I am Tetsuo
April 13, 2007 1:49 AM   Subscribe

Akira2019: a fan-site devoted to the classic Japanese manga and anime, offering up production cels, background info on the ground-breaking digital coloring technique used in the Epic translation, images, and film music.
posted by Blazecock Pileon (26 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
If you saw this movie like most people, in the 90s on crappy VHS quality and the original dubbing, I highly suggest getting the DVD version. It came out in the late 90's/early 2000's, and is much better. The animation is clean and crisp, and they did a rewrite of the script (the original English translation was pretty lame) with all new voice talent. The DVD version is almost like a different movie--I don't think any scenes were edited/added, though I could be wrong.
posted by zardoz at 2:07 AM on April 13, 2007

Those images are begging to be put on a t-shirt...

And, expanding on what zardoz has said, if you ever get a chance to see this in a theatre, go. There's nothing like seeing the gigantic oozing baby as big as God and twice as ugly on the big screen.
posted by lekvar at 2:14 AM on April 13, 2007

Akira! Yes! I've got the VHS, but I've been meaning to get the DVD for some time now. And now, even more so!

Great post!
posted by soundofsuburbia at 2:33 AM on April 13, 2007

Thank you. I've been looking for a decently sized scan of the "they're just like candy" image for ages.
posted by juv3nal at 2:58 AM on April 13, 2007

I just recently saw this again on DVD and was blown away by how well it has held up. I first saw it about fifteen years ago on VHS and then a few years later at an arthouse cinema (an incredible experience). Some of the scenes were so mind-blowingly detailed (while still swooping furiously fast) that it was very hard to get up the next day and keep drawing...
posted by Slothrop at 3:17 AM on April 13, 2007

I dunno. man. Me an' my brother grew to love "Hey Kaneda, they took your bike!" "No way! My bike?" on the old VHS version, and listening to everyone call him "Canada" on the DVD version wasn't so easy to get used to... I got a soft spot for that old, cheesy dub.
posted by furiousthought at 3:31 AM on April 13, 2007 [1 favorite]

posted by tehloki at 3:39 AM on April 13, 2007 [2 favorites]

posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 3:40 AM on April 13, 2007 [2 favorites]

Just wanted to get that over with. Carry on.
posted by tehloki at 3:46 AM on April 13, 2007

The DVD is another movie, with the new VO/translation.
I suppose I'm fused to loving the earlier dub, but there's no denying that the retreatment made the movie itself all the more glorious.
it finally got me to watch it in Japanese.
posted by Busithoth at 5:34 AM on April 13, 2007

oh, and Fantastic post. I just found my AKIRA movie poster, back from original release. This movie really has a special place in my thoracic area.
posted by Busithoth at 5:37 AM on April 13, 2007

Yeah, I was at the NYC premiere of the Akira rerelease, with about a dozen friends, and we were loving it.

The one thing I most appreciated about the redub (other than no longer having to stop visualizing the characters turning into turtles trained in the martial arts) was a scene that, in the original dub, made no sense at all. You see Kaneda get on a motorcycle and drive it into a wall, where it explodes. No explaning, no context, no clue what the hell he was doing. In the redub, he gets on the bike and starts driving, and someone yells, "Kaneda, what are you doing?" Kaneda replies, "Sending him his wheels!"

Apparently, the motorcycle belonged to a now-dead member of the motorcycle gang. Suddenly, that scene made sense to me after YEARS. And I owned Akira for a long, long time - I had the Criterion Collection LASERDISK, until my laserdisk player died screaming and I sold it for a good chunk of cash.

The music remains incredible, even after all these years. And yet a lot of it is tied into the movie through the memories. The marimba-style instrumentals with the chant of 'ra-se-ra ra-se-ra ra-se-ra-se-ra-se-ra' over it? Everyone who's seen Akira recognizes it immediately.
posted by mephron at 6:29 AM on April 13, 2007


Best score ever.
posted by fidgets at 6:29 AM on April 13, 2007

Apparently, the motorcycle belonged to a now-dead member of the motorcycle gang

I didn't get this either, until I re-read the first six or so issues of the AKIRA comic, where Kaneda does something similar with Yamagata's bike  — it's a kind of funeral pyre for him, after he is killed by Tetsuo.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:36 AM on April 13, 2007

mephron, that line did clarify the same thing to me. I just thought Kaneda was pissed.

The first soundtrack I got was the import. Inexplicably it consists of a number of 4-12 minute clips from the movie, with in Japanese. Not what I was expecting. When I finally got the western version of the soundtrack, I began making mixed tapes for people at an alarming rate.

[and, for the record, NOTHING beats riding into NYC listening to Kaneda's theme as you pass Co-op city.]
posted by Busithoth at 6:42 AM on April 13, 2007

When I saw the original release with friends, we were marveling over many things already mentioned, and one more: the clouds. Katsuhiro must've had a whole department doing nothing but clouds...

Thanks, Blazecock.
posted by jiawen at 6:45 AM on April 13, 2007

I was going to come and post: "Tetsuo!! Kanedaaa!! Tetsuo!! Kanedaaa!!" You can't imagine how happy I am to see someone already has. Good job MetaFilter.
posted by chunking express at 7:02 AM on April 13, 2007

Here's another who's oddly attached to the seedy, 80s, faded skeevy t-shirt dub that was the original VHS version, tracking-lines and faded colours and all. That said, this is a good reminder to pick up the new DVD version. So thanks!
posted by Drexen at 8:34 AM on April 13, 2007

I have the special edition DVD and it really is kick ass. Not that I didn't enjoy watching the film on VHS, but the DVD is something else.
posted by chunking express at 8:37 AM on April 13, 2007

The new DVD may have a better translation but I lament the loss of this line from the Colonel:

"Men, we're going to the Olympics!"
posted by smoothvirus at 8:43 AM on April 13, 2007

The very first time I saw this movie was at a con (evecon '94 to be precise). They showed it late on the second day, so I had been awake for about 48 hours at that point. It was fantabulous in my sleep deprived state.

I want to see the redubbed version, but I fear missing the wonderful voices from the "original" that I had seen so long ago.

*goes off to listen to the soundtrack blaringly loud in cubicle*
posted by daq at 9:00 AM on April 13, 2007

The new DVD may have a better translation but I lament the loss of this line from the Colonel:

"Men, we're going to the Olympics!"
posted by smoothvirus at 11:43 AM on April 13 [+]

I really detested the loss of "They don't teach tact at the Academy" and "Memories and short!"
posted by Busithoth at 9:18 AM on April 13, 2007

What a very nice site, thank you for the post!

Akira is a movie that I didn't really comprehend when I first viewed it in my adolescence, I appreciated the artwork tremendously but up until that viewing the most interesting anime I had seen was the very mindless Ninja Scroll. I suppose I wasn't prepared for that level of symbolism in an animated work so I was not very receptive to the nuances of the dialog and the various digressions made throughout the story line, plus I was too immature not to laugh at the pale skinned psycho kinetic research subjects, whose voices I could not quite get over at the time...

If you have some spare change and you're as obsessed with the artwork in this film as I have come to be you may want to check out the work of Tatsuyuki Tanaka who was the main layout/concept artist for a lot of the feature scenes in Akira. There's a compilation of random pieces he has done in a volume called Cannabis Works that you can find online for around $30, one of my favorite coffee table books.
posted by prostyle at 9:58 AM on April 13, 2007

Blazecock: thanks, I couldn't remember his name.

Smoothvirus: yeah, that was one of the great "wait, what?!" lines of the movie, and it is missed. Too bad they couldn't leave it in...
posted by mephron at 10:42 AM on April 13, 2007

I feel sorry for American kids now growing up surrounded by anime and manga, because they'll never have the experience of seeing Akira for the first time, completely unprepared for the ass-kicking awesomeness about to be unleashed on you from an alien culture.
posted by empath at 11:10 AM on April 13, 2007

empath: I'm pretty sure classic films like Akira and Ghost in the Shell will always be mind-blowingly awesome. They've never lost their appeal for me... it's like Akira is the "Casablanca" of anime.
posted by tehloki at 11:05 PM on April 13, 2007

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