Sunday, 25 December 2016

Unboxing [UK]: Akira - Collector's Edition 2016 Re-Release (BD/DVD)

Akira! One of the first anime films I had ever seen. I already owned the Manga UK DVD that was re-released around 2011/12-ish but at the time a Blu-ray version was already out there, and I've been meaning to own the HD version since. And just recently this release happened, so here it is.

Akira is a science fiction anime film released in 1988 from director and creator Katsuhiro Otomo, based on his manga of the same name. The film was the key to bringing anime outside of Japan and distributors Manga Entertainment, Streamline Pictures and Pioneer helped expose it to more people with their theatrical screenings and numerous DVD releases within the English territories. The license in North America eventually moved to Bandai Entertainment and currently with Funimation, while the United Kingdom license stayed with Manga UK.

Akira's DVD releases were doable, but the previous Blu-ray and DVD release used the Bandai Entertainment masters that unfortunately suffered from dubtitles, which are essentially subtitles using the English dub script effectively making the Japanese audio track useless unless you understood the language. But the good news is that this 2016 re-release from Manga Animatsu (formerly Manga UK) uses the Funimation master that fixed the issue but also added extra content for the Blu-ray!

The Manga Animatsu Collector's Edition contains two English dubs (the inferior 1988 Streamline Pictures version which was rarely included in any other release prior, and the well recognised and superior 2001 Pioneer version that everyone knows and loves) as well as the original Japanese audio with English subtitles on Blu-ray and DVD. The Blu-ray is the main feature that is worth using, as the DVD uses an older PAL authoring. The Blu-ray is Region B only and has unlockable subtitles. The DVD is Region 2 only, PAL and also has unlockable subtitles. It's worth nothing that only the Blu-ray version uses Funimation's masters, and that the DVD release is the exact same as the 2011 Manga UK release.

Blu-ray Specs:
Languages: Japanese, 1988 Streamline English Dub, 2001 Pioneer English Dub
Audio: Dolby TrueHD 5.1 [Japanese, 2001 Pioneer English Dub], Dolby TrueHD 2.0 [1988 Streamline English Dub]
Video: 1080p HD Native 16:9
Region: B
Subtitles: English
Subtitles Locked: No
Discs: 1

DVD Specs:
Languages: Japanese, 2001 Pioneer English Dub
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 [Japanese, 2001 Pioneer English Dub], Dolby Digital 5.1 [Japanese]
Video: SD PAL 16:9
Region: 2
Subtitles: English
Subtitles Locked: No
Discs: 1

Plot Synopsis (via Manga Animatsu):
Katsuhiro Otomo's landmark cyberpunk classic obliterated the boundaries of Japanese animation and forced the world to look into the future. Akira's arrival shattered traditional thinking, creating space for movies like The Matrix to be dreamed into brutal reality. Neo-Tokyo, 2019. The city is being rebuilt post World War III when two high school drop outs, Kaneda and Tetsuo stumble across a secret government project to develop a new weapon - telekinetic humans. After Tetsuo is captured by the military and experimented on, he gains psychic abilities and learns about the existence of the project's most powerful subject, Akira. Dangerous and destructive, Kaneda must take it upon himself to stop both Tetsuo and Akira before things get out of control and the city is destroyed once again.

On-Disc Extra Content (Blu-ray only):
Akira Sound Clip (1988)
Director Interview
Storyboard Collection
The Writing on the Wall
Original Trailers
Original Commercials
Restoring Akira
U.S. Trailer (2013)

On-Disc Extra Content (DVD only):
Production Report

Collector's Edition Extras:
Chipboard Artbox with Clean Art (no logos, no title on spine, no info), clear slipcover sleeve and Blu-ray case for the discs
Digital iTunes Copy
4 Artcards

Akira is available on Blu-ray and DVD from Manga Animatsu.

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Member of the Anime UK News forum, and also once part of the Sheffield Hallam Visual Arts society throughout 2013-2017. Been collecting anime since 2012 and supported the anime distributors ever since. Also been hanging around on the Blu-ray forum and Fandom Post forums.

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