New Akira Anime Series Announced & Original Film Remastered in 4K

Anime director Katsuhiro Otomo announced on Thursday that a new anime project relating to his Akira manga is in production.

The announcement was made at his Anime Expo, and Sunrise Studios has also released a short trailer. President and CEO Makoto Asanuma apologised for the teaser, with development of the new project underway. Asanuma has stated that they want to incorporate the entirety of the manga’s story. 

The earlier 1988 Japanese animated sci-fi cyberpunk extravaganza directed by Katsuhiro Otomo, Akira, is also getting a 4K re-master next year. 

The pioneering action film has long set the benchmark for the Japanese animation industry, and, in spite of the increasingly bold and innovative visual adaptations, there has yet been a film that matches Otomo’s masterpiece.  

The scheduled release date for the remaster has been set for April 24, 2020, in Japan, while a date has not yet been set for the US or the rest of the world. 

In 2001, Akira was restored for DVD and Blu-ray in 2009.

Otomo’s original science-fiction action manga, Akira, was set in Neo-Tokyo, which had been rebuilt after being destroyed in a mysterious explosion. The highly successful comic ran in Kodansha’s Weekly Young Magazine from 1982 to 1990.

Otomo directed his own animated film adaptation that premiered on July 16, 1988 — the same day that in the story, the fictional Tokyo was destroyed. 

Warner Bros. announced a live-action film adaptation of the manga in 2008, with Taika Waititi, director of Thor Ragnarok, signing on to direct. It is scheduled to be released on May 21, 2021.

An unrelated project, Orbital Era, has also been announced. The film will be written, directed and designed by Otomo. Orbital Era will be ‘Otomo’s third feature-length aminated film, following on from Akira, 1988, and Steamboy, 2014. 

It is set in the near future on a space colony under construction. It is an action and adventure film which follows the lives of some young boys living in this peculiar environment. 

The first teaser depicts an astronaut with Soviet Union emblem on his hat and carrying a skateboard, although Otomo was said the main character is America.

Anime News Network noted that Orbital Era is supposed to be more fantastical than strictly hard sci-fi.