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AKIRA 2001 rerelease and digital projection look!

Hey folks, Harry here with a viewer's perception of the New AKIRA print that is screening up in New York at the AMC Grand in Full Digital Projection Glory. I have very few memories of the night I saw the film, as the 10 winners and I got so messed up that night that I remember staring at the ceiling of my hotel room and counting the squares... Ahhhh... joy.... The print is immaculate... so pristine and perfect that it nearly seems 3-D... Second the soundtrack... especially the score was so friggin beyond words good sounding that you could feel every sound using your body as a tuning fork... Man, this was great sound. As for the Dub and comparing it to the OLD dub... Well, Dub is dub, I still prefer original language and subtitles... but that's me. I second our spy's insistence on having 3 language tracks... Original English Dub, New Remastered Dolby 5.1 sound and then the original language version! That disc would RULE!!!! here ya go....

Akira

2001 English Dub in digital Projection

Well Harry a few months ago I gave a review on vampire hunter D 2000. In that review I said that I had snuck away to see Akira at the MOMA. That screening presented an old print witch was the original 88’ English dub. That was then this is now.

Akira for the new millennium sports new transfer and new English dub. Being as I live in New York it was very simple to go see this digital print at the AMC Empire 25 in Time Square. I was truly enthused to see, not only my favorite animated film but my favorite film period. But I'm not going to talk about how good the film is, or how important this piece of work is. This is only about the new technical aspects of this presentation.

Going in on Friday I was very nervous about how the new 01’ English dub would be. You see even though the original dub wasn’t the greatest and could be down right confusing at times (not to mention corny), It is now a classic. You can move around to a hundred different web sites and pull down sounds and themes, based on those voices. Who in the anime watching community would not recognize the classic Kaneda scream "TETSUOOOOOO"!

I sat down with 2 of my friends with hopes that this would be an interesting experience. I brought them along because there varying experiences with this film. One had never seen it and the other had scene it only once. I figured this way I could gage a newbies reaction to see if he found it confusing as well as some one who was confused the first time, could now make sense of what he had seen.

The first thing you will notice is a very loud THX logo. This logo was greeted with cheers from the audience. The logo is nice and all but it’s plain. Its not like they designed a new one, like they did for toy story 1 & 2. It might have been nice to see Kaneda rev his bike and it stall out then plug it into the THX logo and it sound like a beast of a bike.

At this point the film began. The first few shots of the city are very light colors. This began to show of the digital transfer. Buildings looked sharp colors looked vibrant. It was almost as if you were looking at a painting. Then tragedy struck. When the explosion and the resulting creator are shown you begin to see the age of the film. As it was digital you could see every speck and scratch of the source material. This all because you were looking into black (not to mention a 40+ foot screen). This all worried me because I would say a good 70% of the film is dark.

As the film proceeded the specs disappeared in to the background (probably dew to the fact that Otomo’s backgrounds are filled with detail of what ever environment your in). The opening bike sequence looked incredible and I began to thank pioneer for doing the restoration. In comparison with the poor quality videos out there, the high quality criterion laser disc, this is obviously the best. There were a few moments where colors seemed noisy but we are talking about a 13 year old film. To sum it up, this may not win awards for the best transfer, but it is the best we will get and now that it is digital it will not get worse.

The real reason people are curious about this version is the new English dub. You begin to notice the differences immediately in the bar sequence. The few lines traded by Yama and the bartender, make you raise an eye. It’s not that there bad just real different. When you meet Tetsuo outside even his mumblings about the bike are different (witch anyone that knows about bikes, will know, this is more correct then that of the original.)

The music kicks in and the 5.1 transfers spreads its legs. Very nice. Again the bike sequence was incredible. You truly felt enveloped. Bikes whizzing buy, explosions screams, and grunts. It was great. Beyond the obvious differences in the dialoged you begin to get hints of differences in the sound design. For example when Takashi sees a guy get utterly decimated by bullets his scream is very different from the 88’ English dub. Granted it is only a scream but the 88’ dub had some kind of echo with it. 01’ dub did not. I wasn’t thrilled at this as I liked the way that scream was done originally. But I began to realize why this was. 01’ dub is more closely related with the Japanese dub. The clincher was when you first hear Kenada introduce himself to Kay. Instead of pronouncing it KA-NEA-DA he goes with the more Japanese CA-NA-DA. To be perfectly honest I was a little jarred by this. I’m sure purist are going to lynch me for that. But in any case you get used to it. The 01’ dub shows that it is superior in many ways a lot of scenes make a lot more sense, and a new sense of humor is injected into the film. For those that will see it the weekend you will laugh. In the end the only problem I had with it was some of the voice actor’s performances seemed a little dry and uninspired. The colonel does not seem nearly as menacing as in the 88’ dub.

My final view of the new 01’ version of Akira is completely positive. My friends both seemed to have understood everything without need of explanation. As for the 01’ dub becoming a classic only time will tell. But this should definitely more accessible to a new generation of anime fans. I hope this weekend a lot of people attend as it can help a landmark film get the widespread theatrical release it deserves and intern show studios that there is a big market for adult orientated animation.

Ansylum

PS. I still think people should watch the Japanese version it is the only true way to see Otomo’s vision.

PPS. If any one knows were I can get the new 2001 posters please say so in the talk back.

PPPs. It would be nice if pioneer would include all 3 dubs onto the new dvd. For historical purposes

Readers Talkback
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  • April 1, 2001, 12:43 a.m. CST

    I like Akira...

    by JezusKrist

    ...alot.

  • April 1, 2001, 1:07 a.m. CST

    Sloppy seconds? Is the music still the same? Tetsuooooooo!!!

    by Dillrod Deluxe

    Please GOD DO NOT let them have changed the original score for the film - it is quite simply one of the greatest music scores in cinema history, let alone anime! And I must agree - if this 01 goes to DVD, the people in charge should be shot and piddled upon if the original audio mix, and the original english dub is not included as an option. Furthermore, there should be an audio option for hearing only the composed music while the movie plays. IT MUST BE SO!!! We cannot have a bunch of self-important, polyana, pro-active, yesmen and yeswomen ruining this great oppurtunity in realising a definitive digital presentation of AKIRA! I will be watching very closely for even the slightest error on their parts. It will be my covert espionage dillrod!

  • April 1, 2001, 1:22 a.m. CST

    Come on! This is Pioneer, not Buena Vista!

    by Albert Acisuan

    OK, Dillrod, quit worrying. This isn't Buena Vista handling this rerelease. This is Pioneer, remember? The guys who grabbed the rights to Sailormoon out from under DIC's nose so they could do an uncut subtitled release? The guys who released the first EVER anime DVD to contain both English and Japanese 5.1 tracks (Tenchi Muyo in Love, and a beautiful transfer it was)? The guys who used to release EVERY TITLE (up till their switchover to DVD) day-and-date, sub, dub, and bilingual CAV laserdisc? The guys who MAKE the top-of-the-line DVD players? Since the beginning, Pioneer DVDs have been the standard by which other anime DVDs are measured. So please, don't go assuming they're going to "screw it up" until they actually do.

  • April 1, 2001, 1:35 a.m. CST

    DVD release

    by vroom socko

    I don't know much, but I do know that the remastered AKIRA will be out on video in both dubbed and subtitled format and on DVD sometime in July. Also, there will be a regular DVD and a deluxe DVD. I have no idea what will be on the deluxe at this time. And there is no way in Hell they'd change the soundtrack. I love that soundtrack. I own that soundtrack. That music is integral to the mood, the characterization, the vibe of that movie. Just out of curiosity, what is everyone's favorite music moment in AKIRA? Mine is from the scene when Joker is introduced. You gotta love music with heavy breathing in it.

  • April 1, 2001, 1:52 a.m. CST

    DVD specs according to animeondvd.com:

    by Nocturnaloner

    "We've now learned that Akira will definitely be receiving a great treatment from Pioneer. The two DVD's are due out on 7/3/2001. Two DVD's you say? Well, how about three in reality? In addition to the 24.95 standard edition Akira DVD, there will be a 34.95 Deluxe Edition double disc set. The second disc is entirely extras, such as the Making of Akira production report, a documentary on the creation of the soundtrack and other unspecified extras still to be listed. We've also learned that the Dolby Digital 5.1 track is for the English only, the Japanese track will retain it's original theatrical soundtrack format which I believe is stereo, as the movie does date back to the late 80's. Which version will you choose?"

  • April 1, 2001, 1:56 a.m. CST

    "The music kicks in and the 5.1 transfer spreads its legs. Very

    by Nocturnaloner

    Ooooh, you saucy little transfer, you!

  • April 1, 2001, 5:33 a.m. CST

    man

    by gah rides again

    I always hate talkbackers bitching about typos and that sort of thing, but the guy who reported really made himself look pretty stupid. the whole witch/which thing was pretty funny... and of course he had a few then/than errors and other general mispellings throughout. I'm really excited about this DVD so I'll shut up now...

  • April 1, 2001, 10 a.m. CST

    Akira and the original manga

    by Zubalove

    First, is this thing getting wide release? I'm dying to see it on the big screen. But here's another question for you Akira-philes: Has it ever been considered redoing the entire movie and making it a trilogy to better encompass the original magna? I've only read the first trade paperback but I was impressed by the detail and depth in it. With the world wide popularity of Akira, a remake is not ubsurd, they did it with Bubble Gum Crisis and to a degree Vampire Hunter D 2000 is a revamp, right? Anyway, I think if they don't remake it, someone should at least animate Tetsuo blowwing a hole in the moon. I'd pay to see that. Oh yeah, anyone know when the Volume Two TradePaperback is released in the US? Zubalove OUT.

  • April 1, 2001, 10:52 a.m. CST

    I Have A Theory...

    by Prankster

    ...that Anime is nowhere near as enigmatic and incomprehensible as it's usually made out to be...it's just that the English dubs (and, I suppose, the subtitles) are usually so LAME. Not only do they badly convey the plot, they are full of stiff line readings and a general attitude of "phoning it in". If Akira is now being seen as a true work of art (airing at the MOMA?) I would very much hope that they'd give it a better sound & dialogue track...maybe it will now have story sense to match its beautiful visuals.

  • April 1, 2001, 10:57 a.m. CST

    Zubalove, Vol. 2 came out last week

    by sprocket-bot

    I can't wait to check out the new dub. Personnally I prefer subs, but some of my friends won't watch ANYTHING with subtitles...let alone anime period! So, hopefully this dub more closely translates from Jpanese. I think it's too bad the Japanese track won't be in 5.1, hopefully the subtitle track on the DVD's won't be dubtitles! Perhaps a region 2 disc will come out in Japan soon. If you've seen the suppliments on the Criterion LD released in '93, you know that the Pioneer Sups have a tough act to follow, considering Criterion does not sell their SE materials.

  • April 1, 2001, 11:32 a.m. CST

    Having never seen this movie...

    by Planet Zac

    I have to say that I am really excited that its getting this many positive reviews. I may just buy the DVD without renting or watching it first...

  • April 1, 2001, 12:08 p.m. CST

    Marvel's Translation ...

    by profbobo

    Was actually colorized by an American artist (Steve Oliff, if memory serves). The colored pages in the Dark Horse volume are colored (painted) by Otomo himself, and the rest of the manga is presented in its full black and white glory, not to mention "uncensored." The Marvel version, imo, is like colorizing Citizen Kane >:(

  • April 1, 2001, 12:18 p.m. CST

    having seen the new transfer...

    by newtypex

    Having seen the new transfer on Friday, and the original back in '88, I have to say the new transfer is far superior to the original print. On almost every level. Of course I had my favorite lines of dialogue from the Streamline dub (the original release), but the new dub is great. The new dub was created from a new (and according to Pioneer) more accurate translation. It shows. The dialogue is much more fluent and never stilted. The voice actors don't seem to be overacting and numbers 25-27 sound like kids...like they should. Personally I prefer subs, but the dub here does Akira justice. The new 5.1 is amazing. I can say no more than that. The original score is intact and sounds better than ever. And the new transfer is visually the clearest (if not the cleanest due to age) and brightest version yet. Way better than the Japanese video rerelease from a few years back. The colors are unbelievable...I saw things that you never noticed before. (and i've seen Akira more times than I can count) My advice is if you live within driving distance to NYC, GO SEE IT. If not, buy the special edition DVD this summer. Personally, I can't wait to watch the Akira Production Report again...I haven't seen it for years. "...it has already begun."

  • April 1, 2001, 12:27 p.m. CST

    Wait a second...6 part series?

    by Dillrod Deluxe

    Is this correct? Has some publisher released a six part series of graphic novels spanning the entire Akira story? Years ago, very early 90s, I collected a series of full-color graphic novels of the Akira story, but I was never able to complete the collection. They had been previously released as deluxe hard spine comics, and the graphic novels consisted of 3 issues each from that series. I know that there were at least 10 graphic novels in the series, but I could never find certain ones, and my collecton was never completed. I must agree with some of the other posters here - because AKIRA is such a classic, and important story, perhaps it should be retold in anime in a more expanded version. If something as silly as "Legend Of The Overfiend" can span 4 movies, AKIRA deserves twice that.

  • April 1, 2001, 12:30 p.m. CST

    Akira v. Perfect Blue

    by Carabas

    Sort of a counter perspective on ZANTETSUKEN's last comment in his post...Having seen both Akira and Perfect Blue I would say that comparing these two flicks isn't really very fair to either. While Akira certainly has its darker moments (okay, most of the movie) Perfect Blue seemed to me to be much more disturbing. The subject matter, themes, characters, and style are quite different in both. To me Perfect Blue was a movie to watch, like, once--good, yes, but not in any way pleasant. Akira's one that I don't mind seeing again. Maybe it's just a personal pref, but I've found this to be the same with my friends too. Basically, while Perfect Blue was good it was also much uglier--both in terms of the story being told and how it was told. This is not bad, (as there're many a great work of art that're just hard to take) but it doesn't exactly make me want to rush out and buy it; both because it was hard to watch and because I didn't feel there was really anything more I could take from it in repeated viewings. Akira seemed to be a bit more balanced; it's got some real "gross" moments, but there's beauty in it, too, and there're new things to find on repeated run-throughs. Still, this is all just my opinion, and I'm just some random talk-backer, so take it as you will.

  • April 1, 2001, 12:31 p.m. CST

    DARK HORSE have released the TPBs

    by KarnorJax

    in Black and white. www.darkhorse.com I have all the original Epic issues and must say if you can find them they are worth the

  • April 1, 2001, 1:54 p.m. CST

    Subtitled or Dubbed?

    by power

    I never had a problem with the original dub, sure its not perfect but no anime dub is. My attraction to anime started as a purely visual one. The thought of having to look away from the character interaction even for a moment, makes me feel I will miss something important. The little nuances, changes in facial expression, posture, etc. etc. Akira is one of the best anime films ever,"VISUALLY". The story is good but not great. But Akiras popularity does not lie in its quality of dub but in a good story and a great "VISUAL PRESENCE". Not to mention a musical score that is "PERFECT" for the movie. And for the purest, unless you understand perfect japanes, the use of subtitles is a kind of "POLLUTION" the creators of the film never intended.

  • April 1, 2001, 2:35 p.m. CST

    Subtitled v. Dubbed

    by mai '68

    It is a very valid argument to say that VISUALLY, it probably is better to watch a dubbed version BUT i disagree with the idea that : "unless you understand perfect japanes, the use of subtitles is a kind of "POLLUTION" the creators of the film never intended." When you watch the original Japanese version you get the whole package of the vision. The actors are directed in line with the original vision of Akira - their screaming and inflections fit perfectly with the visuals. You lose A LOT of that in dubs which detracts from the visuals when the speech is flat or just plain corny. Plus, as anyone who's seen the "making of" would know, the creators behind Akira worked very hard to synchronize the characters mouth movements with the speech... that can only add visually

  • April 1, 2001, 2:35 p.m. CST

    Subtitled v. Dubbed

    by mai '68

    It is a very valid argument to say that VISUALLY, it probably is better to watch a dubbed version BUT i disagree with the idea that : "unless you understand perfect japanes, the use of subtitles is a kind of "POLLUTION" the creators of the film never intended." When you watch the original Japanese version you get the whole package of the vision. The actors are directed in line with the original vision of Akira - their screaming and inflections fit perfectly with the visuals. You lose A LOT of that in dubs which detracts from the visuals when the speech is flat or just plain corny. Plus, as anyone who's seen the "making of" would know, the creators behind Akira worked very hard to synchronize the characters mouth movements with the speech... that can only add visually

  • April 1, 2001, 6:36 p.m. CST

    Dub Away!

    by Lemonator

    A really good dub job can add greatly to an already great foreign language film... As long as it isn't dubbed by Minnie Driver, Tom Hulce or Billy Bob Thorton.

  • April 2, 2001, 1:56 p.m. CST

    This talkbalk has made history....

    by Zubalove

    Color me impressed. This has to be the most intelligent and cordial talkback ever on AICN. Very well done. The Akira TBP can be found at amazon.com as well as your local kick-ass Borders Books. In terms of the entire dub vs. sub debate, I wanted to go on record saying that the dub for Gundam Wing could be one of the best ever done. It treated the subject matter with respect, the voices weren't too over the top, and the story was communicated well. However, again I ask, "Is this thing going to get a wider release?" Thanks guys. Zubalove OUT.

  • April 2, 2001, 7:47 p.m. CST

    POSTERS!

    by Kanedaflynn

    I have a limited number of posters available. Contact me at kanedaflynn@aol.com

  • April 11, 2001, 10:46 p.m. CST

    Akira - Medicom

    by akira2@pacific

    Hi guys! Just wondering if anybody manage to get hold of any of the 12" akira figure release by Medicom? Thanks alot! kim yiau

  • April 22, 2001, 8:10 p.m. CST

    "He's vanished, missing... GONE!

    by spenworks

    I love that line. It's so ridiculously redundant. It'll probably be the first to go in the redub. Also, in the 88 version where Kay seems to be saying that Tetsuo has turned into a giant amoeba. It's not very clear what the fuck she's talking about. And lastly, "You're king of the mountain now, but it's all GARBAGE!" I'll miss Kaneda's strange surfer-esque accent. But I'll be glad to see Akira get a little mainstream media attention.

  • April 22, 2001, 8:10 p.m. CST

    "He's vanished, missing... GONE!

    by spenworks

    I love that line. It's so ridiculously redundant. It'll probably be the first to go in the redub. Also, in the 88 version where Kay seems to be saying that Tetsuo has turned into a giant amoeba. It's not very clear what the fuck she's talking about. And lastly, "You're king of the mountain now, but it's all GARBAGE!" I'll miss Kaneda's strange surfer-esque accent. But I'll be glad to see Akira get a little mainstream media attention.