2019 Neo-Tokyo is about to E.X.P.L.O.D.E.
January 1, 2019 11:54 AM   Subscribe

Akira, the legendary 1982 manga and 1988 anime film (IMDB), takes place this year, before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics ("147 days to the Opening Ceremonies"), a coincidence that didn't elude the attention of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government during an event three years ago.

Washington Post: Why the pioneering Japanese anime ‘Akira’ is still relevant 30 years later


The Akira live action movie (previously, in 2011) appears to be building up steam, with Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi currently slated to direct. Good news though: Waititi announced that he would cast Asian teenagers in the movie.

"Yeah. Actually Asian teenagers would be the way to do it for me and probably no, not, like no name, I mean sort of unfound, untapped talent. Yeah, I'd probably want to take it a bit back more towards the books."

Taika Waititi Is Still Trying To Get His Head Around Adapting 'Akira' Into A Live-Action Movie

"I haven’t really started to get my head around it yet. What I wanted to do was an adaptation of the books, ’cos a lot of people are like, ‘Don’t touch that film!’ and I’m like, ‘I’m not remaking the film, I want to go back to the book.’ A lot of the people freaking out haven’t even read the books, and there are six gigantic books to go through. It’s so rich. But (the anime) Akira is one of my favourite films; my mum took me to see it when I was 13 and it changed my life."

Previously on the blue was the really neat "Awaken Akira" conceptual fan trailer.

There was also some other sci-fi movie that took place in 2019.
posted by gucci mane (30 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
 
TETSUOOOO!
posted by Fizz at 11:54 AM on January 1 [26 favorites]


KANEDAAA!
posted by Ron Thanagar at 11:59 AM on January 1 [26 favorites]




There was also some other sci-fi movie that took place in 2019.

In addition to Akira and Blade Runner, The Running Man also took place in the year 2019.
posted by Fizz at 12:55 PM on January 1 [4 favorites]


I hope any live action version will have such an awesome soundtrack.

Just in case: Bwana - Capsule's Pride (Akira) is a worthy set of remixes.
posted by zengargoyle at 1:03 PM on January 1 [3 favorites]


The Akira live action movie appears to be building up steam

haha oh fuck off
or
ScarJo would make a great transgender Tetsuo!
posted by glonous keming at 1:13 PM on January 1 [3 favorites]


Actually let's be reasonable... Western audiences would be confused by two male characters struggling for prominence in the story, so let's combine Tetsuo and Kaneda's character into one, and we'll call him Steve for simplicity, and he's from Topeka, Kansas.

Biker gangs aren't really hot right now so why don't we go with rival gangs of illegal street car racers, and that will allow us much more lucrative product placement opportunities.

Also the psychic numbers kids are just too weird for modern boxoffice tastes so I'm thinking change them into zombies? Yeah, we'll go with zombies.

With one one male lead there's no need for two females so Kaori and Kei can just be combined as well, or even better, written out of the plot completely.

We'll get Dwayne Johnson to play the Colonel.

Yep, Hollywood's take on Akira. Ship it.
posted by glonous keming at 1:22 PM on January 1 [8 favorites]


* elude
posted by Barack Spinoza at 1:35 PM on January 1 [4 favorites]


A remake is not a bad idea. I second what Waititi said, that the source material, the manga is so rich and dense that you could easily make a completely different movie by taking a few different tacks. Great that he wants to use an Asian cast, but of course it'll be strange that they speak English and not Japanese, though you can get around that with some clever screenwriting tricks and hand waving.

Also, if you only watched Akira before 2002 or so, I highly recommend the remastered version released around that time. Not just remastered, but a new English script, new voice actors, etc. It's a major improvement over the original English script, which was apparently a rush job, and that shows.
posted by zardoz at 1:47 PM on January 1 [3 favorites]


Daybreakers and The Island were also set in 2019.
posted by kokaku at 1:54 PM on January 1 [2 favorites]


So much for spending less money in the new year! Just added the manga and blu-ray to my wishlist.
posted by feersum endjinn at 1:56 PM on January 1 [1 favorite]


* elude

Is it too much of a stretch to retroactively say I was going for this definition of allude: (of an artist or a work of art) recall (an earlier work or style) in such a way as to suggest a relationship with it.

😬
posted by gucci mane at 2:07 PM on January 1 [3 favorites]


In addition to Akira and Blade Runner, The Running Man also took place in the year 2019.

Redesignating as “Steampunk” per rules.
posted by Artw at 2:20 PM on January 1 [2 favorites]


Interesting that Akira is regarded almost add something hallowed now, because I recall a decidedly more mixed reception to the movie back in the day. I mean yes it was beautiful, but so much of the characterization and nuances of the manga were lost. The entire large section of the manga that was about Buddhism was lost, meaning the movie lost a lot of the philosophical underpinning of the story.

That said, Akira the manga would be incredibly difficult to makema movie of. It would need to be a duology or trilogy on the scale of Lord of the Rings, and I don't know if it can. Be done.
posted by happyroach at 2:42 PM on January 1


I hope any live action version will have such an awesome soundtrack.

Yes.
If not gamelan, then at least something as completely different from anything else as the original soundtrack.

One thing I always liked is that the group behind the soundtrack was apparently made up of non-professional musicians, as far as I can tell (I can't read their website and I haven't come across a source that goes into detail on that point).
posted by trig at 3:44 PM on January 1 [1 favorite]


the movie lost a lot of the philosophical underpinning of the story.

That's pretty much what movies do, though.
posted by scruss at 5:13 PM on January 1 [1 favorite]


TETSUOOOO!
posted by Fizz


KANEDAAA!
posted by Ron Thanagar


Kaori... help... meeeeee
posted by Ghidorah at 5:28 PM on January 1 [10 favorites]


I finally got around to reading the books last year - it is, indeed, immense with LOTS of additional room to play. eg, you could totally do a film centered on the time /after/ neo tokyo explodes, with gangs warring for supremacy over the wastes, and child-god-king Akira coming to power...
posted by kaibutsu at 5:39 PM on January 1


plus the books blow up Neo-Tokyo two or three times - it like a series reboot
posted by kokaku at 5:56 PM on January 1 [2 favorites]


Kaori... help... meeeeee

*Squish!*
posted by Artw at 6:17 PM on January 1 [2 favorites]


The books... may be a little over stuffed, TBH.
posted by Artw at 6:18 PM on January 1


Great that he wants to use an Asian cast, but of course it'll be strange that they speak English and not Japanese

That's like filming Ben Hur, The Three Musketeers or Snow White in English instead of Latin/Aramaic, French and German, which last time I checked was what Hollywood did routinely.
posted by sukeban at 8:59 PM on January 1 [5 favorites]


a new English script, new voice actors, etc. It's a major improvement over the original English script, which was apparently a rush job, and that shows.

For all that the “new” one might be more naturalistic or faithful to the source material or whatever, I remember when I first watched it I missed a lot of the hokiness of the New York accents etc. in the earlier version.
posted by juv3nal at 11:46 PM on January 1


Shut up! (slap) Shut up! (slap) Shut up! (slap)

was the one scene that I always thought worked way better in English, and in the original dub. If that winds up in the live-action movie, I'll be a happy camper.
posted by fnerg at 1:06 AM on January 2 [1 favorite]


Yeah, if the new version‘s Kaneda doesn’t sound like a ninja turtle I’m just not interested.
posted by Space Coyote at 1:21 AM on January 2


Biker gangs aren't really hot right now so why don't we go with rival gangs of illegal street car racers, and that will allow us much more lucrative product placement opportunities.

The Fast & The Furiously Mutating Into A Massive Psychic Abomination
posted by EndsOfInvention at 7:12 AM on January 2 [3 favorites]


I've seen both, and I miss two lines from the original dub in the redub:

"Well, the least you could do is tell me your name!" (followed by an explosion in the police building)

and

"Men! We're going to the Olympics!"

The fact they explained why Kaneda drove a motorcycle into a wall in the redub, thought, I was glad of.

In 1995 I had the chance to speak with Carl Macek at a convention, and he made some good points: he didn't have a lot of money, he did the best he could, and people in the US liked what he did. He did Robotech out of the three series because he needed the number of episodes for the sales. And he was leaving all the music in the Megazone 23 series alone, leaving it inJapanese, because he felt he couldn't get a singer to redo it in English and keep the emotional resonances that would carry over even if you didn't understand Japanese. He was much more complex than many people - myself before that conversation included - gave him credit for, and his goals were make money so that he could bring things over that no one had seen before because he thought they were cool.
posted by mephron at 8:55 AM on January 2 [7 favorites]


one of the things that really made the original was the soundtrack - i would say (completely my personal opinion, not some sort of objective assessment) one of the best OST’s of all time! if the new akira’s soundtrack can measure up to the original’s that by itself would be an incredible accomplishment
posted by LeviQayin at 10:55 AM on January 2


Shit, I thought that project was dead.
posted by SageLeVoid at 11:29 AM on January 2 [2 favorites]


/snakepliskin.gif
posted by Artw at 1:58 PM on January 2


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