‘Akira’ Movie Script Details & Review

Published 3 years ago by , Updated November 12th, 2010 at 10:47 am,

AKIRA movie by Hideyoshi Akira Movie Script Details & Review

As a huge fan of the 1988 classic anime, Akira, I, like everyone else, have mixed emotions about a live-action movie version of the story.

After reading the script for the upcoming Akira movie (dated 2010, written by Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby and which is being directed The Hughes Brothers), I questioned whether this film is a good idea, when the anime version stands on its own merit. We’ll let you guys draw your own answer to that question, but today we have some details of the Akira script to share with you.

The story has been “Americanized,” with the center of the action taking place in New Manhattan after the decimation of the city ( an incident resembling a nuclear bomb explosion), has been blamed on the work of unknown terrorists, with the  iconic shot of Akira as the sole survivor clutching his teddy bear standing solemn in the crater at ground zero.

Flash-forward to sometime in the future where protagonists Kaneda and Travis (gone is the name Tetsuo – why not just keep it? ) belong  to one of several biker gangs that control the burned out old Manhattan, while the shiny new Chinese-owned-and-invested “New Manhattan” glitters back at them like a star that cannot be touched.

akira imagen Akira Movie Script Details & Review

The story somewhat follows the animated film but introduces a new character, Ray Arcman, who is the mad scientist that created Akira by using psychic and kinetic experiments on children including the three Espers (the elderly looking 10-year-olds from the animated film).

Asian gangsters run the underworld along with several motorcycle gangs (sadly, the “Clowns” are not in the film). Illegal drugs are still in demand and the gangs in turn  have to pay tribute to their bosses, the “Packies” (Pakistanis).

The Colonel from Akira Akira Movie Script Details & Review

The Colonel from 'Akira'.

Liberties are taken with some of the characters: Princess Miyako is now an elderly trash-collecting lady in Old Manhattan and the Colonel’s part doesn’t come off as strong as he did in the animated version. I cannot see Morgan Freeman playing the Colonel at all – nevermind the rumor that Zac Effron could play Kaneda.

There are also continuity problems with the script. In one scene, the Colonel sets off a claymore mine in order to block the approaching Black Ops army and is wounded. Yet, in another scene after this, when he is captured, The Colonel is able to take out two military policeman and operate a .50 caliber mini-gun in a helicopter gunship in order to save Kaneda – then he promptly disappears for the remainder of the film.

Akira11s Akira Movie Script Details & Review

Yes, Travis (Tetsuo) does expand and morph into a ballooning human amoeba, but only for one short scene. I think we can all agree that this is one of the landmark, crucial scenes that needs to be in the film, yet it’s only a mere fragment.

Kaneda gets a Tech 9 machine pistol instead of the high-tech-looking plasma-type weapon that was used in the original anime, and on the iconic Akira poster. This is not a change that makes sense to me.

akira poster Akira Movie Script Details & Review

I thought the ending of the script was weak (it hints at a sequel – please),  and you just didn’t care about the characters the way you did in  Katsuhiro Otomo’s production.

The time to have made this film was in the ’80s when there was still a buzz about it. This new version is not  for all audiences and sadly, I believe it will fall in the same niche category as Watchmen did.

Akira Header Image by Hideyoshi @ DeviantART

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108 Comments

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  1. AGREED COMPLETELY..
    just call it off please.. i bet it will become another boring ‘american standard action movie’ ah, i just remember that hayao miyazaki’s film has been destroyed too

    sometimes i think that some americans always think their version is the best, but it proved otherwise..they are too haughty

  2. I saw the anime just two days ago. I have a few thoughts on it. It was okay, very complex, and interesting. I have ten thoughts on the live action: one if they change Tetsuo’s name why don’t they change Kaneda’s? Two, if this movie is in the future after Manhattan is destroyed, why can’t Kaneda(they should change it to Kane or Kolby or something “American” that starts with a K) have the awesome plasma cannon? Three, I wonder how they are going to create and use they super powered the kids. Four, I really cannot see Morgan “I’m 73 years old” Freeman playing a 40 something Colonel who fights and what not, get John Hamm. Five, I think Effron is an interesting pick for the role and I think he could do it well. Six, this movie does not need to be made. Seven, get Danny Boyle to direct. Eight, Tets- Travis should be played by Josh Hutcherson. Nine, this movie is, as Uncapie wrote, going to fall in the Watchmen niche, loved (maybe) by the lovers of the anime/manga. Ten, this movie needs to stay as close to the source material as possible. Now tear these ideas to shreds if you want.

    • I misspelled Efron, sorry. I only want the name Kaneda changed because they changed Tetsuo. Error, “use they super powered” should read “use the super powered”

      • In addition to your thoughts, I will say that they 100% have to get the soundtrack right.
        Meaning, at te very Least- have some popular electronic artists, who UnDoubtedly grew up on this movie and the youthful subculture it envisioned- do Remixes of at least the main theme, and possibly some of the other iconic score that I
        printed that film in the genetic memory of, literally, an entire generation. If not two or three. And for chrissakes, have you ever been to New York??? Just make them Asian- even bi-racial?!! Joseph Gordon Levitt as Tetsuo, or I psychically blow up this movie.

  3. Think about what they did to DragonBall.

    • I don’t want to. It gives me nightmares.

  4. Ouch.

    why not just change the name too.
    american remakes are blemishes on the original.

    but then again it’s all about the Benjamin’s $.
    it does not matter what the audience or the fans care about it’s about the bottom line.

    it would be nice if the original owners step in and say NO to a lot of the changes and casting. but now that the rights are in someone else’s pocket, it’s not going to matter.

    if it turns into dog food, i may actually rent it and have it on while i clean the house to judge for myslef

    :)

  5. Never even seen the anime despite the hype, but I have to ask to leave it alone if you’re going to make it a kids movie, if it’s made for adults then go ahead with my blessing :P.

    • You’re missing out. The ending is mind boggling the first time around (or it was for me), especially if you’re expecting a typical Hollyweird Good Guys Win And Go Home Happy ™ ending.

  6. I almost got fired over the anime. I wound up loosing the job because I told the union boss to go do something anatomically improbably a short time later, but hey.

    So, being a low-rent sales guy for Fred Meyer (back when they had computers for sale in the store, we hadn’t even imagined the concept of HD then and still sold B&W sets…) in my youth I thought it a wonderful idea to bring in my bootleg copy of Return of the Jedi to play on the sets. I was bored with what we had. I forgot that my bootleg copy of the anime (BTW a situation I have since corrected for BOTH films) was on the same tape.

    Here I am walking back from the back room at about 10 minutes from closing and that opening scene with the dogs is playing over all 40 TVs we had over the top of the department advertising to the rest of the store where you could come to buy your TV or SNES games at!

    Ah, fun times!

    On point, I love the anime. I actually have the manga on order and have recently finished book 1 of the recent digest, and am still digging it even though the stories are remarkably different so far. AKIRA is hands down one of my favorite movies, and what I’m reading above just makes me sad. I sincerely hope that future rewrites bring it more in line with either the manga or the anime, but I’m not holding my breath.

  7. Personally I thought the ending was a bit dragged out and is probably my om;y bad point about the film.

    I would like to see movie versions of Detnator Orgun or Cyber City Ordo 808. With the ultra-futuristic setting, these are projects filmakers can really expand on withput worrying about making it relevant to the present day

  8. You had me at “Americanized” and “terrorists.” Did they really have to date a movie about the future like that? And “Packies?” Don’t they know that’s a derogatory term used in the UK?

  9. You see a horrible movie.

    I see Rifftrax material.

  10. FAIL ON ARRIVAL

  11. I agree with ALL of this, except for the fact that the writer of the article seems unaware of the fact that this is to be a two-part film based on the books, not the anime, hence the sequel.

  12. why does this remind me of hit girl frome”kickass”?

  13. F U Hollywood

  14. oh man,they took all the good sutuff out! really the frist few drafts of the live action film. (LatinoReview got there hands on the earlier script) which was surprisingly faith full to the frist three vols. and Anime movie. it did hinted at a sequal and left off liek they did with Part 1 for HP7. It was really EPIC. this seems liek they got soemone to rewrite it and took all the good charater devleopement out! DARN YOU! but glad they have “new manhattan” still, and kept the names.

  15. Hollywood an any other movie compagny should keep there filthy mits of this piece of animation history

    damned dollar signs, i’ll destroy the world if you make this in to a live action movie. jerks

  16. dissapointing

  17. y do they insist on making so many anime into live action i mean they f’d up dbz now this.

  18. I am just going to curl up in a ball and cry as america ruins a movie I love

  19. @Uncapie

    Please don’t say…

    “I believe it will fall in the same niche category as Watchmen did.”

    What is that meant to mean? Watchmen was very careful to stay true to the comic, where as this script for Akira does not. Are you implying that Watchmen was aweful and this film will (Akira) be the same? ‘cos by the tone of your article that what it sounds like you are trying to imply.

    If that is the case and you are implying that Watchmen was aweful, you clearly have no reporting skills and your analitical skills are non-existent.

    This would be one of the worst articles I have read, only the fact that you contain so much information about the upcoming film Akira does it have any saving grace.

  20. TETSUO?
    TETSUOOO???

    Travis?

    Sigh.

  21. so damn sad

  22. I heard they’re not going to stick with the film but the actual manga itself (hence why you detect a hint for a sequel)

    I think they should not have called him Travis. But Either Tetsuo (which is literally means iron man) or another Western name that means something great.
    As for AKIRA i can imagine him being a kid with a typical awful bowl hair cut like I see in many US films.(liar liar, home alone 3, Kindergarten Cop)

    Lady Miyako seemed to have a significant part in the Manga and I thought she was an awesome character, now wasted by Hollywood and shoved in as an attempt to please the fans. I hope they do not ruin the Colonel because he is the best and most brave character in the comic and film. They really better focus well on the character development and the mutation for only one scene!? Its a pretty vital element as it shows the grave consequence of Tetsuo’s actions. Morgan Freeman is a good actor but I don’t think he can play the Colonel he’s got too much of a short fuse.

    Christopher Nolan could pull of Akira in my opinion, after watching Inception, yeah Akira should be Nolan’s job.

  23. Wow, i was hoping that the Hugh Bros would catch the buzz on the disaster this movie is about to become. OK who is going to watch this?! At this point clearly not the fans. If you are not a fan of Akira you probably have no anticipation to watch this movie. I for sure at this point will tell no on to watch it. I have told many friends to watch the animi and they were not disappointed. I am not even a fan of animi movies and yet this movie is symbolic in me growing up. TRAVIS ?!!?!?!? WTF…… that just screams Americanized!!!!! This movie should have been given the green light for a Japanese movie comp, they would not have at least pussified it.

    TIP: Get message to the Hugh Bros if you have not already started making this movie stop!!!!!

  24. I think Leo DiCaprio should play Kaneda! Zac is not really rough and being a man. He is a kind of soft just like a person who follows a leader. :-P That is my opinion!

    Yes, I agree with you about Morgan Freeman is not fitted in a character of Colonel! Someone who is BIG and TALL character..probably like find a pro basketball player. Ha!

    Akira freak.

  25. If anyone from the folks making this movie are reading this. I absolutely loved the Akira series and will be devstated if you screw this movie up.
    Here’s an anecdote: If the graphic novel was good enough and caused enough hype to make into a movie, isn’t the graphic novel’s story good enough to not change what made it good enough to make into a movie? This movie will flop like Watchmen or Daredevil because you changed a PROVEN and SOLID story. Alienate the people who kept interest in Akira for some 20 years and you’ll be in the $5 bin at Walmart overnight….

  26. You say that it is sad that it may fall into the same esoteric niche as “Watchmen.” Would you have it any other way? Do you really want this to be for the masses, like “Prince of Persia” and watch it get watered down so it’s suitable for 7-year-olds? “Watchmen” is a great movie, and I like that they didn’t try to make it appeal to everyone and instead made their target audience the FANS!

  27. Hope Robert Pattinson does the movie.

    • Lol that would ruin Robert Pattinson’s career as well as the movie

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