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Akira 25th Anniversary Edition (anime review)

Akira 25th Anniversary EditionTitle: Akira 25th Anniversary Edition Combo Pack

Director: Katsuhiro Oromo

Studio: TMS Entertainment

U. S. Distributor: FUNimation

U. S. Re-Release Date: Nov. 12, 2013

Format: DVD / Blu-ray / Feature Film / 124 Minutes

Genre: Cyber Punk, Sci Fi

Overall Grade: A-




Clandestine army activities threaten the war-torn city of Neo-Tokyo when a mysterious being with powerful psychic abilities escapes his prison and inadvertently draws a violent motorcycle gang into a heinous web of experimentation. As a result, a biker with a twisted mind embarks on a path of war, seeking revenge against a society that once called him weak.

This 25th Anniversary Edition features both the original 1988 Streamline English dub and the 2001 Pioneer/Animaze English dub!


It is always fun to look back at these classic ground breaking anime films when they hit special anniversaries. 25 years doesn’t seem that long ago to me but for most of the anime fans that will see this film 25 years encompasses a great deal of time. When ever a older show is re-mastered and put out in these special disc sets the question always reverts back to the look and in the case of Akira it just might be a good thing that it turned 25 now. The re-mastering of the movies is superb and ends up making the film look as fresh today as it was when it was first released. In many ways I can even say that I like the look now better than some of the older issues. I always felt like the Bandai version was a little tired, but with this new re-mastered look it is crisp and sharp and worth replacing your old version with this new one.

There is also the ability to watch the two versions side by side and once and for all make your own call as to which is better. I personally like the dub with Johnny Young Bosh. I’m not saying that the Pioneer dub is best, I am just saying that I like Johnny Young Bosh’s version of Kaneda. As for the rest of the film it still holds the same essence and power of the seminal anime that it is.

Of course the story is hard hitting and rather dark, but the whole ideal of the cyber punk world is dark and rather hopeless. I can’t say that governments have become any better or the world has changed that much in the last 25 years, I just have a feeling that we have grown weary of these dark stories of a world that presents itself as a place none of us want to end up being. The late 80’s was a time of fear and loathing and it wasn’t until the wall came down and things began to turn around that we started feeling better about our selves. Akira, presents a persona of us that is pure for the time and also warn that if we didn’t get it together our future would end up as crappy as theirs. We still have a lot to learn and many generation will struggle through these issues, but maybe if we look back at films like Akira we can see ourselves in a new light and stop the madness.

Overall Grade: A-

Akira is a great film and it is great to see the care that was taken to bring it back to life. The re-mastering is beautiful and the fact that we have the opportunity to see both versions of the film is important. Overall there is still a little bit of a breakdown in the american dubs over the original Japanese version and context can mean a great deal. If you have seen this film and like it I think you will really enjoy seeing it this version. If you are a hard core fan then I don’t see how you have a chose and should run right out and by the first copy you see. I know you will be very pleased.

In 1988 I was able to see it on VHS and didn’t think too much of the film at the time. I was just beginning a artist residency and the world was full of films like Brazil, Repo Man, Eraser Head, Heavy Metal all topped the charts for cult classics and even the remastering of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis was making its way through the art house film market. With all of these other films out there and the persistent issue of it Akira being anime it was lost to the U. S. I am very glad to see it get it recognition with this 25th Anniversary Edition. Way to go FUNimation for stepping up and doing the right thing.