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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An absolute Masterpiece
To call Akira a piece of 'classic' Manga would be a serious insult. This isn't just a piece of Manga history that has found its way into the hearts of millions - this is Manga incarnate. Without Akira it's very possible that us Westerners would never have got to see a single Manga film!
This was a massive hit over here and off the back of this landmark piece other...
Published on 2 Feb 2003 by martin_clark005

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25 of 29 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Almost, but not quite ultimate
Well what can i say about Akira that hasn't already written. It really is one of the greatest films ever made. I remember when it first appeared as part of the inital wave of anime released by Manga Video back in the mid nineties and i absolutley loved it. The dubbing was ok compared to a lot of other early efforts, but its the storyline and animation that really pull you...
Published on 21 Feb 2004 by thequimrider


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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An absolute Masterpiece, 2 Feb 2003
This review is from: Akira [DVD] (DVD)
To call Akira a piece of 'classic' Manga would be a serious insult. This isn't just a piece of Manga history that has found its way into the hearts of millions - this is Manga incarnate. Without Akira it's very possible that us Westerners would never have got to see a single Manga film!
This was a massive hit over here and off the back of this landmark piece other Manga titles began to flow. And you know what? This is still better than most of them! The vibrant colours of the breathtaking Tokyo cityscape and the crisp sharp images that assault the mind show up most other films of its kind to date. This is something that has been improved on further still with this DVD that features a remastered picture as well as sound.
The soundtrack in particular makes this a worthwhile purchase on its own - even if you do already own the film. The music is, as ever, superb in Akira but the entire English dub has been completely redone for this special edition to give you speech that is not only good but also very convincing.
The story is something of a testament to the whole Manga name. It delivers all the usual themes but still manages to keep you firmly in its grasp right up until the explosive ending. Akira revolves around a group of bikers who stumble across a government run testing program that is trying to unleash (and control) psychic powers. Powers that lie dormant in all human beings - Unfortunately for them their latest subject and gang member Tetsuo becomes a little bit unstable to say the least. The result is some explosive animation and a deserved two-disc set.
After seeing some other fantastic two-disc sets this package may be a bit of a let down to the compulsive DVD buyer. The film alone is well worth a purchase with its remastered sound and picture but the extras aren't quite as forthcoming as you might expect from such a cult piece of Manga. The second disc contains all of the goodies but you get the distinct feeling that everything could've fitted onto one disc.
Having said that, big fans of the film should not be disappointed by the 'Production Report'. Basically a making-of documentary, this runs for 50 minutes and includes an obscene amount of behind-the-scenes footage. You get to see the offices where Akira was made (an amazing feat!) and scenes from the film being sketched out. Not to mention interviews with the voice artists, real artists and director.
It's the rest of the second disc that really destroys the whole package. The gallery, although extensive, is fairly pointless and the 'create your own trailer' feature is pretty much a joke when put next to discs like Men In Black. However, Akira is still one amazing piece of work and this is one of those cases where you should buy regardless of the extras. Even the non-Manga types usually enjoy Akira and this DVD is sure to win over many more to the ways of Japanese animation. Buy it now, sit back and enjoy the holocaust.
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43 of 45 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars For many of us, the first., 27 Jun 2011
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.
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74 of 78 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Shame about the subtitles, 11 Sep 2003
By 
R. Stevens "TechAddict" (London, Wimbledon) - See all my reviews
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I don't intend to offer a full review here, just make a couple of remarks regarding this version of the film. I originally bought the collector's edition of Akira when it first came out on VHS. I love the film and it is as good as its reputation, so if you've never seen it and are hesitating about buying it, go right ahead.
But just a few words for those hardcore Manga fans out there regarding this particular release. If, like me, you prefer watching the original language versions of Manga films you may want to think twice about the Ultimate Collection. Why? Well, there's only one English subtitle track and it's for the hearing impared. This means that, along with the dialog, you get a load of little notes regarding what sort of background sounds accompany the scene, which is, frankly, as annoying as hell. Take the opening, for example, with the dramatic shot across the crater, you're just getting into the mood of the film when up pops "[wind blowing]" along the bottom of the screen. This sort of thing spoils the atmosphere of the film, especially when you can hear the wind blowing for yourself. I'm not saying there shouldn't be comments for the hearing impared, I'm saying that there should be the option to have regular subtitles as well, without all the little sound effect comments.
Second issue; one of the selling points of the re-mastered version is the new translations. Sadly, though some parts of the dialog are much better and flow more naturally, many other parts lose out. The original had more 'peotic' phrasing in some areas where the new version sounds cold and awkward. For example, where the orginal version wonders whether Akira's power might be "divine", the new version wonders if it "comes from God". On the whole I prefer the original text. Once again I am commenting on the subtitles, I'm afraid I still can't bear watching the dubbed version of the film (even this "improved" version) - it is still not anywhere near as good as the original Japanese voice acting.
Aside from the niggles regarding translation and subtitles, the image quality is very good, I've finally rediscovered the subtelties in colour shades and crisp image I experienced when I first saw the film in the cinema, both of which were sadly lacking from the VHS version.
So, does this version merit the "Ultimate Collection" tag? I'd say close, but not quite...
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "They shut the lid of the Pandora's Box they themselves had opened.", 24 Nov 2011
By 
@GeekZilla9000 "I am completely operational a... (Doncaster, Yorkshire, UK.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Akira [Blu-ray] [1988] (Blu-ray)
Nobody does post-apocalyptic like the Japanese, it's ingrained in their culture. Always aware of their fragility through a long history of natural disasters such as earthquakes and tsunamis, along with being the victim of both atomic bombs - it has influenced their cinematic output for decades. Akira is inseparably Japanese which is why I feel like tearing my retinas out when I read about the American film version, anyway...

Currently the introduction to animated Japanese film is likely to be through a (rather sublime) Studio Ghibli title such as Spirited Away or the upcoming Arrietty, but for those of my generation chances are such exposure was though Akira - the cyberpunk classic based on the epic manga of the same name. The film starts with an awe-inspiring sequence; the vast metropolis of Tokyo is seen from above and then an explosive force expands to engulf the city, the shockwave destroying everything it touches, the cataclysmic scale enhanced by the absolute silence. The film picks up 31 years after World War Three, in Neo Tokyo.

The first time I watched Akira I was about 11 years old and it blew me away, up until then the animation I had seen had always been for kids, in Japan animation is a medium which isn't limited to younger audiences and doesn't suffer the prejudices of western culture where it is often dismissed as something just for children. Akira tells the story of a gang leader who tries to understand what has happened to his friend who appears to have been contaminated by some force and is growing in strength and power. This isn't a superhero film though and we come to learn of the Godlike Akira who may (or may not) have been a primary trigger of World War Three. This is a complex film covering mature themes, containing breath-taking imagery with beautiful cityscapes which capture the grime and crime of any city alongside the sumptuous electric glow of urban lights. Having read the original manga before watching the film this time, I was able to appreciate the story more, the film compacts a pretty hefty series of books into a two hour film and there are obviously some parts which have been cut but the central elements are there. The books have a more epic feel to them but Akira author and artist Katsuhiro Otomo also directed this film so the original vision is preserved, the differences between the two however mean that those who enjoy the film can then pick up the manga to experience an expanded version of the story. Akira plays on public fears about uncontrollable powers hanging over our lives, never knowing if our safety will be compromised by a force we don't fully understand - something which always resonates as relevant, especially in the current political climate where public paranoia is used as a tool by politicians and media alike.

This Blu-Ray release may surprise some as the picture isn't as clean as you might expect. Scratches and specks are often present but as far as I can recall these have been present on the DVD releases I've seen. If these are on the original source material then I'd rather they remain than have aggressive digital cleaning smear away any detail, such marks are obvious on darker areas of the screen but they don't distract from the main picture. There are also inconsistencies with a few scenes which are less sharp than others - again it doesn't detract from the overall film and I'm only mentioning them because with Blu-Ray we often assume we are going to see a blemish free picture, but the film wasn't made with Blu-Ray in mind. This is definitely a significant improvement over the DVD though, the colours in Akira have always been vibrant but on this release they are particularly bright with reds and the electric lights I always associate with the film bringing an energy to the screen. In Akira there are no quickly drawn backgrounds, the level of detail is incredible with buildings and vehicles looking more like the pages of the books than ever before, being able to see all the extra hand drawn features which weren't visible in previous releases is reason enough to purchase this on Blu-Ray. The extras aren't as impressive as I'd have hoped, they are certainly less extensive than the special edition DVD I used to have (that even came with stickers!) so completists may want to keep hold of their DVDs.

In a nutshell: Anime could be crudely divided into two eras - Pre and Post Akira; it was responsible anime being taken seriously in the West, and introduced new levels of artistic quality which remain a strong influence today. For those new to Akira then the ambitious scope could be overwhelming as so much is condensed into 2 hours - but it is never guilty of dumbing down the story or giving clumsy exposition. The film easily deserves 5 stars, if I could dock half a star for the bonus features then I would - but it's not an option. This is a seminal piece of cinema which I'm relieved to say is as impressive to me now in my thirties as it was when I was eleven.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The most inspiring, original Masterpeice of Manga., 31 Jan 2004
By 
Teddyswoes (England, Luton) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Akira [DVD] (DVD)
Truth is, this is the first film of Manga/Anime entertainment you SHOULD be buying with your cold hard cash. It is stunning. It is explosive. And it packs a mean punch, Akira is the King of all Manga if you ask me. Easily the best. The story plot is gripping, and original, it starts with it being a normal night in the city of Tokyo, but someone is on the run! A man with a strange looking child (you'lll find out why he looks so wierd at the end) are being chased by the military and bloodhounds. Once they are caught and the man is shot (in the most goriest way possible) the child escapes and it doesn't get more worse for Tokyo there on. Kaneda and Tetsuo, two of the most popular memebers of a bike gang are seen chasing a rival bike gang ('The Clowns') on the highway and the strange looking kid is colided with Tetsuo in a bike accident. Tetsuo from that point on is been put in hospital and is also DNA research for the scientists. The story gets VERY complex and confusing as it progresses, it mainly revolves around Kaneda and Tetsuo, oh, and a girl who Kaneda falls in love with (wouldn't be complete without romance would it?) this film has got everything you want for anime even if you think it does have its tedious moments here and there, but then what film doesn't, eh? The ending is very clever, although I had to watch it 6 or so more times to actually understand it. The extra's are quite good, could've been a bit better (and more interesting) but good nonetheless. Above all, the movie is incredible so 5 stars it deserves!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Anime, 28 Mar 2007
By 
T. R. Alexander (East Anglia, UK) - See all my reviews
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Akira was one of the first anime films to become popular in the West and was way ahead of its time in animation and has a great, if complicated, storyline. The film takes place in Neo Tokyo where a biker gang gets mixed up with covert military experiments. The experiments lead to one of the gangs members gaining new powers he is unable to control and as the city descends into chaos the gangs leader must do what he can for his friend. Akira is a giant of anime and there are few such films released since that do not owe something to this great film. If the film has a weakness it is that the storyline is quite complex and does apparently leave a lot out that was in the original manga, but this is inevitable when such a large amount of source material is distilled into a two hour film. At the end of the day Akira is a must watch for anyone interested in anime.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best anime films ever created, 21 Mar 2007
By 
Lydia Hartley "xLydx" (Bournemouth, UK) - See all my reviews
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I remember being recommended Akira a few times before I actually bothered to watch it - and blimey - I was NOT disappointed!

The plot and general style of the film was very much ahead of it's time. Some of the action sequesnces are just mind-blowing.

This is the kind of film that leaves you thinking for days after you've watched it. I'd recommend it to anyone.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Animation at it's best., 15 Aug 2011
By 
Dale A. Haines "master_ice" (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Akira [DVD] (DVD)
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This film, created in 1988, set the genre of of animated sci-fi cyber punk on it's upward rise to the films that are manga-maniacs joys of today.
It's set in Tokyo or rather Neo-Tokyo in 2019 (not so far off now) and follows the events concerning Tetsuo Shima, a member of a biker gang involved in intergang warfare.
To quote from wiki " While most of the character designs and basic settings were adapted from the original 2182-page manga epic, the restructured plot of the movie differs considerably from the print version, pruning much of the last half of the manga. The film became a hugely popular cult film and is widely considered to be a landmark in Japanese animation and film making in general."
The plot would take almost as long to try to condense and type out as it would to watch the film: a film that is disturbing in it's bleakness and dark depths in a way that only animation can often be.
If you are not an aficionado of animation then this is probably not for you. Likewise if you don't go much on sci-fi but if you like both these as well as Japanese manga comics then this film really is one you should watch. It's a couple of hours long but I found that no problem when I first ever saw it some years back. I still liked it some 20 years on.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Visually stunning cult classic., 8 Aug 2011
By 
E. E. Hughes (Wiltshire, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Akira [DVD] (DVD)
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I had been meaning to watch this film for a very long time. It is often considered one of the best sci-fi films of all time and has a huge cult following.

I opted to watch the film with English subtitles, although there was the option to see it dubbed also. There is not much in the way of extras on the DVD, however you could see various trailers as well as a behind-the-scenes with interviews.

There is a lot of gratuitous violence throughout the film, so although this is a "cartoon" I would recommend paying attention to the 15 rating if you have children.

The biggest strength of the film is the visuals, which are stunning. The depiction of Neo-Tokyo is brilliant and really shows the vast scale of the city. Action in the film is also really well portrayed, with the fight scenes and bike racing really having a lot of energy and movement. It was really hard to believe whilst watching it that it was made in 1988! I can understand that it really set the bar when it came out, as there is so much anime that is released now that does not have a patch on Akira visually.

Unfortunately the plot and dialogue does not match up to the same quality. Although I understood what was happening it was never explained to a satisfactory level why certain things were happening. I just found that certain choices and events did not make sense as to why they were happening. This hampered my enjoyment somewhat as I found it quite frustrating.

I would heartily recommend this to anyone who likes anime, sci-fi and action films.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars incredible animation on blu ray, 20 July 2009
By 
Ms. L. J. Morford "home theater geek" (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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this is an awesome anime! now we can get it on Blu Ray which is even better! the sound quality is superb, you hear way more detail, picture quality is great too, there are slight flaws in it like a bit of blur in some scenes, it's in Japanese true HD 5.1 and English True HD 5.1, this is definetly a must for Akira fans, plus it's region free so don't worry if you haven't got a multi-region player, it will play :D
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