Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Akira Movie Preview and other new details.

Those fans familiar with the classic cult anime Akira will be pleased to hear that Warner Bros. has given the green-light to the production of a feature length film tied to the cartoon that was originally released back in  1988. Akira is a cyberpunk science fiction feature anime [it was not an anime TV series] and it was based upon the black & white manga comic created by Katsuhiro Otomo [this guy also directed the Japanese anime movie].

[Above: Fan art of Akira by pro-artist Mark Brooks]

The original Akira film depicts a dystopian Neo-Tokyo in 2019. The plot focuses on biker Tetsuo Shima (bad guy, voiced by Nozomu Sasaki) who has his psychic powers, and the biker gang member Shotaro Kaneda (the hero, voiced by Mitsuo Iwata), who tries to hunt down Tetsuo to stop him from releasing Akira. While most of the character designs and basic settings were adapted from the original 2182-page manga epic, the restructured plot of the movie differs considerably from the print version, truncating much of the last half of the manga. The Japanese animated movie became a hugely popular cult film and is widely considered to be a landmark in Japanese animation and film making in general.

Featuring biker gangs and street thugs in a futuristic setting amidst a city with a degenerated government, the story follows a biker gang leader who tries to save his best friend from a government experiment designed to unleash people's psychic abilities.

[Above: 3D models of Shotaro Kaneda's concept motorcycle / power bike. Art by]

According to, reports indicate that TRON: LEGACY star Garrett Hedlund [he also played the young ambitious cousin of Achilles in the TROY movie] is the top choice for the lead in Akira. And production is scheduled to begin in late February/early March of 2012. Actually, there have not been any massive waves of criticism stemming from hardcore fans of the original cult classic... since the lead character of Akira in the manga comic and anime version was a black-haired Japanese guy named Shotaro Kaneda [see the fan art above], as opposed to a blond American male.

 [Above: Garrett Hedlund, the chosen Akira actor, shown in clips from from Troy and Tron: Legacy]

But Hollywood is notoriously known for hiring the big Western stars that are guaranteed to bring in big bucks at the Box Office. Here is an example of this selective ideology:
I'm sure you remember I,Robot, starring Will Smith, released back in 2004. That movie was very loosely based on the classic novel by Isaac Asimov... but the role of the lead character in the book [a collection of short sci fi stories about robots interacting with men] was tied to a Caucasian male, not a African American guy. But alas, the Fresh Prince of Bel Air already had a huge fan following on the national and international front. Will Smith's hit comedy series is still running as a prime-time show in several countries overseas, even 25 years after it ended [back in the 90s when the Bel Air TV show as popular, people would listen to classic boy-bands like Boys II Men; remember their hit song "Motown Philly"? Its posted HERE].
Nevertheless, Hollywood execs love to take advantage of "star power" regardless of its origin. And I,Robot, which cost about 120 million dollars to produce, ended up raking in about 348 million dollars world wide. On a side note, Shia Lebouf, [aka Mr. Transformers / Mr. "I really did screw Megan Fox"], was also in that robot movie many years ago.

Right now, Warner Bros Studios has already allocated 90 million dollars to the production of Akira. And with actor Garrett Hedlund at the lead [he's already a sci fi contender, per his role in the hit movie TRON:LEGACY], the studio is hoping that they will literally hit the jackpot. With a budget of $11 million, the original 1988 Akira anime made 50 million in profits in Japan and about $500,000 in the US when it was released a year later.

Jaume Collet-Serra [director of UNKNOWN] will direct the new live-action $90 million production. HARRY POTTER's Steve Kloves penned the most recent draft. Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Davisson Killoran and Andrew Lazar are the producers.

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More screenshots from the hit Tron Legacy movie: HERE

Futuristic motorcycles used in Tron: HERE