Akira (Blu-ray) (1987)
Main Menu Audio & Animation
|Year Of Production||1987|
|RSDL / Flipper||Dual Layered||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Katsuhiro Otomo|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby TrueHD 5.1
Japanese Dolby TrueHD 5.1
Japanese Linear PCM 48/16 2.0 (1536Kb/s)
Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.85:1|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Akira is a film that needs little introduction to most fans of Japanese animation, or film buffs at large. The film is deservedly regarded far and wide as a masterpiece and a landmark of film of Japanese animation, and hand-drawn animation in general. The film looks stunning and features a brilliant story that manages to exceed the quality of its glorious visuals.
Our original DVD reviewer suggested that viewers dive into Akira and discover the plot as you go. As much as it sounds a cop-out, I have to agree. Akira is a multi-layered masterpiece of storytelling that unfurls beautifully. Boiling that narrative down to a few paragraphs would be difficult and cheapen the whole experience. Suffice to say it is a plot that lures viewers in a holds them in awe of the world it creates for the little over two hours that the film runs for.
The initial premise is that a couple of young, edgy bikie gang members, Tetsuo and Kaneda, living in post World War III Neo-Tokyo (a rebuild of the city following its destruction in the war), year 2019, stumble upon an unusual child during a vicious skirmish with a rival gang. From there a brilliant sci-fi action plot evolves. Particularly brilliant because it works equally well as a testosterone filled action plot as it does a philosophical mind-bend about human existence and rumination on post World War II Japanese society.
Akira is a unique experience and deservedly recognised as a masterpiece of Japanese animation and deserves a look from cinephiles everywhere.
The film is presented in its original 1.85:1 aspect ratio in 1080p.
The opening distributor logo features a bit of telecine wobble and there is the odd fleck of dust on the print, but the transfer is otherwise of a high standard. The image is clear and sharp. The colours are bold, yet delicate, and offer an excellent representation of the original hand-painted colouring. There is a good level of detail in the blacks and shadows, although the style of animation does not feature any deep-contrast dark scenes to really show the full capability of the format.
The film features clear English subtitles that offer a good translation of the Japanese dialogue.
The film features Japanese and English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 audio tracks, A Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 audio track and an uncompressed Japanese LPCM 2.0 track.
The audio is of an excellent standard, featuring a wide dynamic range and excellent clarity. The dialogue is well placed in the mix and is easy to understand. The sync is excellent for the Japanese dub and surprisingly decent for the English, although the dub featured appears to be the less manic dub prepared for the Region 1 DVD release rather than the original English dub and I must confess that I prefer the clumsier original dub to this one.
The surround mix is impressive. For the most part the mix is subtle, but it really cranks it out during the many action sequences. The subwoofer gets a good workout throughout the feature, particularly in the action scenes.
|Surround Channel Use|
2 teasers, 2 theatrical trailers, one TV spot, altogether running about 5 minutes. Presented in HD.
758 pages of high resolution storyboard scans. Mighty impressive reference material, although it is a little slow to scroll through and (unsurprisingly) all the handwritten text is in Japanese.
A 32 page booklet with containing the production story, production art, storyboards and so on. This is a real gem for fans and easily the highlight of the extras package.
The US Region A edition includes a Japanese 2.0 LPCM audio track, but misses out on the magnificent production booklet, which makes this an Australian Region B winner (thought the disc itself is formatted for regions A, B and C) in my book.
Compared with the previous DVD editions of the film, there are several hours worth of production features that have appeared on the various DVD editions that this Blu-ray misses out on. Whilst it is an excellent package, it is certainly not a definitive package, so be prepared for a future double-dip or to buy several DVD editions is you want definitive bonus material for this classic.
Akira is the best animated film ever produced for an adult audience (no, not a XXX audience). The visuals are staggeringly well detailed and the animation is gorgeous. The story is action packed and thoroughly engaging. Akira is a masterpiece.
In terms of audio and video, this disc really delivers - unless you wanted the original English dub (although it's probably not a huge loss if you don't already have an idea of what to expect the characters to sound like).
The extras are good, but compared with the previous DVD editions of the film, there are several hours worth of production features that have appeared on the various DVD editions that this Blu-ray misses out on.
|DVD||Sony Playstation 3, using HDMI output|
|Display||Samsung 116cm LA46M81BD. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL).|
|Audio Decoder||Pioneer VSX2016AVS. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||150W DTX front speakers, 100W centre and 4 surround/rear speakers, 12 inch PSB Image 6i powered sub|