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     " Imagine a deep melodic chant, where they suddenly proclaim "CANADA!" I started looking for a maple leafÖ "

      Title: Akira from Pioneer

      Format: Anime DVD

      Reviewing Monkey: Chimpan-A

      The Hype: Okay, if you havenít ever heard of Akira, youíre obviously very new to this whole Anime thing. For those more in the know, Pioneer has re-released this old classic. Itís a thrilling story of a boy with a motorcycle, and midgets capable of mass destruction. All sorts of new coolness abide on the two-disc collectors edition. Letís take a look shall we.

      What This Monkey Thought...

      Animation: Fully restored, Akira is looking great. Akira has always had a different style than other animes. The characters lean more towards a very authentic Japanese look, as opposed to others. More realistic eyes and proportions than some of you may be used to. Everything about the movie is gritty. The colors seem a little more washed out, giving everything a subdued feeling really appropriate for the post apocalyptic times. 5 out of 5

      Action: You couldnít ask for better action than this movie. Akira has got it all. Lasers, guns, tanks, explosions, giant amorphous blobs, little wrinkly headed kids with massive psychic powers of destruction, you name it, and itís probably in here and shooting at somebody. The opening scenes, where two motorcycle gangs square off against each other are incredible. Not to mention the final scenes, which, while grotesque, feature some very cool action. 5 out of 5

      Story: I think I summed it up in the Hype section, but letís elaborate a little more. Basically, the story revolves around Kaneda, the leader of a bike gang, and Tetsuo, his right hand man (of course, Tetsuo isnít particularly happy with that position). Tetsuo gets injured during the aforementioned gang fight, and goes off to have some wacky experiments done on him. They make him better, stronger, and faster, and for far less than a million bucks. He comes out of it with cool mind powers and a serious jonesiní for revenge. Kaneda, our hero, sets out to stop him. Throw in some kids with powers like Tetsuoís, a chick named Kei, and a mysterious being known only as Akira, and youíve got a movie. The story moves along at a great pace, but there are a few things that seem to get left by the wayside as we move along. There are a few plot points that are either never explained, or simply never go anywhere. Itís almost as if theyíre trying to include too many things at once, a few things just donít get the attention they deserve (I suppose thatís what the comic is for). Itís not enough to get utterly confusing, but you may find yourself asking "Hey wait a minute, what ever happened toÖ?" 4 out of 5

      Music: The music in this movie is great, assuming you can put up with a lot of chanting. The music has a very traditional feel (attained quite on purpose through a variety of old world instruments). All of the music is wonderfully evocative, and takes you down all the right emotional paths. Kanedaís (whose name is pronounce like that of our neighbor to the north) theme song can be a little odd if you donít know the main characters name. Imagine a deep melodic chant, where they suddenly proclaim "CANADA!" I started looking for a maple leafÖ Even so, the music is great. The soundtrack is definitely not your average techno thumper. Of course, some may not go in for that. 4 out of 5

      Translation: First off, Pioneer did a re-dub of the film, that right there ups the translation a by several points. With the wonders of DVD you can watch the subs and see for yourself how off they are. Iíd say they achieve about a 70% accuracy rating. Still, all the mouth work matches quite nicely. Even the accuracy isnít a big deal as the feel of whatís being said is captured well without the lines sounding forced or cheesy. One thing odd though, is that the actors almost go out of their way to avoid swearing. You won't hear them uttering to many of the shits or damns youíll see in the subtitles. This seems like an odd choice considering the relatively violent nature of the movie. Donít be fooled; this definitely is not a movie for kids. 3.5 out of 5

      Rewatchability: As if this badass movie wasnít enough for you. Those of you lucky enough to grab the two disk set will get a second disk filled to the brim with Akira loviní goodness. Sound clips, production reports, galleries with over 4,500 still images, and a glossary no less will keep you busy for days. The movie itself features a Matrix DVD "Follow the White Rabbit" style feature, in which a capsule pops up to inform you of additional information on something. The added features alone make this worth several repeats. Add into that an awesome movie with great action and cool animation and youíve got a permanent addition to the roster. 5 out of 5

      The Verdict:


       Whatís not to like? Youíve got badass action, awesome animation, a great musical score, and a pretty cool story. For some this is the epitome of what anime should be. For my money itís a damn good movie.

      The Good: Great action, cool music. Tons of extra features to spend hours slaving over.

      The Bad: Some weird translation choices, and some plot points that vanish into nothingness

      The Overall Ugly: Definitely worth the price of admission. I mean, mine came in a big metal case, for crying out loud. Thatís service.

      What it's Worth: market price.

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