I am very keen to get hold of this but I haven't been able to find out which of the 2 english language dubs come on the Bluray. The original dub and the re-done one offer pretty significantly different experiences in my oppinion.
I bought the Ultimate Colectors DVD edition which came with both versions but the issue with that was that the weaker new dub came with re-done and vastly superior visuals where as the old dub (though still the best) came on the original print of the movie which has not aged well.
What I am really hoping is that the Bluray somehow includes the original English dub of the movie but with the HD visuals but none of the reviews I have found mention which English dub is on the bluray.
So far all the official reviews I have read say it is the 2001 Pioneer/Geneon English Dub on Blu-Ray. Too Bad!
Below is a response I wrote to a customer at amazon.com who was only interested in the STREAMLINE DUB.
I recommend the Region 4 Pal DVD for this audio track, The Region 1 NTSC DTS DVD Version if you are not bothered with all this blu-ray crap, the 2 disc NTSC Region 1 Special Edition if you like Bonus Content.
The Blu-Ray uses all available disc space for Hi-Def audio so there are no bonus features.
I have no intention of buying any Blu-ray equipment or discs until 7.1 Blu-ray home cinema systems are more readily available and at a reasonable price (I'd love to see and hear Star Trek TOS Seasons 1-3 in 7.1 audio and with hi-def picture). Simply put, No Blu-Ray of Akira for me!
TECHNICAL SPECS R1, R2 Re-Issue, R4 DVD
I have many copies of Akira on VHS and DVD (none on Blu-Ray Disc).
If your DVD player/recorder is multi-region here's my advice based on content:
1.) - THE STREAMLINE DUB
The Australian (Region 4) Distributor Madman Entertainment (the AV Channel and Madman were formerly seperate entities) http://www.madman.com.au/catalogue/view/1773/akira-special-edition has the best overall release on DVD. This single disc contains a PAL 25fps transfer of the 2001 remastered anamorphic widescreen version. Since they aquired Akira as Manga's Australian distribution partner this does include the CLASSIC STREAMLINE ENGLISH DUB syncronized to the remastered video - therefore this represents the clearest picture you will likely ever see for this version of the film (audio is as mixed originally for VHS - Dual Mono in other words left and right front sound channels only - no surround sound of any kind). In addition it includes the original Japanese theatrical Dolby stereo (DD2.0 surround), subtitling and New 2001 English dub as per the Pioneer/Geneon USA releases. Again Madman/Manga include the dubbed production report (usa one wasn't) as well as the Streamline English Trailer and a selection of Japanese Trailers. Remember all of this is on one single disc.
The (Region 2 PAL 25fps) Manga Entertainment UK re-release (avoid initial pressings which lacked the dub you seek) is presented in a cardboard outer case containing two single amaray cases. Disc 1 is the remastered 16:9 video with Pioneer dub and Japanese audio track (not recommended - this release as with many UK Manga titles of the time feature DUBTITLES). Disc 2 has a terrible 4:3 1.33:1 transfer of the film (VHS Source?) for the Classic dub you seek and the same extras as the superior region 4 version. UK Ver 1 Akira [DVD] UK Ver 2 Akira - The Ultimate Collection  [DVD] OR try ebay
The Pioneer (Region 1) DTS Release is stunning and I usually HATE DTS MOVIES (DTS is great for music videos or concerts though). DTS Japanese (mixed by the composer) and 2001 DD5.1 pioneer dub with realy good subs. Highly Recommended to anyone who does not have Blu-Ray. AKIRA DTS R1 USA http://www.amazon.com/Akira-DTS-Nozomu-Sasaki/dp/B00006LPEY/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=dvd&qid=1287349573&sr=1-1
3.) BONUS CONTENT
The double disc (Region 1) Pioneer/Geneon releases are extensive and exhaustive in their approach to exploring every aspect of production. I especially liked the capsule option on the movie disc that translated the graffiti and signs. I own two of these - Pioneer in tin box and the later Geneon re-issue. USA 2 disc (Bonus) Akira (2pc) (Ws Spec) [DVD]  [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] USA 2 Disc (Bonus) - from USA http://www.amazon.com/Akira-Nozomu-Sasaki/dp/B00005MAM2/ref=sr_1_3?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1287349375&sr=1-3 USA 2 Disc (Bonus with Tin) http://www.amazon.com/Akira-Limited-Special-Nozomu-Sasaki/dp/B00005BJPO/ref=sr_1_4?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1287349375&sr=1-4
OVERALL CONCLUSION - Buy the Region 4 DVD released back in November 2001 (MANV 5004) I buy direct from the distributor ( www.madman.com.au ) You could even switch between the dubs if you were bored. It really depends on wether you want to hear a former Ninja Turtle or a former Power Ranger in the cast. Shame about the Dual Mono mix on the Carl Macek produced original Dub though. Madman Australia both dubs remastered video 16:9 http://www.madman.com.au/catalogue/view/1773/akira-special-edition
I was going to order the Australian version and I just noticed that it states that it is Region 2 AND 4. Here's hoping!
I also just got the Ultimate Collection DVD - if all else fails I plan to try and splice the remastered video with the original English dub audio (using Handbrake). Hopefully it will sync with a bit of trimming.
I just checked my original 2001 Madman Australian DVD and it is region 4 only. They released an anime essentials version a few years later which was just the same disc in new packaging. The Madman website was redesigned about a year ago. I'm not sure if this was an erroneous entry on the page, but mine is confirmed as R4 only.
Why don't you buy a cheap Philips DVD or Blu-ray Player as these are generally simple to make multi-region via a 4 or 5 digit code entered only once (region 0 FREE) using the remote control.
Go to the dvd hacks section at videohelp dot com before buying to confirm a hack/code if available.
I ordered my Akira DVD directly from Madman. It looks fantastic!
Remember that they accept all major credit cards and once you have set up an account the cool thing is if Blu-ray is your thing the UK and Australia are both region B for hi-def releases.
I still haven't bothered with the format but if I did I'd trust the quality of their products.
Madman Interactive the commercial arm of the company has authored most UK anime and international film DVD releases over the past decade or so for Manga, MVM, Optimum, etc. In some cases these were bizarrely coded like the UK version of Evangelion Death and Rebirth which I am told was R1 (an NTSC region), 2 & 4 and other cases the UK and Australian DVDs were coded 2 and 4 but the distribution company logo and trailers were region specific. Made to order to the distributor's specifications.
The 2001 release of Akira MANV5004 is confirmed region 4 only which is fine if your Panasonic is fully multi region for the DVD format as well.
I cannot speak as to the RC on any reissues but generally the old discs are put in new packaging. I've never known madman to deviate from this practice in 10 years. Madman are honest about the coding on the back of the case. Perhaps there are pictures of this online. For example the earlier Dragon Ball Z DVDs varied in that some sets and volumes were region 4 only and others were dual coded for 2 and 4.
My copy of the Essential Anime edition of the 1980s Astro Boy contained the same region 4 discs as the more expensive collection (except the bonus disc that was not included).
This is strange since I set my old Philips DVD player back to region 2 without success and also put it in the PC DVD-Rom Drive and played with MPC to be informed Invalid DVD Region.
Thus proving there are either 2 versions or the site is wrong (I have the 2001 DVD MANV5004 as listed). With the use of DVD Region Free for testing purposes the software reported the disc as Region 4 only. The back of my Akira sleave only shows the region 4 symbol.
Are you sure Madman did not reissue Akira???
Otherwise they just looked at the website and reitterated the published info.
Like I said prior to the website redesign the stated region code was 4.
Akira Madman Entertainment/The AV Channel/Manga tripple audio track 1 disc Special Edition - Region 4 only. Cat No MANV5004 (13 November 2001).
Akira Pioneer/Geneon DTS DVD - Region 1 only Cat No: 11726 (03 December 2002)
Akira Pioneer/Geneon 2 disc Special Edition - Region 1 only. Note: limited tin boxed version is identical, single disc version identical to SE D1. Geneon and Pioneer - same company different name. Pioneer Laser Disc Corporation or Pioneer LDC is as far as I know now known as Geneon Universal Entertainment Japan. All Akira Pioneer Geneon discs are Region 1 only. Tin 2 disc Cat No 11537 (17 July 2001). Plastic Box/slipcover 2 disc Cat No 11568 (July 24 2001). Amaray 1 Disc Cat No UNKNOWN (24 July 2001, Geneon Signature Series reissue 06 January 2004)
Akira Ultimate Edition Discs 1 & 2 Manga - Regions 2 & 7 (one of those bizarre reserved regions noted on wikipedia as - Reserved for future use. Found in use on protected screener copies of MPAA-related DVDs and "media copies" of pre-releases in Asia). Cat No MANG2012 (23 June 2003)
Manga Akira UK 2002 2 disc Limited Edition Disc 1 (main feature) - REGION FREE (All Regions 1-8). Cat No MANG2003 (18 March 2002).
Manga Akira UK 2002 2 disc Limited Edition Disc 2 (production report and trailers/extras) - Regions 1-6. Cat No MANG2003 (18 March 2002).
UPDATE for DVD disc only: MANGA UK Akira The Collector's Edition (Blu-Ray/DVD/32 page booklet LTD STEELBOOK of 10,000 copies) - DVD Region 2 Only (27 June 2011). Collection Cat No MANG5219 (DVD Cat No MANG5055).
The Blu-ray disc (Blu-ray Cat No MANGB8005) is reported as region B locked although I cannot personally confirm this as I have not bothered upgrading to BD and refuse to do so until 7.1 sound systems are easier to obtain at a reasonable cost.
The 2011 UK DVD edition is NOT recommended. Manga still use DUBTITLES for Region 2. The 2001 Pioneer/Geneon Region 1 and Madman Region 4 DVD versions have the best subtitles we are likely to get here in the west for non-Japanese language speakers. The dubtitles are not terrible though as the Pioneer re-dub was a close attempt at translation in English, but still...
Please Note: The televised version shown here in Japanese by the BBC (on BBC2) many years ago is the superior subtitled version in my opinion. Hunt it down or ask fellow fans if they have it. Better than dubtitles!!
The 2011 DVD both gains and loses marks in the sound department. This single DVD disc has only the Pionner dub (this time in Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo surround) and gone is the 5.1 mix for the dub. The Japanese version is presented in both DD 2.0 & 5.1 options. Manga present the dubbed version of Akira: Production Report as an extra on the disc (created for the Streamline dub).
The 2011 Manga UK DVD disappoints. Madman (Region 4) still offers the best options overall on an amazing single disc DVD (both dubs and better subs).
Manga SHOULD have tried to create or licence content for a 3 disc collection with a feature DVD including Pioneer DD 5.1, Streamline DD 2.0 Dual Mono and Japanese DTS 5.1 with accurate subtitles for those of us who don't speak Japanese. Also, the R1 feature DVD had a capsule subtitle when the capsule appeared on-screen hitting the enter button would pause the movie and bring up a translation of any graffiti or signs. I'm just saying this would have been cool. Most of the bonus disc features from the previous R1 double DVD would have been welcomed (I loved the AKIRA SOUND CLIP documentary on the creation of the score sadly missing from DVD regions 2 & 4). Early reviews/reports suggest that the blu-ray just needs better subtitles. They (MANGA UK/STARZ) could have brought together the best of previous R1 & 4 DVD releases to make up for a bare-bones Blu-Ray.
REMEMBER: The US Blu-Ray is reported as being Region Free or UNLOCKED (A, B & C). Consider this before buying YET ANOTHER inferior Manga UK release for our territory.
This is normal. Although Madman is a large company there are times when stock of a specific item is low. The distribution division/arm of the company (formerly The AV Channel) undoubtedly has to 'order' new stock via those in the physical production side of things.
PLEASE NOTE: A few years ago I collected shows from Cartoon Network's Adult Swim on region 4 DVD. The website can show various messages for months from time to time. This should change to invoiced and dispatched eventually. Trust the dispatch email you received. Items generally used to take approximately 14 days to get to you.
PLEASE LET ME KNOW IF THE DISC IS A DUAL-CODED REISSUE. Please try it in somebody's region 2 coded dvd player or drive as your Panasonic is Multi-Region. Did you mean for both formats - DVD and Blu-Ray? My disc from 2001 (R4) starts up with the old-school copyright notice. This is an almost opaque madman logo as a background and a longer copyright notice than is used now (it mentions INTERPOL amongst other things). The current one is the notice anime fans in the UK often see on the majority of Manga/MVM releases with no background and large clear white text (NARUTO, etc). As previously stated my box and indeed the disc are clearly marked as R4 only - no R2 symbol anywhere.
If your disc is a reissue then I'll buy yet another copy of the film as it would then play on all UK R2 DVD/Blu-Ray machines and DVD-Rom Drives, etc. It'd be so much easier than requiring multi-region equipment or software.
I've included a few links you can copy for information on Blu-Ray Region Coding.
Please let me know via this forum if the R4 Akira plays in an R2 machine.
Panasonics I have seen upgraded are all R1-6 and Region 1 RCE compatible for DVD & still Region B only for Blu-ray.
My own Panasonic DVD players/recorders were unlocked using a rented remote rather than a mod-chip. It is perfectly legal to do so.
You should check to see if your Blu-ray/DVD is Region 1 RCE compliant.
Some older chipped machines had trouble with RCE but it should be fine now.
Those reset using remotes or firmware discs generally tell you before you buy an altered machine if Region Code Enhancement is taken care of.
Some DVDs (Dragnet, R2) may contain a different actual coded region so RCE (Region Code Enhancement) is in a very small number of cases a problem. I could not play Dragnet for this reason. RCE never really took off here. It was really an American thing.
In America Sony titles (Columbia Tristar Home Entertainment/Sony Pictures Home Entertainment) as well as Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment releases carry RCE. I am told later Disney/Buena Vista DVDs do as well. Since I have no problems, it makes no difference to my enjoyment of movies and TV.
Many of the websites I used to go to warned of RCE before buying. This was never an issue as all of my Panasonics were fine with US discs. At this point however I rarely see this notification anywhere not even on amazon so it looks like it is now a non-issue.
Your Panasonic will probably now allow RCE discs from the USA & Canada to play without a hitch.
Many Blu-Ray discs are region free (unlocked) especially from Warner Home Video.
The DVD arrived today! I wasn't really expecting it for another week or two.
Anyway, it seems you were correct. The disc case only has the Region 4 symbol on. I put the DVD into my PC and it says that the disc is R4 only. So the information on the Madman website is mis-leading.
Apparently I'm allowed to change my region code 4 more times - so I can change to R4, rip the DVD and then change it back to 2. Then I only have to make sure to NEVER lose my digital rip :)
I've have since bought the Funimation 25th Anniversary Edition (2013) 3 disc set containing two region 1 SD DVDs and the sadly Region A coded Blu-ray disc.
On the 2013 Funimation main feature DVD the Streamline dub appears to be in 2.0 Dolby Surround!!
22 years after Island World Communications/Manga video released the VHS of the dub I've finally heard a halfway decent presentation of the thing.
All Manga UK licenced products including Madman's 2001 Australian DVD had 2.0 stereo but were dual-mono (front left, front right sound channels only).
This ports over most of the extras from the 2001 Pioneer/Geneon DVD release including the sign translations from the capsule viewing option; this time as a stills gallery, but omits the Akira: Production Report entirely! The Production Report was dubbed on previous IWC VHS plus Manga & Madman DVD releases but in Japanese with English subtitles on the two disc Pioneer/Geneon DVD versions.
Once again ALL Manga UK DVD and Blu-ray versions feature DUBTITLES whereas the Pioneer/Geneon and Madman versions did not. I do not own the Honneamise/Bandai/Kodansha Blu-ray disc from 2009 so obviously have no idea if the subtitles were acceptable.
The current Funimation DVD seems fine to me. It's a shame the BD isn't coded for the UK.
I've just ordered the Madman 25th Anniversary Edition DVD/Blu-ray combo pack directly from them and will check the discs for content when they arrive. I'm unable to say how the Streamline dub sounds on that 2013 Australian Blu-ray release.
It should be here in a few weeks.
Australia is in DVD Region 4 but IS in Blu-ray Region B.
I just checked my Australian 2013 25th Anniversary Edition; Region B BD from Madman. For Blu-ray collectors in the UK this is the one to buy!
All they did was change the Region code. No Madman logo or Australian trailers.
This is otherwise a direct port/copy of the Funimation 25th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray disc (which is now Region B coded rather than the American version that was locked to Region A). Absolutely no other differences between them.
This means you should be able to enjoy the Streamline dub in Dolby TrueHD 2.0 Stereo (Dolby Stereo Surround mix) rather than the Dual-Mono (front left & front right speakers only) or even worse 1.0 DD Mono we've put up with in the UK for the last 23 years!
The subtitling is the best we'll ever likely see on physical media. The English subs for the Japanese soundtrack now pretty much match the excellent Pioneer/Geneon version and actually incorporate the signs and graffiti translations as well - absolutely amazing!! No more English SDH Dubtitles for us!
The signs and graffiti text is automatically selected as a separate subtitle track when you play an English dubbed version so you don't miss a thing.
You should buy any previous UK DVD version to get the Production Report that has been omitted from the BD (I'd choose the 2003 double disc Ultimate Collection for its second disc), then you're sorted; you should have everything an Akira fan could ever need in their physical media collection.
Akira 25th Anniversary Edition BD/DVD 2 disc set Madman (Australia) Catalogue No: MMA1988S Released: 04 December 2013 Region Code (s): B Blu-ray; 4 (locked) DVD Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 16:9 Anamorphic Widescreen (original theatrical ratio) Picture Format: 1080p 24fps AVC MPEG-4 Soundtrack(s): English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 (2001 Pioneer Dub) English Dolby TrueHD 2.0 Stereo (1988 Streamline Dub in Dolby Stereo Surround) Japanese Dolby TrueHD 5.1 (2009 Hypersonic Audio BD Remix) Subtitles: English Full (Japanese Literal Translation plus signs/graffiti); English signs/graffiti only
BD Bonus Features - Akira Sound Clip featurette (19:22) Director interview (29:11) Storyboard Collection [HD] (30:58) The Writing on the Wall English translation of graffiti [HD] 2 original trailers [HD] (3:11) 3 original commercials [HD] (1:22) Restoring Akira featurette (11:01) Glossary text of definitions for various terms used in the film 2013 US trailer [HD] (0:55) Also includes the booklet previously made available to UK fans in the DVD/BD Steelbook we got back in 2011.
UPC/EAN//APN 9322225199231 Note: The APN can be copied into eBay UK or Madman's website as a search term where it will direct you to any matching listings/product.