Akira Lives

I’m sick with a spring cold, cranky and pissed off about “politics” in the US, also known as the charade that ends with nothing changing ever and rich people getting richer while the rest of us are forced to consume carcinogenic material and then buy cancer drugs from companies that sell both and make money off our lives and deaths. So I’m watching violent science fiction where the world is destroyed to help ease the pain of existence in a triumphalist capitalist society democracy.

So, to that end, let’s imagine the live-action version of Akira.

It’s been announced that Akira is going to be a live action film, possibly starring Joseph Gordon Leavitt and Leonardo DiCaprio. The executive producer is the creator, Otomo, and the director is Irish director Ruari Robinson. Fanboys have been complaining—why does it need to be redone?—but as I posted here, it really needs a reworking. The original anime classic, for all its beauty, is nearly unintelligible at the level of story if you make that kind of demand on it. While the visuals did change science fiction forever, much like Bladerunner, it now has the curious quality of an Etruscan artifact: beautiful but not quite knowable, as if it were in a language lost to us.

The live-action remake will appear in two films, and be based on the story as it appeared in the far superior graphic novels, volumes 1-6. The film was done before the graphic novels were, and in the novels, Otomo has the story make more sense. So a film based on those novels and not on the original anime classic is a really welcome development for fans, I think. And after a review of Robinson’s short film, Silent City, on Youtube, I’m officially excited. Silent City looks like an out-take from the Akira graphic novels—it’s easy to see why he’s been chosen. The sensibility is a perfect fit. Check it out below and see what you think.

Here’s also his animated short, 50% Grey.


  1. You mean you’re actually paying attention to politics. I can’t watch, it’s gone beyond a car wreck.

    I am excited about the idea of a live action Akira, though not so much about Leonardo. However, it would be nice to see one with a storyline you could follow. I love the Anime, but as you say, it is some compelling visual experience that is largely incomprehensible.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s