Anime Vice News

Live-Action AKIRA Synopsis Reveals Plot Details Of Neo-Manhattan

Guess what Kaneda's doing now?

Tetsuo reaches for a beer at his big brother's bar.
Tetsuo reaches for a beer at his big brother's bar.

This slipped under our radar this week, somehow, but knowing how AKIRA movie talk is a stripe of message board gristle that just never runs dry, there’s surely some discussion to still be had about this. See, Bleeding Cool’s found an official synopsis for the flick that went out with a recent casting call, and it reveals a few more of the changes coming with this “Neo-Manhattan” setting.

It thusly reads…

Kaneda is a bar owner in Neo-Manhattan who is stunned when his brother, Tetsuo, is abducted by government agents led by The Colonel.

Desperate to get his brother back, Kaneda agrees to join with Ky Reed and her underground movement who are intent on revealing to the world what truly happened to New York City thirty years ago when it was destroyed. Kaneda believes their theories to be ludicrous but after finding his brother again, is shocked when he displays telekinetic powers.

Ky believes Tetsuo is headed to release a young boy, Akira, who has taken control of Tetsuo’s mind. Kaneda clashes with The Colonel’s troops on his way to stop Tetsuo from releasing Akira but arrives too late. Akira soon emerges from his prison courtesy of Tetsuo as Kaneda races in to save his brother before Akira once again destroys Manhattan island, as he did thirty years ago.

In fairness, owning a bar might be one of the only viable career paths awaiting Kaneda after he puts his wild biker gang days behind him.

Curiously, it seems like Kristen Stewart, Garret Hedlund, Helena Bonham Carter and Ken Watanabe (this is the first time I’ve seen his name attached to the project) have been locked into the respective roles of Ky, Kaneda, Lady Miyako and the Colonel.

Of course, there's no official announcement yet, and I feel like a lot of these names have to be placeholders waiting to be swapped with whatever Anglicized alternatives they’ll have to come up. I suppose you can have Hedlund take over Kaneda's role, and for it to be re-written to better suit him, but it would be really... weird to still call him "Kaneda," you know?

sotyfan16on Dec. 2, 2011 at 12:16 p.m.

If that really is the synopsis, then I would be completely fine with it if the entire project was an original and not a live-action Akira. At least keep the damn story straight.

Sadly, this is the best news about the movie I've seen. However, I doubt I will pay to see it when the time comes.

MrASSH0LEon Dec. 2, 2011 at 12:29 p.m.

Can't be worst then the original movie

coffeefuckyeahon Dec. 2, 2011 at 12:51 p.m.

LAME. Manhattan? why does every new plot or casting leak suck for this movie. I don't know why I think hollywood will ever get remakes right. But I really wish they would stop messing around with the story so much.

Kuro_Sanon Dec. 2, 2011 at 3:23 p.m.

This is going to suck harder than the other american made anime live action movie my brain has repressed as a traumatic memory

mrcraggleon Dec. 2, 2011 at 3:55 p.m.

WTF!? It's like they read the wiki and tried stitching pieces from that. This doesn't even follow the general direction of Akira.

obscurefanon Dec. 2, 2011 at 10:27 p.m.

I'm always more open to the ideas of reimaginings than most people, I'm fine with the idea of taking a foreign film or older film and reimagining how different it could be in a new setting or a new time. So I'm not going to judge this before I see anything, but I will say that Anime has yet to be adapted to American cinema very well yet, so I'm not holding my breath. However, I do remember a time back when everyone said "all comic book movies suck" simply because, most of them weren't that good. So all it takes is for one good movie to come out, so here's hoping this one will be it, because I don't want them to screw that up.

sickVisionz moderator on Dec. 3, 2011 at 6:19 a.m.

@MrASSH0LE said:

Can't be worst then the original movie

This. The main selling points of Akira were visual spectacle and a nonsensical second half with an unsatisfying and annoyingly open ended conclusion.

As far as the plot, I haven't seen Akira in over a decade but this sounds pretty much like what I saw. I don't think Kaneda owned a bar in the anime, but weren't they always hanging out in a bar? Tetsuro and Kaneda weren't literally brothers, but they were like brothers. This all sounds pretty much the same to me.

Certainly not enough to cry a river over.

kashif1on Dec. 3, 2011 at 10:19 a.m.

@sickVisionz said:

@MrASSH0LE said:

Can't be worst then the original movie

This. The main selling points of Akira were visual spectacle and a nonsensical second half with an unsatisfying and annoyingly open ended conclusion.

As far as the plot, I haven't seen Akira in over a decade but this sounds pretty much like what I saw. I don't think Kaneda owned a bar in the anime, but weren't they always hanging out in a bar? Tetsuro and Kaneda weren't literally brothers, but they were like brothers. This all sounds pretty much the same to me.

Certainly not enough to cry a river over.

Here is one thing that gets me: Ky believes Tetsuo is headed to release a young boy, Akira, who has taken control of Tetsuo’s mind.

I'm sorry but what? Tetsuo released Akira because he wanted to, there was nothing controlling him. This is a huge thematic change since Tetsuo was more or less pure evil in the original. Changing that changes the point of the movie.

AURON570on Dec. 3, 2011 at 1:06 p.m.

Man I have to watch Akira again... I was way too young when I first watched it. *goes to see if I still have the DVD* UGGGH why is my dad so unorganized?! First we lose Spirited Away and now Akira? UGGGGHHHH... well I'll probably buy a bunch of anime movies off amazon when winter break starts anyways...

kashif1on Dec. 3, 2011 at 2:32 p.m.

@AURON570 said:

Man I have to watch Akira again... I was way too young when I first watched it. *goes to see if I still have the DVD* UGGGH why is my dad so unorganized?! First we lose Spirited Away and now Akira? UGGGGHHHH... well I'll probably buy a bunch of anime movies off amazon when winter break starts anyways...

Wrong response, read the manga. It's 2000 pages of the most violent and powerful manga I've ever read.

avidwriteron Dec. 3, 2011 at 5:53 p.m.

I have 0 hope and anticipation for this movie.

AURON570on Dec. 3, 2011 at 8:56 p.m.

@kashif1: Haha, good call. :)

PenguinDuston Dec. 4, 2011 at 7:39 a.m.

I think the producers should keep the Japanese names just to piss the fan base off even more.

zaldaron Dec. 4, 2011 at 8:37 a.m.

@sickVisionz said:

@MrASSH0LE said:

Can't be worst then the original movie

This. The main selling points of Akira were visual spectacle and a nonsensical second half with an unsatisfying and annoyingly open ended conclusion.

As far as the plot, I haven't seen Akira in over a decade but this sounds pretty much like what I saw. I don't think Kaneda owned a bar in the anime, but weren't they always hanging out in a bar? Tetsuro and Kaneda weren't literally brothers, but they were like brothers. This all sounds pretty much the same to me.

Certainly not enough to cry a river over.

I Assume the people who are complaining about the plot are comparing it to the manga..which I here actually makes sense (only read the first two) but yeah honestly I don't understand why that movie is held up as a good anime movie honestly...Ghost in the Shell, Vampire Hunter D, these are much better movies.

Superevil225on Dec. 4, 2011 at 11:38 a.m.

Can't be the worst. At least America is taking it's own spin on it. The origional Akira is too Japanese for Americans to just take and re-do.

I don't think it'll be good though.

Little_Socrateson Dec. 4, 2011 at 1:52 p.m.

Ken Watanabe is actually perfect casting. Everyone else is a crime, though.

kimeraeveton Dec. 4, 2011 at 8:28 p.m.

This movie really needs to follow the manga so it can tell the whole story over a 3 or 4 film setting. Not for anything, but the anime missed A LOT of important events that happened and shaped the totality of the story. They need to get this story right before casting anymore people. Where are all the comic book screen writers at when you need them to do an adaptation? Get David S. Goyer off his ass and shove this manga into his hands. Get him writing a decent draft up.

gorkamorkaorkaon Dec. 5, 2011 at 7:26 a.m.

I would have seen this but Helena Bonham Carter ruins almost any movie for me. WE GET IT. YOU'RE WEIRD. Yeah. That's what made me not want to see this. Out of all the other things.

Punchmaster12on Dec. 5, 2011 at 1:27 p.m.

Well, it can't be as bad as Dragonball Evolution that's for sure.

shelson Dec. 7, 2011 at 3:58 a.m.

just a little opinion of george Takei on this adaptation:

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A secret military project threatens the destruction of Neo-Tokyo when it turns a biker gang member into a rampaging psionic psychopath, who can only be stopped by his best friend, a young woman, and a group of psionic children.

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