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76 of 80 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Shame about the subtitles
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...
Published on 11 Sep 2003 by R. Stevens

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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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76 of 80 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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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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Could this be the future?, 22 Nov 2003
This review is from: Akira [DVD] (DVD)
When it comes to anime, AKIRA is the film that defines the term classic. Even though it is not my favourite anime film, I acknowledge its greatness! The animation is perfect and there is no way you can tell this film was made in the 80s. The work these people have put into making this film is incredible and the viewer can actually verify that by looking into the extras, where you get an hour-long feature on how the film was made. Although the content of the production notes is quite interesting it is presented in a somehow dull note but it is still worth viewing. As far as the other extras of this DVD are concerned, I really expected more for a masterpiece like this. The ‘make your own trailer’ feature is not exactly great fun, but you do get to watch some of the most memorable scenes, thus it serves a good purpose. I found the quiz a bit too hard and hoped the trailers and the gallery would have been presented in a better manner. Nevertheless, the extras cannot ruin your viewing experience, as the film alone is a good reason to get this DVD.
AKIRA is a film that really makes you think. In fact I was quite depressed when I first watched it, thinking there is a slight possibility of this being our future. It is a dark film all the way, which mostly takes place during the night, with a lot of violence and action, but not meaningless in any sense. The plot is slightly confusing and leaves the viewer with many questions to be answered. The characters of AKIRA are all distinct and memorable, with Kaneda being my personal favourite (cause he’s just so cool). I thought the English dub was very good; the voices can really match the characters. Memorable scenes would have to be of course the ending (very very bizzare), the bike gang chace (amazing action sequence)and the bit where violence in school is highly emphasised...DISCIPLINE!(lol)
Dark government conspiracies, top-secret experiments, themes of love and friendship, great action scenes and a rich plot. This film has all the qualities that will keep you hooked on your seat till the end!
I give it 4 stars because I thought the extras could have been a bit more exciting!
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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 Buy this, 24 Nov 2006
By 
Mr. D. White - See all my reviews
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I've seen this film so many times, and I much prefer the new re-dubbed version which is included in this collection. The original version is in there too, but the new version is much more professionally voiced over whilst still retaining the adrenalin and action. There are new scenes, and some brilliant artwork on the boxes. This is worth buying even if you have the original Akira.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Quick Reviews, 3 July 2006
By 
I have no doubt that the first time most westerners watch this they will feel confused afterwards. I'm pretty sure that the first time they see it they will think the animation was excellent, at least for its time. Maybe some will know they have just seen something special. Akira is probably the most famous Japanese animated movie, manga or anime, and is surely the most influential. It may not be an exaggeration to say it is one of the most influential movies of any kind ever, as many films, animated and not, have taken elements directly from it.

I won't try to summarise the plot, i'm not sure if i can make it sound comprehensible, but it involves biker gangs, friendship, overpowering technology, and the apocalypse. The plot is confusing at times, especially for western audiences who had simply not experienced anything quite like this before, and the frantic pace and quick direction only make everything seem more chaotic (as if that wasn't the point to some degree), but the more times you watch it, the more you will see this is not a flaw. The animation is some of the best ever seen, the vision of Neo-Tokyo is stunning, and the last half hour is mind-blowing. Some parts are quite touching too, without becoming overly sappy, as we watch Tesuo's struggle, and the multitude of themes are well worth thinking about...

This 2 disc edition offers two versions of the film, one with better sound, updated translation etc, though other features are sparse especaially when considering what a huge film this was.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome, 7 May 2006
This is the first manga film i have ever bought and what an amazing one it is. Animation is outstanding and the action is brilliant. Storyline was kind of odd but understandable. I would recommend this to any newcomers to the manga genre.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absoloute Classic, 28 Mar 2005
This is one of THE best anime films out there and is a must have for all you anime fans out there. The Speacial edition is great and contains the film twice in different formats, once in it's original full screen version and then in the remastered version in wide screen format, the remastered version brings out the full brillians and its superb details to the fullest making it look better and fresher.
If you want to start an Anime film collection this is one film you must own
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars wow, 11 April 2007
By 
not only the best anime i have ever seen, but one of the best films. absolutely brilliant. just finished watching it and everything about it was great. the characters, the animation, the storyline- which is complicated, but no more than the next sci-fi film. the soundtrack was also brilliant, better than the usually unnavoidable sickly score to more animes around, and what is more is in Akira the lack of soundtrack in key scenes adds weight, very clever.

im not a hardcore anime fan, but i know a good one when i see it and this was excellent. weaknesses...well the character kei is a bit underdeveloped, and there are a few mystery minor characters but aside from that it was awesome. highly recomended but not for those looking for a bit of light entertainment or a "cartoon".
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14 of 16 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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Akira [DVD]
Akira [DVD] by Katsuhiro Ôtomo (DVD - 2011)
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