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Akira on Blu Ray


Asura
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Does anyone know if the version of Akira on Blu Ray is any good?

I don't mean the film of course, I'm on about the Blu Ray transfer. I'm worried the film will have been digitally remastered to within an inch of its life.

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For anyone in London, this is on at the Barbican starting today as part of their anime programme; as well as being one of the films scheduled for 22nd July at Folly For A Flyover in Hackney Wick, which is this year's project by the people who built the Cineroleum in Clerkenwell last summer.

It's on in a bunch of places:

http://www.mangauk.com/?p=akira-screening-times

24th June-30th June: London Barbican Centre.

2nd July: Oxford Picturehouse, Harbour Lights Southampton.

4th July: Aberdeen Picturehouse, Exeter Picturehouse, York Picturehouse, Norwich Picturehouse, Tyneside Cinema.

7th July: Stratford East Picturehouse

12th July: FACT (Liverpool)

13th July: Hyde Park Leeds

18th July: Ritzy (Brixton)

22nd July: The Folly Project, Hackney Wick.

26th July: Regal Picturehouse (Henley on Thames)

31st July: The Aubin, London.

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  • 1 month later...

The only downside is, im sure its got dubtitles. The subittles didnt seem to be recognisable in places, when I went to see it at the Tyneside cinema.

I'll be interested to see what they do. Akira has two full dubs (and I think two different sub sets too). It had the original version from when the film was new, which was what ended up on VHS, and a new version with new dubbing was commissioned for the DVD release (I actually have a double pack with both versions).

The original one managed to wreck many elements of the film, making it a bit more nonsensical and confusing - however, the lipsync was much better matched up between the audio and what was onscreen.

The second one has poorer lipsync, as an effort was made to try and preserve the original dialogue at the expense of polish.

Overall, the second one is the better of the two. I imagine the subtitles differ also; the second one is still probably the best.

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  • 6 months later...

Saw this at the Prince Charles on tuesday night, and fuck me is it still a mindblowingly awesome piece of cinema.

If anything I was more blown away this time then as a teenager. The scale of the storytelling, the detail of the world, the unbridled imagination and fearless direction.... since 1988 we've seen Hollywood master CGI and push endless comic books franchises, yet nothing even comes close to Akira.

Blu ray well and truely bloody ordered.

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When I watched this as a teenager, I remember there being loads of pill-popping throughout. I watched it at the Prince Charles on Tuesday, and there was none (apart from the guy buying drugs at the start, and Tetsuo munching on pills about halfway through). Is my memory playing tricks on me, or has anything been edited out of the UK version of the film?

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I think peanut was the name of the pill.

Also, I collected the comics way back when with a friend and although I never completed the collection, I got a good grasp of how the story expands and diverges from the film. It's weird how obsessed I was with it for a time, but then neglected it totally for years until last tuesday.

I downloaded the soundtrack yesterday and its brilliant - really expands on the music heard in the film - the tracks are more like mini operas and, like the film, very 'out there'. Fantastic to ride a bike to.

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I saw a dubbed version where Kaaaaaneeeeedaaaaaaaa was buying pills in that bar, but they changed it to him asking for peanuts...

In the original Japanese audio Kaneda asks for 'Peanuts, three' as well. I always assumed it was just a code word for the drugs being sold at the bar.

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the blu-ray of this is awesome - with probably the best audio of any blu-ray out there. the Japanese language track is a full 24-bit, 192kHz mix. the best it can get, but you need the right gear to be able to play it.

the blu-ray is light on extras because the 24/192 audio track takes up so much data space on the disc.

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the blu-ray is light on extras because the 24/192 audio track takes up so much data space on the disc.

Really no excuse when they could have stuck it in on a DVD for tuppence, and the exclusion of the DVD's capsule mode is just lazy. Anyway, the Special Edition DVD can be picked up for a couple of quid. Well worth getting along with the blu-ray for all the stuff that's missing, such as:

Let's start with Disc One, which is where you'll find the newer features. When you watch the film, you have the option of doing so in a special "capsule mode". This is a sort of "Follow the White Rabbit" feature, that allows you to access special material whenever a small drug capsule icon appears in the lower corner of your screen. The information tends to be English translations of written Japanese on books, banners and graffiti that appear in the film. It's a neat feature, but it's nothing Earth shattering. There's also a THX optimizer on Disc One that will allow you to quickly pseudo-calibrate your home theater system for proper enjoyment of the film.

Disc Two has the bigger extras, but they're also the older features for the most part. First up is the Akira Production Report. Running 48 minutes in Japanese (with English subtitles), this is the "making of" documentary that was originally released on Japanese laserdisc. It follows the conception, making of and release of Akira from start to finish. It's interesting, but these Japanese documentaries tend to be hard to digest because of the need for translation. Everything is pretty rapid fire, and it's hard to look at the images of pre-production material and read the translation at the same time. It's all very good, but it's hard to focus on. We also get the Akira Sound Clip by Geinoh Yamashiro Gumi, which has a running time of 20 minutes. This was also released on Japanese laserdisc a while back. Sound Clip is a fascinating documentary focusing on Gumi, the composer, and his ideas for the organic sound of the film. The soundtrack for this feature is Japanese and quite minimal, but the Japanese text that litters the screen has been translated into English by an optional English narrator, which works out great for American audiences. Next up is an interview with director Katsuhiro Otomo (with optional English subtitles). It seems to be an archived interview with Otomo, conducted during an earlier time than the release of this DVD. As with most Japanese creators, Otomo is very humble. He discusses his inspirations, his art and the production in detail. The last of our video-based extras are three featurettes newly created for this new DVD. The first, entitled Picture, is about the new transfer and digital video restoration. English Voice Over is all about - you guessed it - the English voice over cast. And English 5.1 Audio Mix is about the creation of the new soundtrack. None of these is very long or incredibly fascinating, but they do show the hard work and passion that went to fixing this film for DVD release.

The rest of the supplements (aside from four theatrical trailers and a TV spot, each with optional English subs) are still image galleries, which are throwbacks to the age of laserdisc. It's a very meaty set of images, however, worth every moment you spend perusing them. Called the Production Materials section, galleries are broken up into 36 chapters, which correspond to the 36 chapters on the film disc. Here you can see storyboards, character model sheets, color models and cel inserts for each and every scene in the film. There's days worth of stuff here and it's all pretty incredible to see. You'll also find some unused storyboards and background art, as well as the initial character designs. Rounding out the extras is more artwork - comic and magazine cover art from the various translations of the Akira manga around the globe, movie poster and promotional art (including previous VHS, laserdisc and music packaging) and a text based glossary of people, places and things from the film.

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some stuff from the guy who worked on the audio remaster here http://www.yamashiro...ersonic1_e.html.

while i'm pretty sure that akira is the best sounding blu-ray, i'm not sure i buy into the whole hypersonic theory stuff he has going on ie sounds with too high a frequency to 'hear' still affecting your subconscious(?).

EDIT: scientific paper on hypersonic theory here. http://jn.physiology.org/content/83/....full.pdf+html

may give it a read at some point to see if it will fully convince.

FURTHER EDIT: more promo text from the audio team here http://www.yamashiro...rience1_e.html. they start pushing pioneer equipment at the end... pioneer published the blu-ray of akira in japan... massive winky

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