Reviewby Bamboo Dong
Limited Edition Metal DVD Case
Newly restored and digitally re-mastered by Pioneer, Akira has come back to life again. Produced in 1988, this film has remained a classic in the hearts of many anime fans even to this day. It's the tale of Tetsuo and Kaneda, childhood friends who grew up inseparable until a mysterious boy irrevocably changed their lives. Snatched from a military test facility, the boy proved to be one of three experimental subjects monitored by the government.
Upon the retrieval of the boy, the military also takes Tetsuo, experimenting with his mind and encouraging his abnormal brain activity. The tests bring out a previously dormant psychic power from within Tetsuo, but the new powers soon erupt out of control as he wreaks revenge upon the world that has mistreated him.
The Special Collector's DVD set comes with two disks, both packaged in an attractive tin box. The first disc contains the movie, with both the Japanese language track and a re-done English dub. An interesting feature that one can turn on from the menu is the "capsule option." With this feature turned on, a capsule will appear on the screen at certain times during the movie. By pressing 'enter,' an English translation is provided for the graffiti, signs, and banners throughout the film. The capsule option is a wonderful alternative to cluttering up the screen with translations, while in the meantime appeasing fans by not using English overlays. For the viewers who don't even want a capsule popping up on their screens, the option can just as easily be turned off from the menu as well.
The English subtitles are superbly translated, and nothing is left out. The only problem is that occasionally the words are hard to read against the lighter colored backgrounds. Fans who remembered the old English language version of Akira will be surprised, as the English track has been newly recorded with different voice actors. The cast and director did a remarkable job, and give a great performance. Unlike many other anime dubs out on the market, the English dialogue sticks very close to the English translation, and the voice actors deliver their lines with emotion. Even I, a non-advocate of dubs, had to admit that the dub is better than most. The voice actors even pronounce all the Japanese names correctly, including 'Akira,' one of the most mispronounced names in anime fandom.
The second disc in the set is filled to the brim with great extras, many of which are included on the Japanese release. One of the features is a production report. It includes character data files, as well as a mini-documentary on how Akira was produced, covering all the steps from the storyboards, to the sound effects, to the final filming process, and everything in between. It even includes interviews with the people that headed each step of the individual processes. Other features on the disc include a sound clip, which plays the music of the film, divided into sections by documentary and visuals on what instruments were used, and how the music was composed. As if that weren't enough, there's also an interview with the director, Katsuhiro Otomo, and a section with more than 4,500 stills from the original storyboards and production materials. To top it off, there's a glossary of all the terms, places, and names used in Akira, plus the original trailers for the movie, and interviews with the English staff about the restoration and re-dubbing process.
For the people who are already fans of Akira, this is a great chance to re-live the experience. Even if you already have one of the original copies of the movie, you should consider picking it up again, because it's fresher, and better than ever. As for the people that have never seen Akira before, well, now's the right time to check it out. No matter who picks it up, the DVD set will provide the perfect opportunity to experience the film in its entire splendor, and watch the return of the phenomenon that is Akira.
Overall (dub) : A
Overall (sub) : A-
+ Wonderful extras, clear picture quality
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