Seriously, Hollywood? Were the millions you made peddling dumbed-down versions of Speed Racer and Transformers not enough? You even managed to dumb down Knight Rider, which had the intelligence of a baked potato to begin with. Do you really need another mountain of gold scraped from the treasured memories of our youth to fill the vaults of your McStudio? Please, Hollywood, no more. We’re begging you. For the love of wrinkly mutant babies, just let us hang on to this one unsullied shred of our childhood.
Readers, in case you haven’t heard, the latest casualty in the remake rampage is Akira, Katsuhiro Otomo’s groundbreaking series about a delinquent biker gang in post-WW3 Neo-Tokyo. If Akira was a car, it’d already be a classic, according to most states’ 25-year threshold. But hell, those who’ve seen it know it was a classic on the day it was born.
Publication started in 1982 in Young Magazine, the Japanese manga weekly also responsible reigniting our passion for hachirokus and Fairlady Zs with Initial-D and Wangan Midnight. It was widely acclaimed as one of the best manga of all time. Likewise, the 1988 anime adaptation cost $10 million for its revolutionary artwork, a record sum at the time, and is credited with introducing Japanimation to the western world.
We’ve watched it at least three times and we still don’t fully understand what the heck is going on. All we know is that it takes place in a dystopian 2030, after Tokyo has been destroyed by a nuclear bomb. And it contains layers of subplots involving terrorists, government conspiracies, nightmarish children that look 87 years old, a hallucinotastic trip with creepy anthropomorphic toys, and killer motorcycle chases. In other words, Totally. F’in. Cool.
In fact, the bikes ridden by main characters Kaneda and Tetsuo have become so iconic that fans have created a slew of real-life replicas. If only Akira‘s transformation into live action were to stop there. But no, Warner Brothers is strip-mining this specimen of storytelling perfection and putting Leonardo “King of the World” DiCaprio and some other guy we’ve never heard of in the leading roles. Also, they’re moving the whole setting to Manhattan. At this point, why not just call it something else? Because they want to extinguish our souls, that’s why.
Thanks (we think) to Van for the tip!