you just lost the game at 1:15 PM on October 17, 2008


After seeing this movie as a kid, I believed for years that Japanese people tend to scream about 60% of the time. Mostly each other's names, yeah.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 1:15 PM on October 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


Note for those who haven't seen it: the last three comments pretty much sum up 50% of the dialogue.
posted by you just lost the game at 1:16 PM on October 17, 2008 [5 favorites]


We're going to the Olympics!
posted by Prospero at 1:17 PM on October 17, 2008


Fear the soon-to-be-release live action remake.

The animated one already didn't live up to the comic book
posted by poppo at 1:20 PM on October 17, 2008


I came here for the "KANEEEEEDAAAAAA" shout out, and I was not disappointed.

Watched it on I think HDNet the other night. Classic, classic film, looks great in HD. When Tetsuo walks down the hallway and meets the doctor and two guards, well, let's just say the extra horizontal lines make for extra meaty bits.
posted by mark242 at 1:25 PM on October 17, 2008


Will it make sense in Blu-Ray?
posted by Stonewall Jackson at 1:25 PM on October 17, 2008 [9 favorites]


I believed for years that Japanese people tend to scream about 60% of the time.

Many an afternoon did we while away during my teenage years, screaming "JEREMYYYYYYY" and "JASOOOOOON" and such at each other. Ah, youth!

Whatever the flaws of the movie, the soundtrack is indeed wholly fantastic, and exposed me to the first gamelan I'd ever heard. Although if we're talking about the intersection of music and Akira, I think we oughtta make this FPP a little Stronger.
posted by Greg Nog at 1:28 PM on October 17, 2008


The DVD release from 2001 has more bonus features than this Bluray release. That seems odd to me.

I'd like to get more details on this "hi-def transfer". Any extra restoration done to this? Anything new or restored on the audio track?

If they didn't throw down at least a few million on a new (not the 2001!) meticulous restore I don't see the justification for a $50 price tag. For one fifth the price I can get a DVD that will look and sound almost as good as the Bluray release. And unless you're operating a high end system, the difference just won't be noticeable.

The high quality audio track is nice (even if it's only for the japanese dialogue), but you can actually get an even better quality sound from the 1988 laserdisc's analog (hence, no compression) audio track.


even so, i'll still probably pick it up. but i'll wait until it hits the $20-25 price comparable to other Bluray releases.
posted by ruthsarian at 1:29 PM on October 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


Does it ever make sense? I think it's one of the reasons I like the film so much. I've heard the manga makes a lot more sense.

My friend had a copy on VHS which is where I first saw it. I'd love to see it on the big screen, but I don't really pay enough attention to see if it's playing at some festival or anime convention happening in the city. I've seen the film a crap load of times. It's always so good.
posted by chunking express at 1:29 PM on October 17, 2008


Will it make sense in Blu-Ray?

No, but it will make AWESOME! With a side of FUCK YEAH!

The first time I saw a copy of Akira on VHS a tiny bit of my soul died. It was so muddy you could hardly make out anything. At least kids today won't have to grow up without this seminal coming-of-age tale. That includes mutated telekinetic freaks.
posted by GuyZero at 1:30 PM on October 17, 2008


I hope it includes the original English dub, replete with valley guy voice-acting and "Amoebas don't make motorcycles and atomic bombs!" dialogue.

I love that damn dub.
posted by BeerFilter at 1:33 PM on October 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


Note to Bandai: If you release that sucky "Special Edition" version with the totally annoying redubbed voices that make Tetsuo and Kanada sound wrong, I won't even consider buying it or even pirating it.

Please release the original Japanese vocal tracks with subtitles, or at least the crappy American-English dub that the vast majority of us know. The Special Edition redub makes me want to smash things. Yeah, I know the SE dub is supposed to be "more accurate" and the voice-acting is supposed to be better, but the first time I ever watched the SE version it was so disconcerting I thought I put in a DVD full of episodes of Full House or Family Ties.
posted by loquacious at 1:35 PM on October 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


The animated one already didn't live up to the comic book

*cough*hipster!*cough*
posted by shmegegge at 1:36 PM on October 17, 2008


The animated one already didn't live up to the comic book

Very true. And the redub on the Special Edition didn't help matters. Here's a chance to make things right, Bandai.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:41 PM on October 17, 2008


Do. Not. Watch. High.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:42 PM on October 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


Meh, I'll stick with my DVD until TV's that are capiable of showing the difference between that and BluRay become affordable.
posted by sotonohito at 1:45 PM on October 17, 2008


An oldie but still good: Akira set to Come out and play
posted by pantsrobot at 1:46 PM on October 17, 2008


I've always wondered if this "crazy" manga stuff would exist without a culture at least subconsciously living out the ramifications of having a couple nukes laid on it. There's got to be a doctoral thesis out there on this topic, right?
posted by MasonDixon at 1:49 PM on October 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


OK, so maybe the anime wasn't 100% faithful to the manga. It is still the high watermark for hand drawn animated features, and is still kick ass. So, yeah, *cough*HIPSTER ALERT*cough*
posted by Sukiari at 1:51 PM on October 17, 2008


I thought about relating this in the "Anime fandom in the 80's" thread a few days ago, but I think it fits better here.

The first time I saw Akira was on a 20" TV in the back room of a game store that had been closed for the day for a private screening of a bootleg VHS tape that had been smuggled out of Japan. This was only a few months after the VHS release, probablt early '89, and it still hadn't been translated. Not even a crappy fan-dub (thank god). So me and a room full of hard core game/comicbook/anime nerds are clustered around this tiny TV, watching a movie that we can only understand because we'd read the comic*. Rapt. It stands as a defining moment in my geek experience. A year later I got to see it on the big screen at the local art-house theatre, and even dubbed it was glorious.

Maybe it's 'cause I've read some of the manga, but I've never understood why people call it incomprehensible.

*If I recall correctly, the Marvel-republished series was only about halfway out, so after a point we could only infer what the hell was going on.
posted by lekvar at 1:52 PM on October 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


MasonDixon, if you search online this comes up a lot. A lot of Japanese video games, anime, and movies I've seen are very anti-war as well. Mind you, a lot also have flying robot planes, so i'm not sure if there is anything there.
posted by chunking express at 1:53 PM on October 17, 2008


I've never understood why people call it incomprehensible.

It's hardly incomprehensible, but it is certainly strange as fuck -- and it doesn't try too hard to explain big chunks of the story.
posted by chunking express at 1:54 PM on October 17, 2008


Also, I ask this whenever I meet a new anime geek, so I guess here is as good as anywhere:

Ghost in the Shell or Akira?
posted by lekvar at 1:55 PM on October 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


Ghost in the Shell or Akira?

Love Hina and Kodomo No Omocha.
posted by Faint of Butt at 1:59 PM on October 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm not the only one who really didn't like Akira that much, am I?

For me, I guess, it's just another instance where I saw experienced works in a thread or evolving genre (in this case, anime) first, only later working my way back to seeing the originals—which then paled in comparison to the iterations I'd already seen. I saw Akira only after years of watching other anime, all the while being told how amazing and mind-blowing Akira was—and ultimately, it really just seemed like a lot of screaming and exploding, with far too little exposition.
posted by limeonaire at 2:00 PM on October 17, 2008


Ghost in the Shell or Akira?

Akira. All the way.
posted by Dr-Baa at 2:00 PM on October 17, 2008


The best time I ever watched Akira, we were all trippin' acid and listening to music. We were listening to Tool's AEnima album as the movie played silently. Man. It was like the Dark Side of the Rainbow, turned up to eleven. Everything was syncing so uncannily, and it all came to a climax during the title track of the album, watching Neo-Tokyo sinking into the bay as Maynard James Keenen crooned, "I'm praying for rain / I'm praying for tidal waves / I wanna see the ground give way / I wanna watch it all go down."
posted by BeerFilter at 2:00 PM on October 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


Oh my God, should've previewed. Ghost in the Shell all the way, lekvar.
posted by limeonaire at 2:01 PM on October 17, 2008


Ghost in the Shell or Akira?

Yes.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 2:01 PM on October 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


Akira, but the sityscapes are better in Ghost in the Shell. It's a close-run thing.
posted by WPW at 2:04 PM on October 17, 2008


The animated one already didn't live up to the comic book

The comic book was way too long, and doubled back on itself too many times where the anime just got to the point, that said the cool post apocalyptic. stuff with Tetsuo and Akira in the ruins of neo-tokyo would have been good to have.

Lekvar – Akira. Akira hands down. The answer is always Akira.
posted by Artw at 2:04 PM on October 17, 2008


Duh - cityscapes
posted by WPW at 2:04 PM on October 17, 2008


Ghost in the Shell or Akira?

Voltron? Robotech? G-Force?

But Akira was the first time I'd seen anime that wasn't edited to appeal to 10-year-olds.
posted by GuyZero at 2:06 PM on October 17, 2008


far too little exposition.

You watch manga for the exposition?
posted by Artw at 2:06 PM on October 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


The high quality audio track is nice (even if it's only for the japanese dialogue), but you can actually get an even better quality sound from the 1988 laserdisc's analog (hence, no compression) audio track

TrueHD is losslessly compressed, and linear PCM is uncompressed.

It's hardly incomprehensible, but it is certainly strange as fuck

Not really. A while back, some experimenters mutated Akira and he went nonlinear, o the embarrassment. Some other experimental subjects got weird powers but didn't go full-on robot weirdo and are still around. Then Tetsuo got all fucked up after contacting one of the kids, and he went nonlinear too. I haven't seen it in a while, but ISTR that a flashback implies that Tetsuo was also an experimental subject before he went to the orphanarium-juvie-school that he and Kaneda attended.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 2:12 PM on October 17, 2008


I've always wondered if this "crazy" manga stuff would exist without a culture at least subconsciously living out the ramifications of having a couple nukes laid on it. There's got to be a doctoral thesis out there on this topic, right?

Sort of...
posted by mkultra at 2:13 PM on October 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


Ghost in the Shell or Akira?

Cowboy Bebop.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 2:14 PM on October 17, 2008 [8 favorites]


You watch manga for the exposition?

No one watches manga. I watch anime. And I do like a modicum of, oh, I dunno, storyline, yes. I like anime for other reasons as well, but a storyline really helps.
posted by limeonaire at 2:14 PM on October 17, 2008


Ghost in the Shell. Every. Time.

Unless we're answering this question in 1989, of course. Akira is groundbreaking no doubt, but being first and being a source of nostalgia don't make this the better film.

That being said, I'm eager to add this to my collection, but don't have BluRay. I would settle for the 2001 DVD.
posted by butterstick at 2:15 PM on October 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


Ghost in the Shell or Akira?

Cowboy Bebop.


Excellent point, sir.
posted by Artw at 2:15 PM on October 17, 2008


> I've heard the manga makes a lot more sense.

That's what I had been told too, but when the manga came out it cost thirty bucks a volume for six volumes. It would have to explain a heck of a lot more than the movie for me to want to shell out that much.

Also, the Blu-Ray version is worthless if they don't fix the horrible clipping in the thunder during the opening theme.
posted by ardgedee at 2:17 PM on October 17, 2008


Ghost in the Shell...

Preferably, bash.

....END OF LINE....
posted by PROD_TPSL at 2:19 PM on October 17, 2008


Ghost in the Shell or Akira?

Patlabor.
posted by vorfeed at 2:19 PM on October 17, 2008 [6 favorites]


Do you remember the first watch? It fascinated. Repeats are great, but the virgin hurt.
posted by Mblue at 2:23 PM on October 17, 2008


You watch manga for the exposition?

No one watches manga. I watch anime. And I do like a modicum of, oh, I dunno, storyline, yes. I like anime for other reasons as well, but a storyline really helps.


To me exposition is the bits where the story stops dead, and then you get some cod philosophy and an explanation of whats going on. Bad anime always has a heap of scenes like that.
posted by Artw at 2:23 PM on October 17, 2008


ROU, indeed. Spike is well... Spike. Edward, gotta love her. Ein, BEST DOG EVAR! Jet, is just a BADASS through and through.
posted by PROD_TPSL at 2:25 PM on October 17, 2008


Comparing Ghost in the Shell to Akira is rather like trying to compare North by Northwest to The Ten Commandments (DeMille, of course). Ghost is a more tightly-written and edited screenplay. Akira has more massive epic moments.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 2:28 PM on October 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


Dude, I heart the Beebop and her crew as well, but it's unfair to compare something that grew over 10+ hours of vignetted storylines to standalone Akira. GitS is the more apt comparison since the first movie was based on the manga. I haven't read the Akira manga, is it a single storyline or a series of vignettes like the GitS manga?
posted by butterstick at 2:30 PM on October 17, 2008


Oh, this is where we mention other anime we like? FLCL, then.

I had a car named Tetsuo! for years.
posted by Pronoiac at 2:35 PM on October 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


Adding in Bebop to the mix is comparing apples to oranges to grapes. Bebop is all about mastery of the short-form single or two-part episode.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 2:35 PM on October 17, 2008


Whatever the flaws of the movie, the soundtrack is indeed wholly fantastic, and exposed me to the first gamelan I'd ever heard.

Hell, yeah. The music is just phenomenal.
posted by mr_roboto at 2:41 PM on October 17, 2008


I remember in the early 90s Akira was shone at my local arts cinema. Asked my house mate if he wanted to go - the place was literally at the end of our road, so I used to go nearly every week - but he was 'not interested in a Japanese cartoon'. In the pub later I could tell he thought I was just mad as I raved on about how good it was.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:46 PM on October 17, 2008


Heh. Akira blew my mind. Then I watched every other Manga video I could get hold of back in the early 90s, only to fins that they were all inferior tosh like Fist of The North Star.

I haven't read the Akira manga, is it a single storyline or a series of vignettes like the GitS manga?

If you imagine the first three quarters of the movie, then a resurrected Akira, wars for control of a ruined Tokyo, some stuff with Americans trying to intervene and Tetsuo sinking an aircraft carrier, and IIRC some psychic monks (bit hazy on that bit), and then a slightly different version of the end of the movie, it’s basically that. So to answer your question it's a big sweeping slightly incoherant epic rather than something episodic.
posted by Artw at 2:53 PM on October 17, 2008


Ah yes, the soundtrack.
I was alone in lab late one night; after working on my assignment for about 30 hours straight there were only five left till it was due. The soundtrack was on my discman and the weird chanting and gamelan solos seemed to keep me awake.
And then... Track #5, Doll's Polyphony...
Already hyped up on coffee and no sleep I ignored the first "birumm" but the second one came from behind me. Then the Teddy Bear and Train noises got louder, coming from my left, then right, then all around me. I literally jumped and my headphones flew off. Finally realized that it was only the music, but those 10 seconds were easily one of the most harrowing experiences I've ever had.
posted by pantsrobot at 3:04 PM on October 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


Akira and Ghost In The Shell are to my mind equal by virtue of being incomparable. Well, to adjust that statement, let me say they are supremely comparable in certain ways, but that their real strengths are incomparable. explanation:

Akira was an awakening to me. It was the first animated thing I had seen that seemed, in the words of my super young self, deep. Ghost In The Shell was also an awakening to me. It was the first thing I had seen that I didn't get because I wasn't old enough to get it. Akira had mysteries, and let's be honest still has mysteries, that I didn't understand when I first saw it, but on the whole I could understand what they were getting at, what they were ultimately trying to evoke in me. In short, I could see why someone would sit down and conceive of that story. It took many viewings for me to finally see Ghost In The Shell as more than the flashy tech action flick I gobbled up as a kid. They were both technical masterpieces, absolute perfection in style and editing. But where Akira excelled was in painting a picture of the past, strange as that may sound. Where Ghost in the Shell excelled was in painting a picture of the future.

What do I mean by this. Ok. There are two movies I've seen in my life that fill me with tremendous guilt over American action in Japan during WWII. One is Grave of the Fireflies. It is the most directly affecting story i've seen come out of Japan, and I bawled my eyes out watching it. The firebombing, and subsequent nuclear bombing, of Japan during WWII is so much harder for me to simply dismiss with a "we had to do it" hand wave the way I did when I was learning about it in school because I saw that film. It's deeply personal, and pulls no punches. Beautiful film. Akira is a step or two removed from being that intensely personal a story. Rather than focus with that laser precision, it paints a larger picture of a devastated culture in the wake of, and in the face of, unknowable cataclysmic circumstance. The level of apathy in the youth, the disenfranchised jadedness of the adults, so much of it screams "this is what happened to us, more than the physical destruction of the bombs." It has its mirror in the obsessive fashion-based materialism of modern japanese youth culture, but it's taken elsewhere for what I assume is the point of allegory. You can see in the petty squabbles of the biker gangs in the beginning (who couldn't give outside observers a substantive answer for why they fight at all) a parallel to the honor driven soldiery of wwii era japan before the bomb was dropped (and quite possibly a commentary on the perceived motivation for THEIR fighting). So much of that beginning story serves the dual function of presenting us with 3 dimensional characters whose lives are interrupted and presenting us with the comparatively small lives they lead before Tetsuo's awakening. Until Neo Tokyo explodes, their identity was as bikers and fighters. Afterward...

But Ghost In The Shell tackles the state of Japan as a technological powerhouse. It presupposes that japanese culture has an identity outside of foreign devastation, and moves on to describe a Japan that picked itself up, that has become the spiritual center of a technological metaphysical existence. The remarkable spiritual life that Shintoism, Taoism and Buddhism invested the material world with seems to me paralleled in the ever present immaterial nature of Ghosts that inhabit people and everything technological around them. What the movie does, and the tv show also does to the point of becoming repetitive, is ask where that goes. Where Akira asked what happened, Ghost In The Shell asks what is happening, what will happen. How do people define themselves in a culture where who you are, how you perceive yourself can be and is digitized and transferred around like so much imaginary currency?

I can't possibly choose between them, and wouldn't want to live in a world where I was forced to.

end rant here. sorry. that was long.
posted by shmegegge at 3:45 PM on October 17, 2008 [9 favorites]


Blu-ray Blue?
posted by pompomtom at 3:46 PM on October 17, 2008


Awesome post.

The English dub on that Japanese documentary is horrendous. Inaccurate in many places and the affected speech of the dub really grates.
posted by gen at 3:57 PM on October 17, 2008


I bought the VHS tape when I was too poor to own a VCR.

I bought the soundtrack CD years before I owned a CD player.

But I will skip the Blu-Ray and wait for it to play in a theater again.
posted by Chinese Jet Pilot at 4:10 PM on October 17, 2008


It’s actually not the first Japanese animation to blow my mind – there was a rogue showing of Laputa on brit TV sometime in the 80s. I think I missed the beginning and it was only ages later, when Spirited Away came out and everyone was into Ghibli that I found out what exactly it was that I had seen.

Those two are responsible for me watching an awful lot of crap trying to recapture the same experience.
posted by Artw at 4:23 PM on October 17, 2008


*cough*hipster!*cough*

It's not my fault that the all antisocial activities I preferred as a 13 year old are now considered hip.

I'll be making fun of people over in the 80's video game thread if anyone needs me
posted by poppo at 4:24 PM on October 17, 2008


Now the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle comics were definitely WAY better than the cartoon…
posted by Artw at 4:30 PM on October 17, 2008


We named our dog Tetsuo for all of three days.

What can I say? Not as many Akira fans out there as you might think. People had trouble with it.

Now he's called Rion *cough-Galerians-cough*
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 4:59 PM on October 17, 2008


Oh, also, for your moment of Zen: I taught English in Japan awhile back, and nobody had any fucking clue what I was talking about. Akira? What's that?
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 5:00 PM on October 17, 2008


Here here, Artw. Nothing makes me want to scream "GET OFF MY LAWN" more than what happened to TMNT.

*a single tear falls for the lost longbox containing issues #3-7*
posted by lekvar at 5:06 PM on October 17, 2008


Akira vs Ghost In the Shell...

I wish I had kept the email I got from a potential buyer when I had the gn for Ghost up on ebay, wanting to know if it included the lesbian sex scene on the boat (which was censored out of the US printing)... for, you know, completeness.

... so sorry Akira fans, mental though it is, lesbians trumps it.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 5:15 PM on October 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


I haven't read the Akira manga, is it a single storyline or a series of vignettes like the GitS manga?

It's a single storyline that diverges quite a bit from the anime. The drugs play a much larger part and you'll gain a larger understanding of the anime by reading the manga. I would suggest anyone who has seen the anime to pickup the manga.

To me exposition is the bits where the story stops dead, and then you get some cod philosophy and an explanation of whats going on. Bad anime always has a heap of scenes like that.

Yeah, that's why there's a shit-ton of bad anime out there. Now if your talking about something good, then you shouldn't be able to make this distinction.

Now the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle comics were definitely WAY better than the cartoon…

I hope you are talking about the original comics and not the Archie Comics that re-invented them into the cartoonish characatures.

I wish I had kept the email I got from a potential buyer when I had the gn for Ghost up on ebay, wanting to know if it included the lesbian sex scene on the boat (which was censored out of the US printing)... for, you know, completeness.

To be honest I was pissed-off when I realized my GitS manga was edited. Why the fuck did they edit it??? I don't need anybody cutting out parts "for my safety!" or whatever the hell they thought justified doing that.
posted by P.o.B. at 5:23 PM on October 17, 2008


into the cartoonish characatures.

uhmmm...ignore that part.
posted by P.o.B. at 5:54 PM on October 17, 2008


Also: TETSUO!

What?
posted by tetsuo at 6:02 PM on October 17, 2008 [3 favorites]


Spike is well... Spike. Edward, gotta love her. Ein, BEST DOG EVAR! Jet, is just a BADASS through and through.

...and Faye has large breasts.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:20 PM on October 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


Oh, this is where we mention other anime we like? FLCL, then.

FLCL is neat/interesting to me. I've watched it, and I appreciate its manic intensity, but I don't really get it.

But at the same time, I am completely certain that if I had seen it when I was 12--14, it would have been one of the most important things in my world for years. That the same things I can't get anymore would have noticeably shaped how I grew up.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:24 PM on October 17, 2008


loquatious: The Special Edition redub makes me want to smash things.

I couldn't disagree more. The original English dub of Akria is atrocious. The adaptation is clunky and the dialogue is really painful most of the time.

The 2001 redub version has a redone adaptation, with much, much, much better dialogue. The original was obviously simply rushed through without much thought, giving rise to the now infamous, repetitive lines like "Tetsuoooo!"
posted by zardoz at 6:57 PM on October 17, 2008


I hear that George Lucas was in charge of the production.
posted by blue_beetle at 7:53 PM on October 17, 2008


...and Faye has large breasts.

and terrible fashion sense.
posted by Artw at 8:14 PM on October 17, 2008


Serial Experiments Lain is the best ever.

Just sayin'.
posted by Alex404 at 8:21 PM on October 17, 2008


I prefer Lupin the Third. And Cowboy Bebop.
posted by Balisong at 8:58 PM on October 17, 2008


Serial Experiments Lain.

Ghost In The Shell.

Akira (original dodgy as hell English dub).

FLCL.

Cowboy Bebop.

And a heap more, but that is my top five.
posted by cerulgalactus at 9:18 PM on October 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


Pretty good, but it's no Ninja Scroll.
posted by wobh at 9:22 PM on October 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


What about Robotech? That was the first exposure I had to anime. It ran on a UHF station that later became Fox, and introduced me to so much: kick-ass transforming jets, aircraft carriers in space, j-pop...

Plus, it was the first time I had ever seen the suggestion of interracial sexual relations on tv in the small, backwards town in which I lived. And, main characters died! So, yay Robotech, for being one of the first cartoons to show me that cartoons didn't have to exist to sell toys (I'm looking at you, He-Man.)
posted by nushustu at 10:12 PM on October 17, 2008


Ghost in the Shell or Akira?

Different.

Ghost in the Shell or Natural City?

Same.
posted by porpoise at 11:29 PM on October 17, 2008


It's not my fault that the all antisocial activities I preferred as a 13 year old are now considered hip.

ha. well said. really, though, i was just kidding about the hipster thing.

also, so long as we're mentioning anime series we love, I second the mention of FLCL, which is god damn brilliant, but also want to bring up Paranoia Agent, which is one of the most brilliant series ever to come out of Japan, bar none. Anyone who bothers to mention Serial Experiments Lane is heretofore condemned to an eternity of beginners' writing classes to learn what's wrong with that ridiculous attempt at a show.

As for movies, I'll mention that the sequel to Ghost In The Shell is flat out incredible, and that Millenium Actress is one of the most touching films I have ever seen. Not only was the writing and voice acting stellar, but the overall visual style of the film made me wonder if I wasn't wasting my life on projects of too little ambition. Just a masterpiece.

also. Metropolis, motherfuckers. hot damn. metropolis.
posted by shmegegge at 11:44 PM on October 17, 2008


In a period of three months, many years ago, I started drinking beer, smoking pot, playing D&D, reading Dune and Lovecraft, and watched Akira in a VHS just brought from Japan by one of the guys in the D&D booth I was volunteering at at the International Book Fair in Guadalajara, the year Salman Rushdie attended, and we had a stoned Killer game were the mission was to tag him with a Post It without getting caught by his bodyguards.

It was kind of a coming of age period, and the movie fit perfectly.

The next and last time I watched it is when I found it under Free Movies in Comcast on Demand, in my own apartment in San Francisco's Mission District, on a 42" flast screen with nice speakers, high on some primo medicinal purple, drinking a quite fine G&T.

Antisocial teen to 30 something hipster metamorphosis barely averted by having a bike with more than 10 speeds and loose fitting jeans.
posted by dirty lies at 12:22 AM on October 18, 2008


One of the truly crap things about living in Japan is that there are very few (if any) dvds available with English subtitles. I'm hoping blu-ray will tackle this (I got some hope from looking at a blu-ray that had subs in ten or twelve languages). Almost all of the anime I've seen I saw at home, years ago. Things that come out here, that I'd love to see, I'm too language-dumb to go to the theater and get much out of it.

Things I'd like to see: Paprika, Brave Story, Innocence, Metropolis.

As for Akira or Ghost in the Shell:

Heisei Tanuki War. Makes me cry like a girl everytime. The saddest movie ever made about shape-changing racoon dogs with testicles the size of watermelons.
posted by Ghidorah at 5:57 AM on October 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


I watched Akira most weekends of 1990. Eventually got the point of it after a number of viewings. There was always someone who had not seen it though, so repeat viewings continued.

The I won Ghost in the Shell in a competition, which I enjoyed, but which could never surplant Akira for me.

Recently I have watched Haibane Renmei, which I think is a fantastic series. Saw Paprika at the cinema, which was most enjoyable.

In such a hightly stylised medium as this, the balance between style and content is difficult to manage without upsetting somebody.
posted by asok at 6:58 AM on October 18, 2008


this is near-worthless to me without the original dub.
just when my coil's reaching the green line...

I'm happy to ignore the fact I have no Blu-ray player.
If they included original dub, I'd buy it.

but the movie deserves to live in this format.
thanks for this!
posted by Busithoth at 7:18 AM on October 18, 2008


Dub?? DUB?!?
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 10:48 AM on October 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


Legend of the Overfiend FTW.
posted by stinkycheese at 11:19 AM on October 18, 2008


Also, a huge amount of Japanese films allude either directly or indirectly to the atom bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the US (which is not at all surprising, right?); the most obvious example is the Godzilla films. This is pretty well-trod ground in film theory, especially in the area of horror films.
posted by stinkycheese at 11:24 AM on October 18, 2008


Akira or Ghost in the Shell?

Evangelion
posted by inpHilltr8r at 3:06 PM on October 18, 2008


Akira or Ghost in the Shell?

Both please, and for dessert, Ouran High School Host Club!
posted by The Ardship of Cambry at 3:39 PM on October 18, 2008


For those that like Ghost In the Shell but haven't seen the series, I can't recommend it highly enough. In many ways it surpasses the movies.

I am not nearly articulate enough a critical to relate in what ways I found it superior. It's Just Good.
posted by flaterik at 6:17 PM on October 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


"articulate enough a critical"? *facepalm*
I meant "critic". And I believed that proved my point...
posted by flaterik at 6:35 PM on October 18, 2008


wayyyy late, but i just wanted to second the FLCL endorsement. I adore that show, and Paranoia Agent may be the best anime series I've ever seen.
posted by shmegegge at 9:47 AM on October 20, 2008


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