It’s been 28 years since the film debuted (and more than 30 after the original manga ran), and Katsuhiro Otomo’s Akira is still inspiring people around the world. It has influenced countless artists, filmmakers, animators, and musicians, among others, with its post-apocalyptic tale of warring factions, psychic abilities, and teen angst. There was that Simpsons-inspired mashup, Bartkira, which slammed the residents of Springfield into Otomo’s world of body horror and urban plight. And now there’s a new tribute to the film from two animators who wanted to see the film rendered through computer graphics animation, as opposed to the hand-drawn method of the original.
Brad Kremer and Dean Fowler worked together (despite often being miles apart) to create this tribute trailer for an Akira that uses CG animation to recreate the world and denizens of Neo-Tokyo. As Kremer writes:
This project started many years ago when both Dean and I lived on Tybee Island. I came to Dean with the idea to do a tribute “trailer” to Akira. As a long time fan of the original film he of course loved the idea! As we brainstormed the story that we wanted to explore from the film we settled on focusing primarily on the bike. The Akira bike is one of those iconic symbols that still remains relevant today similar to the Millennium Falcon or Marty McFly’s beat up DeLorean.
Since that first day when Dean and I began this journey we have both moved a number of times. But we always kept the project alive with a lot of late nights (mostly from Dean), re-edits and re-renders, and a lot of discussions about how to improve it. And so, after countless hours of modeling and rendering we are ready to share with you this short tribute to the masterpiece that Katsuhiro Otomo created and shared with us so many years ago. We hope you enjoy!
Kremer and Fowler have done a great job transitioning a lot of the look and feel of Otomo’s classic anime, although there is something a bit too sleek in some of the appearances (and the Clown gang touches a bit on the uncanny valley in some shots). But it’s an impressive effort of reimagining a masterpiece that shows what the film could look like were it made today (not counting that ill-fated live-action adaptation that seems to be eternally “moving forward”).