AKIRA: How To Animate Light
November 29, 2016 9:56 PM   Subscribe

When I was a kid my parents wouldn't let me rent Akira because of the R rating, but there was this 'making of'-type video that our local Blockbuster had next to it that wasn't restricted, so I would rent that. It had character bios, interview footage of Katsuhiro Otomo, and a fair few clips from the film. And they also drew special attention to the lighting, especially that effect with the tail lights creating streaks. On my 18th birthday I went to Blockbuster to rent it myself and watched it after midnight in a completely dark room, so the light effects and the use of colour in general really stood out. I have pretty vivid memories of all of the scenes shown in the video even though I haven't owned a copy of the film ever.

Perhaps I should head to iTunes now. I still need the dub with Leonardo's voice actor, though. That's a hard requirement.
posted by Space Coyote at 10:40 PM on November 29, 2016 [10 favorites]

For whatever reason I couldn't access AVClub's youtube link, so, here;

posted by Sintram at 10:44 PM on November 29, 2016 [2 favorites]

The concept of hand-animated lens flares and light tracers done realistically had never entered my mind before I saw Akira. The effects were then and remain jaw-droppingly amazing to me. Akira changed what I expect from animation, and much of that had to do with its use of light.
posted by hippybear at 1:19 AM on November 30, 2016 [2 favorites]

Looks like we're on an Akira streak here on Metafilter.

Whenever the question comes up of what movie you would love to watch fresh again like the very first time you watched it, I always pick Akira. Such a stunning film.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 4:22 AM on November 30, 2016 [1 favorite]

Looks like we're on an Akira streak here on Metafilter.

Wait until the 2020 Neo Tokyo Olympics.
posted by sukeban at 5:31 AM on November 30, 2016 [3 favorites]

I really disliked the way the people were animated in Akira. But I'd have watched the lighting all day.
posted by Nancy_LockIsLit_Palmer at 5:34 AM on November 30, 2016

This blows my mind and makes my body parts grow uncontrollably.
posted by I-baLL at 6:29 AM on November 30, 2016 [3 favorites]

Ah Akira my first love. I watched Otomo's movie sometime in the early 90s. It was so radically different thematically and animation wise I was stunned. I must confess like space coyote I have vivid memories of the experience, although I cant remember who was with me or where I watched it. I remember a few years later walking around in Singapore with its apt. towers everywhere, laundry drying on wooden poles and the movie inserting itself into my mind. Not a bad place start to love scifi/cyberpunk for the rest of your life.
posted by Leelas at 6:51 AM on November 30, 2016 [3 favorites]

After I had watched Akira a few times I noticed that Number 26 passes through a spectrum of colours in one continuous panning shot on the bridge at the beginning. Once I had seen it I couldn't unsee it, so blatant and yet so smoothly executed.
posted by asok at 3:06 PM on November 30, 2016

can i ask a question? i heard that "ghost in the machine" was supposed to be considered a good anime, so i watched it (along with my partner) last weekend. we felt it was pretty bad. will akira be better? if not, is there anything else?

(the worst bits of gitm were the angst, the explaining, and the apparent need to display boobs - felt like it was aimed at angsty teenage boys, tbh)
posted by andrewcooke at 3:18 PM on November 30, 2016

andrewcooke, I can't tell you which version of Akira to watch as regards subtitles or dubs, but it is terrific and well ahead of it's time. However, it is not without fault.

Paprika is also well regarded.

I literally just watched this observation on GITM from the Nerdwriter channel, which may be of interest.
posted by asok at 3:32 PM on November 30, 2016 [1 favorite]

andrewcooke: Yes, Akira will be better. In a similar kind of scifi vein, though less cyberpunk, I also like Patlabor and Patlabor 2 (which can be watched separately; they're stand-alone stories really), and Stink Bomb (which is the second chapter of Memories).
posted by robcorr at 4:38 PM on November 30, 2016 [1 favorite]

Anime in general is pretty explainy, and the dialogue is pretty on the nose. I sometimes feel like there's either a cultural difference there, or something that gets lost in translation, because it's so common, and the overly direct dialogue is a thing I see in non-anime Japanese film a lot too, so I don't think it's just that it's badly written dialogue in anime. Then again, the newer dub of Akira makes the dialogue a lot better and more natural-sounding to western ears, I think, so who knows.

Akira is less angsty and definitely a lot less boob-filled than GitS. But I love GitS, for all its warts, as a pretty great piece of science fiction, so I might not be the right person to ask.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 5:57 PM on November 30, 2016 [2 favorites]

Space Coyote: there was this 'making of'-type video that our local Blockbuster had next to it that wasn't restricted

Is this it? It's a 48 minute documentary dubbed in English, and it looks like it gets into the animation and artwork a great deal. If you want to hear more from Otomo on his creations, here's a 30 minute subtitled documentary for Memories, his follow-up "omnibus" animated feature. It doesn't get into the same detail, but it's a fun documentary.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:35 PM on November 30, 2016

Wow. That channel is an Internet treasure. This Darjeeling Limited analysis in particular made my day. Thanks for linking.
posted by rufb at 8:43 AM on December 1, 2016

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