The first Anime movie that left us with our jaws on the floor, our eyes melting and looking for more. Sure, we had G Force and the Japanese/French Animated Cities of Gold, not to mention Dogtanion. But, aside from looking a bit alike and being strangely appealing, a connection to a wider market was mostly never made. When Akira came out I was in my teens and drifting away from "cartoons", but when I got taken along to my local arthouse to see Akira for the first time I abandonded "cartoons" completely and my love for Anime began - I owe it all to Akira.
Firstly, the steelbook is gorgeous and only 10,000 made. Inside we have the movie on Bluray and DVD, coupled with a 32 page collectors booklet. The booklet goes in depth on the sound of Akira, its impact, expression and so on. For a mere 32 pages make no mistake, it isn't a light read but rather something you can get your teeth into.
I have to mention that nobody involved in Akira's making thought it would be a success, as a result most of the original prints were destroyed, or ended up in the hands of overseas collectors. The last time I saw Akira in the cinema (many moons ago) it was an absolute mess and falling to bits. Which makes the work done here all the more impressive. There is a bit of debris over the print, the usual black and white flecks but nothing too distracting from your sofa. The colours reflect the original print and are nice and clear. The animation also holds up well with no jagged edges or wavering. By and large blacks are handled well also. To be honest from a picture point of view I think it's a triumph, it has its flaws but many of them will be inherent from the source and the era in which it was made.
Sound quality (True HD 5.1) is very good and captures the Akira soundtrack superbly. This release still has the new revised Akira dub that they added years ago. It may be more accurate but to be honest I did prefer the original cast, and it would have been nice to have both English audio tracks, even if the latter was just in 2.0. Japanese Dub is present and correct and as energetic as ever. Finally we have the subtitles, which are Japanese and English: closed captioned, or dubtitles if you will. I know some will be bothered by the latter and others wont. I'm not fussed personally but some people will be and it deserves a mention.
Final verdict: The movie gets 5 stars, but the bluray overall can perhaps just scrape a 4 at best. Picture quality and sound ive no problems with, I mean it's not Pixar/Ghibli quality but given the problems I mentioned above it was never going to be. But this - its original theatrical run aside - is easily the best Akira has ever looked and sounded, so its worth the purchase for that alone. The only downside is every other area (bar packaging of course), it's presented as a 'Collectors Edition' yet it is missing so much, even old extras from the R1 Ultimate edition would have been welcome. And I personally would have found an in depth featurette on the remastering process essential viewing, but alas it's just a few trailers (On the Bluray) and the Akira Production report (coupled onto the DVD) that we all saw years ago.
4 stars overall then I think is fair, It isn't an awful Bluray by any means, it just seems like a missed opportunity to provide us with the definitive edition a film of this quality deserves.