back to article Warner Bros revs up live action Akira

Warner Bros has announced a two-movie live action adaptation of Katsuhiro Otomo's six-volume Akira, the first of which will be fast-tracked for a 2009 release, Variety reports. Each installment will encompass three volumes of the original work, which has already graced the silver screen in a 1988 Otomo-helmed animation. Short …


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  1. Greg

    Oh Christ...

    They're Americanizing (with a "Z") it already, are they? Why can't people (the Yanks) leave awesome things alone and think of something new, rather than ruining them? We've already had the Die Hard series wrecked, along with Transformers, The Terminator, Spiderman, etc, etc. Grrrrr.

  2. Darren Burrows


    Why do Hollywood insist on remaking prior art? They never get it right. Here's hoping it gets left in a dark dusty corner of some obscure warehouse somewhere, long before it starts production. Much like the Evangelion remake from a few years ago.

  3. Mark Ashworth

    NO Don't do it.

    Don't let the American's another work of art.

  4. Anonymous Coward


    I might be a lone voice calling in the deserted streets of Neo Manhattan here, but it could turn out to be good (or just not embarrassingly poor). Otomo's original 6vol version (started before but completed after the movie came out) diverges significantly from his film after vol 2 or 3 (it's been a while since I read them) and is much wider and more expansive in scope and the way it approaches the literary themes of the piece. Maybe the forthcoming Watchmen adaptation will show the way?

    However, I do also agree with Alan ('call me God') Moore's comment that comic books (or graphic novels) and film are totally separate media and despite the superficial similarities between the two, the idea of a 'faithful' adaptation is a virtual impossibility.

    All together now... "Tetsuo-o-o-o-!!"

  5. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

    Not sure whether it will work in US

    There are several very Japanese concepts in Akira that will not easily translate into the US as is. There are two ways round this. Ether New Manhatten society will be made to look like post apocalipse Neo-Tokyo, or they will change the story.

    Which is it likely to be. Hmmmmm.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hang on...

    Outraged as I am that this is taking place, if they've got any bikes available at the end of the filming, I'll take one off their hands... They were cool, although being a hollywood remake, they'll probably all be replaced by SUVs (Hummers most likely).


  7. Gobhicks

    New Manhattan???

    Apart from anything else, this rips out the post-nuclear political subtext at the heart of the original, like they did with Godzilla, and reduces another genuine work of art to just another gratuitous CGI-fest (and don't even get me started on how they debased the lyrical beauty and mystery of Beowulf). There should be some kind of Blasphemy/Sacrilege law about this.

  8. Mark Lockwood
    Dead Vulture

    Don't forget

    The Bride, High Fidelity, PS I Love You, Vanilla Sky, The Ring, The Grudge, Scent of a Woman, Vanishing, Nightwatch, City of Angels, Nikita.

    Holywood, it's the dead of any great film for the lure of the mighty dollar

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Graphic novels -> film

    Sin City and 300 are examples of faithful conversions/adaptations.

    Maybe it's just that Miller's stuff is more cinematographic to start with.

    Maybe it's just that Hollywood largely doesn't *get* the Comics thing, because it has to market it to a cinema-going public who largely don't get it either.

  10. Bad Beaver

    WFT New Manhatten?

    I mean, at least Otomo is involved, but heck...

  11. Timmy Timerton

    Another Hollywood Mistake

    I'm glad Otomo will be there to guide the thing, but the reality is that his producer role is merely a gimme to make him rich and willing to go along with the idea. Akira involves many apocalyptic elements buried very deep in the Japanese psyche. There is no possible way to accurately or dramatically portray a culture that has been bombed with a nuclear device unless you are that culture.

    BTW where in the hell is my Elric movie? Now that's something worth talking about!

  12. Dave Ross

    Oh FFS!

    Noooooooo, please no, just don't do this ok?

    Akira was very much a film/manga "of it's time", and to be honest, by no means the best that Japanese animation and manga have to offer either.

    Frankly, as a long time fan of both, I am sick and tired of people saying "oh, like Akira" when you metion that your a fan. If this starts it off again, I may find myself arrested for multiple homicides...

    (however, I will plead that it was justifiable)

  13. Anonymous Coward

    Hopefully they'll improve on the story,

    Setting it in New York will be good, it'll look gritty. Maybe the main characters should be wisecracking cops though one being about to retire and the other being a bit disturbed (but funny rather than dribbling). And Akira could be a serial killer who keeps getting away but great at kung fo.

    for comic relief they could add a funny third partner, who could get shot which looks serious until they realise he was wearing a vest, maybe an italian american actor, forget about it

  14. Finn


    ...a place where great films of the world go to die.

    ...a place where the word 'originality' is spelled 'risky investment'.

    ...a place where talent is replaced with name-recognition.

    ...a place where I left my coat...

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh dear

    This sounds like a creative disaster in the making. Still, I'm sure if they hire Michael Bay to put lots of explosions, jump cuts and loud music in it the masses will throng to the multiplexes regardless of how much they've raped the source material.

  16. Anonymous Coward

    Re: hopefully they'll improve the story

    Yeah! Now who'll be responsible for the apocalypse? Here's a list of candidates

    A) Arabs.

    B) Kim Jong Il.

    C) Arabs working with Kim Jong Il.

    D) Iranians, who they refer to as Arabs (Iranians not being Arabs).

    E) Iranians working with Arabs.

    F) Iranians working with Kim Jong Il.

    G) Iranians working with Arabs and Kim Jong Il.

    H) The Union of Soviet Socialist European Republics and Monarchies. (What, you think the EU's not next on the list of bad guys?)

  17. Smallbrainfield

    As someone has already mentioned,

    the anime deviates significantly from the original manga. However, why supplant the entire story to New York? Why not just make an original film instead? Or even acknowledge a debt to Akira and make something else?

    I would still love a bike like Kaneda's, mind.

  18. rob
    Dead Vulture


    to do this right, you need to change NOTHING. frankly i'd prefer a 3 film CGI version then 2 films as good as the ANIME version.

    HI-ART is required to capture the visuals (achieved in the ANIME) but this time the STORY needs to be told in full. so much was left un said and changed (no actual Akira) in the anime. STUDIOS: imagine a lord ot Rings for the 21st century. This is your chance to really cash in on an epic, dramiatic, beautiful, thought provoking (on many many fronts) story.


  19. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    'improvements' AC

    Further additions- a monkey (everyone loves them),

    - Theming slightly less obvious than "America! Fuck Yeah!" from TAWP,

    - Something cute (chicks love cute stuff)

    - Drug-funded-Terrorism will be responsible for the apocalypse. Those evil Arabs will be so off their mash on ecstacy pipes they'll accidentally bomb us (all Arabs being evil and not American, so not smart enough to make a proper bomb)

    - A boat scene. These are great, and give the opportunity to have the inevitable hot-chick-sidekick to get soaked and strip.

    Fellow Reg Readers, I suggest we create a film! A film of such excessive cheesy hollywoodesque crapness that we become incredibly rich!

    Paris because she knows all about making crap quality movies and getting rich(er) off them...

  20. TeeCee Gold badge

    Re: H)

    I thought that we already *were* on the list of bad guys. They've been shooting at us for long enough.

    The flak jacket please and the *really* big flag with "Ally" written on it.

  21. passerby

    Not suprised

    Guess it was expected, they've milked Marvel comics dry, Manga is next, and when they've done that Bande Dessinée followed by a remake of King King.

  22. Chika
    Paris Hilton

    Well, that just proves my own theory

    I recently had a pop at wHollyWeird on my Livejournal, attacking the creative black hole that is the American film and television industry. When I first became interested in anime, it was because I was thoroughly sick of the diet of BLAH coming out of the States coupled with the steady decline of anything UK based. It now seems that the wHollyWeird execs are so desperate for anything resembling talented writing that they are now content to rip off the cultural outpourings of other countries. They also pander to those blinkered folk that believe that animation is not a valid medium for film making.

    Paris connection? Simple! wHollyWierd execs are a bunch of tits!

  23. The Avangelist

    Oh Polly what tragedy

    The only thing wrong about the original anime adaptation was that it ended. It is such a small segment of what is still by far one of the greatest graphic novels written of all time.

  24. Doug Thompson

    could be worst

    The Yanks could have Akira as a white American and have it set in New New York.

    Though that would be part of the yanks lame Inferiority Complex (Heroes the series) where hollywood has bad guys are brits and good guys as white yanks. Where if you have another view its "UnAmerican" (the new xenophobia) or anti-american.

    This aside from all the conversions of Marvel mags into TV/Movie content this would imply Marvel is best(cos its yank) then when that is exhusted use Manga and Americanize it to make it 'wholesome' (if it anint yank it aint worth s**t!).

    So in answer to "Why can't the Yanks leave awesome things alone " is because they need reflected glory as they dont have any of their own.

    This is what we have come to expect from LA - why would they change now!

    Wait till they rewrite the bible and have jesus as a white republican from a sunshine state...

    Ofcouse, imagine the out cry if you took an american 'hero' and recast him as a say a french muslim villian? Ideally black and gay.

    Thinking of the screne play right now......

  25. Rykan

    New Manhattan??

    NEW MANHATTAN!? Damn right we aren't going to be happy about it. I'm not a purist, but that just takes the cake. Such a typical thing for film makers to do.

  26. Anonymous Coward

    Re: could be worst

    @Doug Thompson

    "Ofcouse, imagine the out cry if you took an american 'hero' and recast him as a say a french muslim villian? Ideally black and gay.

    Thinking of the screne play right now"

    How's this?


    olde American bar shack.

    Enter Paul Revere.

    Revere: Yo niggaz! Da Brits is comin. Nous gotta bust some caps in dey asses, tout de suite! Hey, passez-moi my prayer mat bee-atch! Nous gonna need da help of da Most Holy!

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Re: hopefully they'll improve the story

    Quote "Yeah! Now who'll be responsible for the apocalypse? Here's a list of candidates..."

    You forgot the old Hollywood fave - the 'English' baddie.

    Most likely Alan Rickman, or Charles Dance.

  28. Steven Foster


    Try as I might, I just can't see a reason for doing this...

  29. Shell

    god no :(

    Iie! Hollywood... wakari masu ka... DONT DO IT! They're ruined enough of my fave comics/anime/manga already (anyone seen the Japanese live action version of Death Note? The CGI is just astoundingly poor that it ruined the movie... and the manga all in one go).

    It already worries me enough with the James Cameron remake of Battle Angel Alita on the horizon...

    Now that the Hollywood writers strike is over, perhaps they should spend more time actually coming up with something new and interesting :s So this summer with have Shutter, no doubt another terrible re-make (another fantastic Asian horror flick). Having seen the US remake of Pulse (another of my fave Japanese horror flicks), I pretty much wanted to gouge my eyes out by the end - not because the movie was horrific, but because it was just utterly horrible.

    Make it stop!

  30. Andrew Moore
    Thumb Up

    How about!!!

    Setting it in Neo Hollywood- a vast arid wasteland, devoid of fertility, haunted by its denizens (known as the unCreatives...)

  31. Daniel B.


    "STUDIOS: imagine a lord ot Rings for the 21st century."

    Yes, please ... I'm sick and tired of all that fantasy frenzy going on ... turn back to sci-fi, please!

    That said, if there is something I really hate is Hollywood "Americanizing" every single story: Nikita->Point of no Return, Abre los Ojos->Vanilla Sky (ok that one wasn't so bad); or deliberately changing the original story's location: Time Machine (the remake), War of the Worlds (both of 'em). I haven't read/watched Akira, though I have watched Ghost in the Shell, and that one piece of Anime is something I would definitely *not* want to be Americanized.

    Some of the changing stuff does have its uses though, I definitely care more for "Rick Hunter" than "Hika-something whatever", even though the American version of this particular story was kind of butchered because of syndication requirements. And... I'm pretty sure most readers know what series I'm referring to :)

  32. Anonymous Coward

    This can't be good...

    Just look at how they butchered the dialogue on the anime series the Americans have running here now. It's pathetic. I can't imagine the translation for Akira will be any better...let alone it being live action in a different city.

  33. Strange

    What's the point?

    When will American film companies figure out that remaking Japanese classics is destined for mediocrity?

    I've seen Godzilla destroy Tokyo more times than I can count, and loved it every time. Then came the US version... utter crap.

    All decent film is a reflection of the culture that created it. Why would you want to make a film that reflects Japanese culture, especially given the fact that they have little insight into that culture.

    If they want to pay Otomo a ton of cash to make a movie with a similar premise that's fine, but don't make an Akira movie unless it's about Japan.

    Of course, the American equivalant would probably be named "Chad".


  34. StopthePropaganda

    As an American

    I hereby apologize for this newest bit of sewage to come out of conceptually and creatively bankrupt Hollywood.

    That, and the plague known as "reality television" and all it's "idol" type spinoffs. The decent citizens of this nation are ashamed of what our perverted "fellow citizens" have grunted out.

  35. Joseph
    Thumb Down


    Ug, this sucks. I couldn't imagine them getting the effects of what happens in Akira to not look cheesy.

  36. ratfox

    Oh my....

    Akira in New-York... That's a bad first impression...

    Also, since Akira is a japanese name, they'll rename the movie in "Peter"?

  37. RK

    it will suck...

    because all they care about marketing it to vapid Americans who have little appreciation for any culture outside their own (did i say "vapid" already?)...and it has to make money above all else.

    if you aren't seeing the general trend by now, you'd better wake up and get used to one classic film/book/TV series after another being "remade" into a lame star-vehicle, until they've done them ALL, then they'll start on round 2 (3?) in 2020 with "The New, NEW Scooby-Doo" or some such crap. originality rarely figures into "guaranteed profits".

    best thing is to ignore them entirely and certainly not to give them any money for such trash.

  38. Anonymous Coward

    aww we are so screwed(the fans that is)

    i wish and hoped to gods above and below and dead as yet to be born that this would not had ever happen...

    and another great artistic work and vision bites the dust to be sacrifieced on the altar of penny pinching money grubbing yuppies that dont know a masterpiece even if it came up to them introduced itself and bit them on their shriveled genetelia

    sorry akira as is and had been is PERFECT. why would any one in their right (or in this case screwed and deseased mind) mind would mess with work that stands alone? yes i know answer is greed.

    to be honest its like saying that gates made a perfect OS for every one and is god.(if this movie is made i will have to wonder about gates being god thing)

    BTW check out DOMU a direct precursor to akira

  39. Adrian Esdaile
    Thumb Down

    I wonder if they noticed?

    ... that one of the magical things about the original 'Akira' was the score? You know, that piece of originally-composed music that serves as a wonderful counterpoint to the action? ( 'Doll's Polyphony' is absolutely marvelous - playing it now).

    No doubt we will be served with a big fat ladle of shite BMM-BMM-TSHH-BMM-BMM-TSHH crap.

    As with almost everything 'Merka and the 'Merkins do now days, it's no wonder the rest of the world dislikes them so much.

  40. Anonymous Coward

    Location Location

    I heard something on the radio a while back about what makes films successful in the USA. It suggested that if a film isn't set in the USA it can often be a turn-off for US audiences.

    If this remake causes one person to seek out the original for the first time then at least some good will come of it.

  41. tempemeaty
    Thumb Down

    Pure Talent...

    Yup. Warner Bros has a special talent for ruining stories. At least they are good at something. LOL.

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