Akira

When Akira came out anime was nowhere as big as it was today. There was Speed Racer and Robotech in the mainstream, so Akira blew people away with its gritty sci-fi tale and epic story. The original release was made way back in 1988 and it was localized in 1990 by Streamline pictures. Instead of getting the original draft, Akira for the PSP is actually the re-mastered version that Geneon released in 2001. Geneon didn’t just sharpen up the picture quality, they did a full re-dub of the series. Critics proclaim that the new dub is vastly superior the original, I’d readily agree with them. The revived version of Akira is worth seeing just for the quality of the dub.

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If you haven’t seen Akira here’s a run down of what you’re going to be jumping into. Kaneda and Tetsuo have been friends since childhood. Now teenagers, both of them are part of the same motorcycle gang. The two battle the killer clowns together and attend the same juvenile delinquent school in Neo Toyko. Life is normal until a mysterious boy comes between them. This blue faced child was once the experiment of the military and as the military captures the child they also pick up Tetsuo. Now Tetsuo ends up as part of a military experiment. His psychic powers are unleashed as well as his inner rage. Neo Tokyo is now in the hands of Tetsuo and Kaneda. In beneath the rather deep story is a lot of action. High octane motorcycle battles are extremely well done. Fast gun battles and a massive fight at the end of the movie makes Akira an excellent choice for action lovers as well as the anime audience.

 

While Akira is a modern masterpiece, a treasured classic in the anime universe and a must watch movie there are some things that keep the PSP version from perfection. First there isn’t a chapter select option in the main menu. You can skip through chapters with the left and right triggers, but an animated chapter select would have been a much better idea. Then there is the absence of the “capsule” feature found on the platinum DVD version. Certain times on screen a small capsule would pop up and if you pressed enter on the remote a translation would pop up. This feature keeps the screen from being unnecessarily cluttered with translations. Since the PSP has a small screen and that you’re likely to be holding it while watching it would have been a good idea to add this in the UMD. Otherwise the video is sharp and the audio loud enough so you can watch the movie without headphones.

 

The Akira UMD is worth a pick up if you haven’t seen the excellent revised release done by Geneon.


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