“Akira” fans will have a lot to celebrate in the coming years. Completely unrelated, although possibly timed to coincide with Taika Waititi’s forthcoming remake, the 1988 cyberpunk classic will receive an ultra-HD remastering. It will be the first time the animated film will be seen in 4K. In addition, director Katsuhiro Otomo will revisit his crowning work in a new anime project based on the original manga. The updated version is set to release on blu-ray in Japan on April 24, 2020, with a promised western release coming later. The two projects were announced at Anime Expo in Los Angeles. (Via io9.)
In May, Warner Bros. slotted “Akira” for a May 21, 2021 release date, positioning the movie to face off against “John Wick 4.” The live-action “Akira” movie will be directed by Waititi and produced by Leonardo DiCaprio. Warner Bros. announced plans for a love-action remake in 2008, with rumors that Waititi would direct cropping up in 2017, before “Thor: Ragnarok” came out. In interviews at the time, the filmmaker said he was a fan of the comic books and would be interested in “a broader adaptation of the books,” rather than a straight remake of the film.
Based on a 1982 manga series written and illustrated by Katsuhiro Otomo, “Akira” is set in a post-apocalyptic 2060 Tokyo. The film tells the story of a secret military project endangering Tokyo after it turns a biker gang member into a psychopath.
In addition to the remastering, Otomo will begin work on a sprawling TV adaptation of the original manga series. Like Waititi’s version, the new animated project will attempt to incorporate more of the original story from the books, which couldn’t be condensed into a single film.
Otomo also announced a new original film he is producing with Japanese animation studio Sunrise. The science fiction film is titled “Orbital Era,” and follows a group of young space colonists as they live in one of humanity’s earliest attempts to live among the stars.
Sunrise and Otomo released a series of short teasers in relation with the two new projects at the Anime Expo. Here is a first glimpse at the “Akira” 4K remaster:
And the first official teaser for “Orbital Era”: