Akira (1988) Movie Poster

Trivia for Akira (1988)

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  • The 1940s-style song heard following the terrorist bombing is "Tokyo Shoe Shine Boy", released in 1951 by jazz singer Teruko Akatsuki. The song was not included in either the Japanese or American releases of the soundtrack; however, it had previously appeared on the release of the soundtrack from MASH (1970).
  • At one point in the 1990s, Sony contemplated a live-action version of the film, but scrapped the idea when the projected budget went north of US$300 million.
  • The film was re-released in 2001 with a new voice dub and soundtrack, reportedly costing over $1 million.
  • The movie consists of 2,212 shots and 160,000 single pictures, 2-3 times more than usual, using 327 different colors (another record in animation film), 50 of which were exclusively created for the film. The reason for this statistic is that most of the movie takes place at night, a setting that is traditionally avoided by animators because of the increased color requirements.
  • This was one of the first Japanese anime films to have the character's voices recorded before they were animated. While this is the typical practice in U.S. animation, in Japan the animation is generally produced first.
  • The production budget was nearly $10 million, a record sum for a Japanese animation film.
  • Katsuhiro Ôtomo originally created the AKIRA manga as an homage to manga artist Mitsuteru Yokoyama, who created Tetsujin nijûhachi-go (1963) (Tetsujin 28). Both AKIRA and Tetsujin 28 have a main character named Shotaro Kaneda and Akira's no. 28 designation compares with the robot's no.28 designation.
  • Because Madman Entertainment Pty. Ltd. licensed Akira through Manga Entertainment rather than Pioneer/Geneon, the Australian DVD release of Akira has both the original Streamline dub (which Manga has the license to) and Pioneer/Geneon's new English dub.
  • The music for the film was completed before any of the composers saw a frame of film or read the script. The music did have to be edited to fit some scenes though.
  • In the scene where Kaneda is at the jukebox you can see the logos of three famous classic rock bands: Cream, Led Zeppelin and The Doors.
  • Originally released in the U.S. by Streamline Pictures in 1990. A decade later, Pioneer Entertainment (now Geneon Entertainment) obtained the license to AKIRA and spent roughly $1 million in restoring the film's audio and video quality, as well as recording an all-new, more accurate English dub.
  • The movie takes place in 2019 and depicts Neo-Tokyo creating a new Olympic stadium. Coincidentally, Tokyo was scheduled to host the 2020 Summer Olympics before the COVID-19 pandemic delayed them until 2021.
  • In the riot scene, Kei pushes past a man wearing a sweater bearing the word 'Young'. Young Magazine was the bi-monthly comics anthology series that the original Akira manga was serialized in.
  • Katsuhiro Ôtomo also wrote the manga of the same name.
  • Kanye West is a huge fan of the film and used some scenes from the movie in the music video for his song 'Stronger'.
  • The film has aired three times on the Sci-Fi channel in North America: the original Streamline Pictures dub aired in the mid-90's and the re-dubbed Pioneer version aired on December 7th 2013 and on December 20th 2014.
  • The motto "Good for Health / Bad for Education", seen on the Capsules' jackets, forms a rhyming phrase when translated into Japanese: "Kenko ni yoidesu / Kyoiku ni waruidesu".
  • Was chosen by Entertainment Weekly magazine as one of the "100 New Classics" ranking as #74 in the June 20, 2008 issue. The issue ranked the greatest movies of the previous 25 years.
  • Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.
  • Katsuhiro Ôtomo did not intend to adapt the series outside of the manga. However, he became 'very intrigued' when the offer to develop his work for the screen was put before him. He agreed to an anime film adaptation of the series on the grounds that he retained creative control of the project - this insistence was based on his experiences working on Harmagedon: Genma taisen (1983).
  • The Akira Committee was the name given to a partnership of several major Japanese entertainment companies brought together to realize production of an Akira film. The group's assembly was necessitated by the unconventionally high budget of around ¥1,100,000,000, intended to achieve the desired epic standard equal to Otomo's over 2,000 page manga tale. The committee consisted of publisher Kodansha Ltd., Mainichi Broadcasting System, Inc., Bandai Co., Ltd., Hakuhodo Incorporated, distributor Toho Co., Ltd., Laserdisc Corporation and Sumitomo Corporation who all forwarded money and promotion towards the movie. The animation for the movie was provided for by animation producers, Tokyo Movie Shinsha Co., Ltd.
  • The film was completed in 1987 and released in 1988, two years before the manga officially ended in 1990.
  • Katsuhiro Ôtomo is claimed to have filled 2000 pages of notebooks, containing various ideas and character designs for the film, but the final storyboard consisted of a trimmed-down 738 pages.
  • Streamline Pictures is reported to have become the film's distributor when both George Lucas and Steven Spielberg labelled it unmarketable in the U.S.
  • The movie is also notable for being one of the few animated movies to be released by The Criterion Collection (specifically, it was given a laserdisc release in 1993), along with Watership Down (1978) and Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009).
  • The scene with the black circles just before the final scene and credits is actually a pencil test.
  • At one point a demonstrator is seen wearing a baseball cap with wings. A similar cap is a plot element in Katsuhiro Ôtomo's previous comic story "Domu."
  • This was the highest-grossing film of 1988.
  • The film is widely credited with breaking anime into mainstream Western audiences.
  • Computer-generated imagery was used in the film, primarily to animate the pattern indicator used by Doctor Onishi, but it was additionally used to plot the paths of falling objects, model parallax effects on backgrounds, and tweak lighting and lens flares.
  • The film takes place in 1988 and 2019.
  • "Akira" means "Bright, intelligent, clear" in Japanese.
  • The film was re-released in the United Kingdom on 21 September 2016. Leter comes a 3-disc Blu-Ray edition. Now it's becoming the most talked about anime films throught the UK, but mostly in England and Scotland.
  • The film was re-released on 21 September 2016 in subtitled. Two months later was a 3-Disc Blu-Ray edition. It became the most talked about anime film throughout the UK, mostly in England and Scotland.
  • A German music project named Sunbeam had a huge hit in 1995 with a rave song, that included the samples "You know we aren't meant to exist in the outside world" and "I've come to get you" from the English version of the movie. Those lines are spoken by Masaru to Takashi, when he appears right after Tetsuo crashed his bike into Takashi's power shield.
  • After Pioneer Entertainment remastered the film in 2001, the original Streamline dub was unavailable for 12 years until Funimation re-instated it for their 25th anniversary edition Blu-ray/DVD combo pack in 2013.
  • The scene in which Tetsuo flies up into outer space to destroy the satellite is very scientifically accurate in the sense that there's little to no noise once he leaves Earth, due to the fact that there's no medium for which sound to travel through in space that's audible to the human ear because it's a vacuum (with few exceptions given the right circumstances, such as someone hearing the muffled sounds of something touching or hitting the exterior of their ship or space suit). This is very impressive for a sci-fi animated film from 1988, seeing as how live action movies like Gravity (2013) and Interstellar (2014) have only recently begun paying more noticeable attention to that technical aspect of space almost three decades later.
  • The computer sounds, which can be heard during Tetsuo's body scan, were taken from the MU-TH-UR computer in Alien (1979).
  • Despite Kaneda being older than Tetsuo, both English dub voice actors for Tetsuo, Jan Rabson and Joshua Seth are older than Cam Clarke and Johnny Yong Bosch the voice actors for Kaneda.
  • Tokyo Movie Shinsha, the production company that produced the movie, would go on to animate various episodes of Tiny Toon Adventures (1990), Batman: The Animated Series (1992), and Animaniacs (1993) in the 1990s for Warner Brothers Animation.
  • Johnny Yong Bosch and Mona Marshall would later work together in Doraemon (2005) once again Bosch voices another human protagonist additionally Jessica Gee George and Michael Sorich would later work together in Little Witch Academia (2017).
  • Joe Ranft's only time doing dubbed work and only R-rated project when he was still alive all the other projects he worked on were American and were either rated G or PG (and PG-13 in the case of the live action film Monkeybone (2001)).
  • Original Kaneda and Tetsuo's Voice Actors - Mitsuo Iwata and Nozomu Sasaki - are peers at the time of the film. Both were born in 1967 with a difference of about six months.
  • A character named K 9999, from the King of Fighters game series, was based off the Akira character Tetsuo Shima. And they were both voiced by seiyu (voice actor) Nozomu Sasaki.


  • If you look carefully during the scene where Tetsuo first begins to hallucinate you can see a series of events that happen later in the movie like Tetsuo's rampage on the city, his fight with Kaneda, Tetsuo's mutation, Kaori's death, and his flashbacks to when he first met Kaneda.
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