With cinemas being rather bare over the course of 2020, both in terms of an audience and new releases, there has been room for older films to once again get a shot at the spotlight. This unusual social recipe, in turns out, has been a blessing in disguise, allowing classics to find a new audience.

Case in point; the incredible 1988 animated film Akira has seen a 4K remastered cinema release, and the response has been overwhelmingly positive. At least, it has been positive for the few that have dared to venture into the now gloomy world of physical cinemas.

Animation As It Once Was

Those who have seen Akira will know that, without question, animations simply aren’t made this way anymore. 1988 was a different era, and required that supremely talented animators work for unbelievable amounts of time, hand drawing each second of a full length film. To see that style of animation again, in 4K on a cinema screen, is an experience that is nothing short of perception shattering.

Akira is not just good as far as animated features go, it is simply one of the greatest animated pieces of cinema ever created. The sheer amounts of time and effort that have gone into the full length feature film are nothing short of breath-taking, and it is absolutely recommended that Akira be seen in cinema, just to gape in awe at the visual spectacle.

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Comedy And Horror

As far as plot and voice acting are concerned, Akira still holds up exceptionally well. Though, it should be kept in mind that the film has also undergone multiple re-recordings since its original release. The dialogue has been rewritten, and numerous different actors of increasing talent have delivered the lines, helping to keep things fresh. This has paid off big.

The narrative itself is a rather depressing, futuristic science fiction tale, focusing around youths trying to live life in a grim Tokyo of the future. Though, the more horrifically violent scenes are balanced out with a fair amount of light hearted comedy. At least as far as the first half is concerned.

As the story descends deeper into the horrifying mutation of Tetsuo, laughs are few, and grotesque body horror a bit more prominent.

Still A Masterpiece

It isn’t an exaggeration to say that Akira, in shiny new 4K, holds up as well as if it were created this year. The only aspect that really makes it stand apart as having originally been released in 1988 is that the animation is so damn good. Far better than anything to have come out in the last decade.

The unrelenting, brutally realistic violence may put off some, but there is far more to this epic, science fiction story than just the blood. It is also a grim exploration of survival in a desperate future, punctuated by cool motorbikes, and even a few laser rifles.

See it now and you’ll see what we mean.

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Lauren Sanchez - Author

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