Akira: Special Edition (& Limited Edition) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Wednesday, February 06, 2002
Release Date: Tuesday, July 24, 2001
Every so often, a movie comes along that totally envelops a person. It takes you on a journey through worlds and places never thought possible. After it all ends, you just sit there and go "Aw man! No way its over!".
Akira has this power and now with this
re-release of this definitive version on the definitive format, many fans' faces have finally stopped being blue from holding their breath. It was for the better though, this is one of
the neatest releases ever.
When I put this in and watched only the Japanese track with subtitles, I was entertained and thought it was an enormous advance over the mono junk that had been out on the market before. When I watched the dub, I was very pleased with the 5.1 transfer. Motorcycles fly all through the speakers and explosions are chock full of bass. The dub acting itself left a little to be desired, but it is still a great dub by all standards. Kaneda's
voice over was particularly good I have never seen this movie before the DVD release so I can't compare this to any previous version. The music plays perfectly in Akira. It is clear, loud, and still blends in to the movie. The speech in both the Japanese and English is distinguished and sharp. I prefer to watch the Japanese track as it is the original language it was intended to be viewed in. The English is great if you aren't in the mood for reading. Also, anyone who says the older dub sounded better in terms of translation are completely mistaken. Pioneer spent millions on retranslating, dubbing, and restoring and I doubt Streamline did the same. But for those die hard fans, a 2.0 mix of the old dub would have put a lot more smiles on peoples' faces.
I can't say enough about the video! The quality of the animation is umbelievable! A good comparison is to watch the trailer and then a scene from the movie. This gives you an idea
of just how far they came in remastering it. Unless you are an extreme nit-picker, there is little wrong with the video. An especially good scene is the opening segment of Neo
Tokyo and all the amazing colors and lights. The entire movie a visual experience. Technically, this is the best aspect of the transfer. Some noticeable areas of grain are when they enter the sewers and a little when the Colonel goes down to see Akira.
Wow. I do not by any means write reviews as flattering as this one, but wow. I was fortunate enough to get the metal case version of Akira and it is really neat. The deep blue front features AKIRA written on it and Japanese lettering in blood red painted on it. The back has a white outlined capsule. Unfortunately, anyone who wasn't able to buy one of the metal cases yet will most likely not be able to. Pioneer stopped production a few
weeks ago. My only complaint is the disc holder. It is kind tricky to get the DVDs out and is somewhat annoying. The insert features disc information and where the 4,500 pictures can be found. Neo Tokyo's skyline is featured behind the discs' holders.
Menus & Extras:
Since this being the first time I ever watched Akira, the menus were a little weird for me until the movie ended. But, they are awesome. Very flashy and responsive there's also tons of music from the movie playing as well. The tin (and normal Special Edition) comes
with an extra disc with every kind of extra. There are interviews, trailers, making of's (including a really neat segment on the music), a glossary, and 4,500 pictures of Akira. The second disc is essential for fans and/or people who think they'll enjoy the extras.
I will keep the story explanation to a minimum, it is quite epic in scale. It revolves around a biker gang, Tetsuo Shima, three young children who look to be 80 years old, and the mysterious ntity known only as "Akira". Tetsuo is a neglected young boy who has
telekinetic powers awakened after being taken into custody by the military and
experimented on. Meanwhile, Kaneda , Tetsuo's only friend is looking for him and eventually ends up in the hands of Kei and the resistance group she works for. Long story short, he escapes and unleashes his powers on all the people who oppressed him while searching for Akira. It leads to a powerful showdown between Kaneda and Tetsuo. The theme of the movie can take hundreds But, it is a fantastic story with great twists, turns, and some sweet action.
Now since Akira started as a manga, the inevitable question arises: Which is better? This is a DVD review so I will be really quick by answering, which as better the Jurassic Park
book or movie? Akira is a movie no Anime fan should be without. It is hard to not be enthralled and astonished from the first time we see Tokyo explode from a nuclear blast, or was it?
RCA 20-inch television, Sony DAV-C700 compact home theater system
Mania Grade: A
Audio Rating: A+
Video Rating: A
Packaging Rating: A
Menus Rating: A
Extras Rating: A-
Age Rating: 12 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.
Running time: 124
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2