Akira was our anime “gateway drug”
Anime fans the world over have that “one” film or series that served as their “in” to the world of Japanese animation, what is more aptly referred to as, their “gateway drug”. For me, back in the 1990’s, when my appetite for all things Japanese was just beginning to be wetted, and as I was beginning to build my anime and manga collections, I remember the most sought after movie at convention dealer rooms and the most talked about was Katsuhiro Otomo’s 1988 adaptation of his own classic manga epic series, Akira. I’ve seen many anime shows and movies prior but after I saw Akira I knew I stumbled upon something great. I realized how amazing this medium was–to tell a complex story in a gorgeous and unique way. Akira, even nearly thirty years later, still ranks as one of my favorite films of all time.
Hope in the air for a TV series adaptation
There has been talk off and on of a Hollywood live action version of Akira but nothing so far has come to any sort of fruition (I’m hoping the idea is slowing dying on the vine). Perhaps that’s a good thing because my main concern would be some Hollywood producer/director coming along and totally f-ing it up, resulting in a bastardization of Otomo’s brilliant source material. Some things are just too sacred to be soiled by Hollywood hands. Recently, Otomo was guest of honor at the Angouleme comic festival in Paris, France. It was at a press conference that a question was asked whether of not he had considered another adaptation of his legendary comic master work that would explore other plot points and go more into the story’s depth than the 1988 movie had. To the surprise of those present, he answered a TV series was ‘under study’ but he could not elaborate any further than that. Of course, he was speaking in Japanese and his response went through numerous filters of translation. However, I personally interpreted this as it’s only at the preliminary consideration phase and that fans shouldn’t get their hopes up just yet. Much needs to be decided before a project as big as a whole television series is given the go ahead. One of the possible considerations, that would be my guess, is timing—that and money.
Bottom line: at the present, this is ONLY a speculation, bordering on here-say. But if, and this is a really BIG IF–that there is some truth to this rumor, this is really big news! The 1988 film version of Akira is one of the classics of the anime genre. Fans in my age group have certainly seen it and others more than likely have seen it or at least they know of it. Along with Ninja Scroll, Vampire Hunter D, Wicked City, Urotsukidoji and Ghost in the Shell, Akira has earned its place as one of the most important anime titles in the decade of the 1990’s.
[Editor’s Note: Some would argue whether Urotsukidoji was an important title but I list it here because back in the 1990’s, it was one of the most sought after titles in dealer rooms at US sci-fi/horror conventions; it was one of the most notorious hentai titles at that time.]
For Akira, to get a series treatment that would match the epic scope of Otomo’s manga would be an awesome way to celebrate its thirty year anniversary. At least, I can look at this news with a little hush of relief. I certainly feel much better about another adaptation if Otomo is involved with it. I know he would make sure that it was done right. We’ll have to just wait and see. As they say: “All good things come to those who wait”.
Via Animation for Adults.