Set in a Neo-Tokyo constructed in the future ruins of a post-World War III 2019, Katsuhiro Otomo’s digital dystopia started life as a self-penned manga series, first serialized in Young Magazine from 1982 to 1990. Published in English in its entirety for the first time by Marvel imprint Epic Comics, Akira is universally acknowledged to have been instrumental in the breakthrough of manga and anime outside of Japan, as well as a pre-eminent title in the “French Exception” manga explosion. Given that Epic’s comic edition was printed in color and coincided with the 1988 film adaptation’s US release, the double dose of Otomo’s eccentric and brilliant artistic style seeped into Western consciousness pretty rapidly.
In a month where Kubo and the Two Strings looks set to reignite popular interest in the oft-revered oeuvre of Japanese animation, Otomo’s Akira is having its equally esteemed soundtrack reissued – on vinyl.
Widely regarded as probably the greatest Japanimation of all time and enjoying genuine cult classic status, Symphonic Suite Akira, the film’s attendant score composed by Geinoh Yamashirogumi, holds equitable footing among fans of the Otomo universe as a cultural artifact on its own merit. Originally a standalone arrangement recorded before the film went into production, the score became a kind of nascent reference (and reverence) point upon which much of the movie’s aesthetic was built.
are you ready? pic.twitter.com/kjQkW7sntG
— Milan Records (@MilanRecLabel) August 24, 2016
Whereas the original OST featured an amalgam of overdubbed dialogue and layered production effects, the re-release by Milan records is Yamashirogumi’s iconic masterwork unembellished, with the announcement coming by way of the label’s Twitter on Wednesday. And fear not, while the 1988 first edition presses may be changing hands for upwards of three figures these days, Milan guarantees “there will be enough for everybody” this time around.
As for a new take on the 1988 film, Warner Brothers acquired the rights for a live-action remake in 2002 with numerous attempts to write a script and begin production. Indeed, even prior to WB’s rights purchase Akira was cited by the Wachowskis as having profoundly influenced the live action sci-fi movie of our age, The Matrix. In June of last year it was reported that the studio had resumed work on the film and that Marco Ramirez, probably best known for his work as a showrunner on Marvel’s Daredevil, will write the film, while talks are still ongoing with Justin Lin (Fast and the Furious, True Detective) to direct.
Milan Records haven’t announced a specific release date for the Akira vinyl soundtrack just yet, so we’ll keep you updated on any developments.