clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Akira is getting a 4K remaster and a new anime series

New, 10 comments

The groundbreaking 1988 science fiction film Akira is getting a 4K remaster next year, and director Katsuhiro Otomo has announced a new anime series based on his original Akira manga as well as an unrelated new feature film called Orbital Era.

Anime News Network reported the news out of the Anime Expo yesterday, and studio Sunrise has released a couple of short, related teaser trailers. The Akira 4K remaster will launch in Japan on April 24th, 2020, and it’s coming to the US at an unknown point. Akira was previously restored for DVD in 2001 and Blu-ray in 2009.

Sunrise president Makoto Asanuma said the studio was “still developing” the new anime series, but it’s apparently supposed to incorporate the events of the entire manga, which was published from 1982 to 1990. “Fans will be kept up to date about this new anime adaptation project as details become available,” reads a Facebook post by the company.

The Akira film substantially condensed the manga’s story, and, as Gizmodo pointed out, Otomo initially felt his adaptation was a failure because of its major time and budget constraints. In fact, the widely beloved film helped introduce Japanese animation to Western audiences, and it’s soon getting a live-action adaptation from Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi. That film will premiere on May 21st, 2021.

Orbital Era is written, directed, and designed by Otomo. It will be his third feature-length animated film, following Akira and the 2004 film Steamboy. Here’s the description from Sunrise:

The plot takes place in the near-future on a space colony under construction. It is an action-adventure story following the lives of some young boys surviving in this peculiar environment and society as they are tossed around by fate. “The reality found in mankind’s future” will be depicted through their perspective.

A 44-second teaser trailer shows an astronaut with Soviet Union insignia carrying a skateboard, although Otomo noted that the main character is apparently American. Anime News Network writes that it’s supposed to be more fantastical than strictly hard sci-fi.

Otomo is also editing a retrospective called Otomo: The Complete Works, which is supposed to “include every one of his works and statements in chronological order since his debut as a manga artist in 1971.” That’s a tall order: while Otomo is best known for Akira, he’s got a vast body of work. We covered an expansive exhibit of his art back in 2012. “Otomo will personally edit and organize the retrospective with the goal of publishing a fresh collection of work through which fans can trace the trajectory of his ideas and creations as far back as the birth of his creative career,” reads the description from Sunrise.