The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will host a screening and panel for Katsuhiro Otomo’s Akira on December 2 to commemorate the film’s 30th anniversary. The screening will be held at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater and will incorporate a lobby exhibit of original animation cels and drawings.
Special guests include Jorge Gutiérrez (director of The Book of Life), Justin Thompson (production designer on Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse), Genndy Tartakovsky (director of Hotel Transylvania), Randy Haycock (animator and drawover lead on Moana), and Peter Chung (original creator of Æon Flux). The panel will be moderated by animation critic and historian Charles Solomon. The Akira art on exhibit was compiled by Joe Peacock and gifted to the Academy’s Margaret Herrick Library earlier this year. Tickets can be booked from the Academy website.
The Academy describes the film as follows:
In 2019, it has been 31 years since the Japanese government dropped an atomic bomb on the city of Tokyo, now known as Neo-Tokyo. Amid the corruption, protest and violence of the dystopian landscape, Kaneda (Mitsuo Iwata) and his anti-establishment biker gang zoom through the city. When a joyride gone wrong reveals that childhood friend Tetsuo (Nozomu Sasaki) might soon be the victim of the very same government project that long ago resulted in the bombing of the city, Kaneda and his gang take action to fight the politicians, scientists and military leaders at the head of this evil scheme.
Based on the manga by director Katsuhiro Otomo, Akira is regarded as one of the most remarkable achievements in anime filmmaking to date. Although it was unable to recoup its budget upon initial release in Japan, thanks to home video it quickly became a cult favorite in the United States, where its striking animation and gritty themes were hailed as revolutionary. Proving the potential of animation to tell adult stories, Akira represents a cultural and technological landmark that continues to inspire modern animators.
The film was also featured at the 32nd Tokyo International Film Festival earlier this month.
Otomo’s original science-fiction action manga ran in Kodansha’s Weekly Young Magazine from 1982 to 1990. Otomo directed his own animated film adaptation that premiered on July 16, 1988 — the same day that the story has the fictional Tokyo being destroyed.
At Anime Expo in July, it was revealed that the film will receive a 4K remaster in Japan on April 24, 2020. The 4K remaster will also receive a release in the United States.
A live-action film adaptation of the manga directed by Taika Waititi (Thor: Ragnarok, Boy, Hunt for the Wilderpeople) was announced in 2008 and is delayed indefinitely after previously being scheduled to open on May 21, 2021.