'Akira' Creator Will Get Final Say Over the Upcoming Live-Action Remake

Thursday, 01 June 2017 - 11:16AM
Comic Book Movies
Ghost in the Shell
Thursday, 01 June 2017 - 11:16AM
'Akira' Creator Will Get Final Say Over the Upcoming Live-Action Remake
Image credit: Funimation
The idea of a live-action adaptation of Akira, made by an American studio, understandably comes drenched in a thick, oozy coating of dread. The controversy surrounding Ghost in the Shell is still a little too fresh in the mind, and it's very rare for a Western studio to do justice to a Japanese film when attempting to import a story without falling too far into the murky realm of cultural appropriation. Too often, far too much is literally lost in translation.

Nevertheless, progress is being made on a big budget, modern, American adaptation of Katsuhiro Otomo's Akira, considered by many to be the granddaddy of modern grown-up anime. It comes as something of a relief, then, to hear that Otomo himself, while not involved in this new movie, has stipulated that he gets final say over the film's ultimate treatment:

Opening quote
"While I haven't seen the new live-action Ghost in the Shell, when it comes to Akira I have already finished the original manga and my own anime version, too. So in that sense, I am basically done with Akira. If someone wants to do something new with Akira then I am mostly okay with that. As I accepted the offer for a live-action Akira to be made, so I am generally okay with whatever they want to do with it. However, I did give one major condition to a live-action version and that is that I had to check and approve the scenario."
Closing quote


It's not all that hard to see why movie studios are interested in getting Akira to work for a Western audience. With comic book movies continuing to dominate the box office, studios are eager to tap into another rich vein of similar stories that will provide plenty of film ideas for years to come. The problem, here, is that most fans of this genre of storytelling don't actually want to see their beloved stories clumsily remade by Hollywood. As early as 2008, the idea of a Western adaptation of Akira has been floating around the web, and has been met with ridicule and cynicism. Here's a taste:



If Hollywood is serious about going ahead with Akira, creators need to learn the vital lesson at the heart of the Ghost in the Shell: this story is decidedly Japanese, and attempting to shoehorn in a popular white actor will probably feel like a betrayal of the movie's core message, no matter how carefully the finished film sticks to the visuals of the original anime.
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