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BRV DVD Review- AKIRA: Special Edition

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Guest TSMAdmin

Since I’ve been MIA the past couple of weeks(mostly due to my stupid ass), I decided to break out an oldie DVD review from the old SmarksDVD days to serve as an preliminary dish for my debut tomorrow as Dames’ replacement for the news(now, now… he’s not gone for good, he’ll still be doing the PPV reviews), so eat up and I’ll check ya tomorrow for the Top 5, ‘kay? Also, please bear in mind that this was written over a year ago and I haven’t even seen it since then, either, so don’t get pissed if it sucks the hard one.



AKIRA: Special Edition DVD



- Original release year: 1987


- Studio: Pioneer Entertainment


- Movie Running Time: Approx. 120 min.


- Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English), Japanese Surround.


- Video: 1.85:1 anamorphic



Akira is hailed by many anime fans and critics(this reviewer as well) as being the best anime movie ever and with it's 25th anniverseary coming up next year, the kind folks over at Pioneer have decided to release a SE, 2 disc set of the movie completely remastered and transferred excellently. Oh yeah... it's THX Mastered(YEAH BABY!!!!)!



- Background: The year is 2019 in Neo Tokyo, 30 years after World War III. Kaneda, the leader of a biker gang, is hanging out in a bar and is told about a rival gang that wnats to rumble with them. As Kaneda and his messenger head out of the bar, young Tetsuo is playing around with Kaneda's bike and is quickly scalded. As the brutal rumble is going down(with some very awesome effects like the taillights streaming) a riot is going on in the heart of Tokyo. While this takes place, a rebel with a child accidentally walks into a police barricade and starts firing which ends up with him being blown to bits by the cops and the boy running off for safety.



While in interrogation, Kaneda meets an revolutionist named Kay, who he apparently falls for quickly, and saves her from being interrogated. I'd be remiss right in not mentioning how AWESOME the backgrounds look on this DVD. As Kay and Kaneda are walking, the background of the city just looks so awe-spiring that I might proclaim that Pioneer is my new Gods..., at least when they FINALLY put out the Tenchi Muyo DVDs(I've seen the 3rd one, but the first two seem to be abscent from the DVD world).


Okay, tangent over with. Now where was I? Oh yeah. As Kaneda's gang wastes their time at vocational school(with a principal who cracks me up by bitchsmacking ALL of them while screaming, "DISCIPLINE!"), a nurse goes to check up on Tetsuo and finds that he's missing. Tetsuo steals Kaneda's bike and gets beat up by the Clowns from the beginning and later recaptured by the military. They conduct more experiments on him, and during this, Kaneda meets Kay again when the revolutionaries bomb a shopping mall. Kaneda saves her from being shot by two policemen and is taken back to their hideout where he soon joins up with them to save Tetsuo from the laboratory.


Meanwhile, Tetsuo has a wacked out dream involving milk and psychopathic toys(man... the Japanese sure have some wonderfully SICK ideas.....). Tetsuo watches all of this in awe(he thinks he's awake) and all of the sudden, shit starts flying everywhere and creates a giant teddy bear. A bunny rabbitt joins in on the fun and then a toy car. They start tormenting Tetsuo til he accidentally steps on a glass and cuts his foot up, thus drawing blood. This freaks out the psycho toys and the illusion melts away and reveals that it's the odd-looking kids(there's a fat one who looks like Orson Welles and a girl along with the kidnapped kid from the beginning). They vanish and Tetsuo finds that his door is open, leading to Tetsuo discovering where Akira is being stored and that AWESOME street scene that just about ANY anime fan knows by heart now.


After finding out the truth about Akira, Tetsuo begins to lose all sense of sanity and is attacked by SOL(think of the big space cannon from Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within) and loses his arm in the process. Tetsuo destroys the cannon and disappears in the process, holing up in the Olympic Stadium and the final conflict begins, which I won't spoil for you, of course. Needless to say, this movie has such a SWANK~! ending, that even friggin SOUTH PARK had to swipe it.


Movie rating: What else? *****, still an kickass movie after 25 years.



Special Features



Disc 1: Unused Storyboards, Backgrounds

Initial Character Design

Comics & Magazines

Movie & Promotion

VHS, CD, & Misc.


Summary: Disc 1 has some decent special features and the unused backgrounds are pretty cool, but you can easily see why they didn't use them, so don't worry yourself over the features on the first disc.


Rating: ***1/2




Disc 2: AKIRA Production report

AKIRA Sound Clip by Geinoh Yamashiro Gumi

Director Katsuhiro Otomo's Interview

P roduction Materials



AKIRA Glossary




Summary: Disc 2 is great if you had just started getting into anime via DBZ, Digimon, or(God forbid) POKEMON. BUT, if you are a long-time fan, chances are that most of the commentary(although excellent) is stuff you've heard already. The Production Materials, Trailers, and Glossary make the second disc a big thumbs up from me.


Rating: ****



Final Word: If you are a newbie to the world of a Japanimation and want to see what all the fuss is about for this movie, pick up the 2-disc DVD Tin(which I have). Or, if you are a long-time fan and STILL don't have this movie, WHAT THE BLOODY HELL ARE YOU WAITING FOR? This is THE MOVIE that basically started the anime trend in the States. It's like the Bret/Austin WM 13 of anime, dudes. Highest Recommendation.


Also, a couple of other movies/TV shows on DVD that you might want to check out: Street Fighter 2, Vampire Hunter D(some don't like it, but it rocks to me), The Robotech Saga Box Sets(I'll be doing these if I get a spot or if I can find the time to as a tryout), Neon Gensis Evangelion, and Trigun.



Well, that's it and I hope ya enjoyed it, even if you are a close-minded American cartoon-loving fool(just kidding!!!). I actually plan on doing a lil 3 day dealie with the Neon Genesis Evangelion saga starting with the Evangelion Box Set(the entire series), Death & Rebirth the next day, and ending with, of course, End of Evangelion(which isn't available in the States until September 24th). So be on the lookout for it, foo'!!!


See ya later!



Byron Vester

The SmartMarks.com

E-mail me at: [email protected]

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