Katsuhiro Ôtomo’s genuine milestone in classic animation, 1988’s Akira, makes its way to 4K Ultra HD in a classy, limited edition box set. So, how does it fare? Does it have the power, or will it make you glower?
The story: The most expensive anime movie at the time of its making, Akira, based on the 1982 manga of the same name, takes us to a post-apocalyptic Japan – the corruption-riddled city of Neo-Tokyo to be more precise. It’s basically the story of a biker gang leader and his childhood friend, the latter of whom acquires telekinetic powers following a motorcycle bingle – powers similar to those that brought about the 1988 destruction of Tokyo…
“The power of Akira exists in everyone!”
The 4K disc: Treated to a full 4K restoration, this is easily the best that we’ve ever seen Akira looking. Coupled with the wonders of HDR, detail is at a premium from the blackest blacks to the whitest whites. There’s still the odd blemish here and there (and happily the odd brief flub escaped the clutches of the restoration team), but we doubt that any fan will fail to be gobsmacked by how great the movie now looks.
While the audio defaults to an English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track that dates back to 2001, the more recently remixed Japanese 5.1 audio is the true standout here, with some superb use of surround channels amidst its captivating mix – and Geinoh Yamashirogumi’s classic soundtrack? Wow! If you don’t speak or understand Japanese, just flip on the English subtitles and get the full-on Akira experience. For purists (well, English speaking ones), the original 2.0 English dub from 1988 is also an option.
Extras fans are in for a treat, with a selection of interviews, featurettes and trailers (plus the movie) on the first of two standard Blu-rays that are included. The second one has more featurettes (including a great one on the sound remastering for this release), the original film credits, storyboards and even more trailers. Top this off with a glossy, 40-page booklet bulging with analysis, in-depth interviews, a timeline, credits and plenty of stills, plus a sturdy slipcase to house everything, and this is one must-have limited edition set for Akira fans.
Release date: April 21, 2021
Format: 4K Ultra HD
Starring: The voices of Mitsuo Iwata, Nozomu Sasaki, Mami Koyama
Want to know what to get next? Check out STACK‘s 4K Ultra HD specifications guide.