Review: Akira Triple Play Collector’s Edition

Release Date
Triple Play (Blu-ray, DVD, Digital HD)
Studio / Publisher
TMS Entertainment (Tokyo Movie Shinsha) / Manga Entertainment
Language / Subtitles
English, Japanese / English
Run Time
124 Minutes

Akira, one of the most iconic and masterful pieces of animation heads to home video once again in this Akira Triple Play Collector’s Edition. Manga UK recently screened Akira in over 70 screens nationwide a couple of months back as part of their 25th-anniversary celebration. Now they give Akira the much needed Collector’s Edition treatment and what a release this is, there’s definitely a lot to be excited for here so let’s get stuck in.

“Iconic and game-changing, Akira is the definitive anime masterpiece! Katsuhiro Otomo’s landmark cyberpunk classic obliterated the boundaries of Japanese animation and forced the world to look into the future. Akira’s arrival shattered traditional thinking, creating space for movies like The Matrix to be dreamed into brutal reality.

Neo-Tokyo, 2019. The city is being rebuilt post World War III when two high school drop outs, Kaneda and Tetsuo stumble across a secret government project to develop a new weapon – telekinetic humans. After Tetsuo is captured by the military and experimented on, he gains psychic abilities and learns about the existence of the project’s most powerful subject, Akira. Both dangerous and destructive, Kaneda must take it upon himself to stop both Tetsuo and Akira before things get out of control and the city is destroyed once again.”Manga Entertainment

In my review of Outlaw Star a couple of weeks back I spoke about initiation and rites of passage in the anime world and what better an example than Akira. Written and directed by Katsuhiro Otomo, the author of the original manga, Akira is one of the most iconic animated feature films of all time. Akira is quite possibly the one anime film held in such high regard that I would venture to guess every anime fan has seen at some point if not one of the very first they see. It’s one of the easiest to recommend newcomers as it doesn’t rely on committing to multiple seasons or further reading. It’s also a great film to recommend those that are inclined to think that anime is solely for children.

Based on Katsuhiro Otomo’s manga of the same name, Akira covers a range of different topic and themes within its two-hour runtime. What’s interesting now almost thirty years on is that the story of Akira is set in Neo-Tokyo in 2019 right before the Neo-Tokyo 2020 Olympics and in reality, Tokyo won the bid to host the 2020 Olympics only three years ago in 2013. It’s certainly interesting when fiction mirrors reality like this. What I also find interesting when it comes to works of this period is the author’s vision of current technology and how right or wrong they might be.

Visually, Akira is another title that hails from an era of beautifully detailed backdrops and awe-inspiring special effects. I still, to this day, cannot get enough of this style, era and tradition of animation. The sheer amount of effort and talent that has gone into the more than 160,000 animation cels in the film speaks volumes. There’s a reason Akira has become one of the most iconic animated movies in history and the powerful imagery that the animation quality has produced is certainly a part of that legacy.

This edition of Akira features both the original 1988 Streamline English dub and the 2001 Pioneer/ Animaze English dub. The previous Blu-ray release of Akira from Manga UK only featured the 2001 Pioneer English dub. It’s great to see a choice and while the 2001 Pioneer English dub is a more professional faithful translation of the original Japanese both have their good and bad qualities. In my opinion, though I prefer the newer 2001 English dub as it stays more faithful to the original Japanese and overall makes more sense to the story as a whole. The Streamline English dub definitely takes a more liberal approach to its translation which leads to some confusing moments. Of course, you could just watch it with the original Japanese audio track and English subtitles.

The Akira Collector’s Edition comes packed in a rigid collectors box and includes a selection of gorgeous art cards, a reversible inlay and a classic movie poster. If that wasn’t enough then the on-disc extras are sure to please, I’m sure happy to this a good selection for once, most of which are exclusive to this edition. The on-disc extras include Akira Sound Clip (1988), Music for Akira, Director Interview (subtitled), Storyboard Collection, The Writing on the Wall, Original Trailers (subtitled), Original Commercials (subtitled), Restoring Akira, Glossary, U.S. 2013 Trailer, Trailers. Now that should keep even the more diehard of fans happy.91xtqf2xlwl-_sl1500_

If you already own Akira like I do (a few times over in fact) then you’ll be interested to know that this Collector’s Edition features extras and audio options exclusive to this edition. So if you’re looking for the definitive Akira experience then this is definitely it and you’ll not be sorry for picking it up as the extras available are well worth the entry fee. If you haven’t seen Akira already then I can only implore you to go out and buy it, if like me you have seen it numerous then again I implore you to go out and buy this set.