Pioneer 2001 Restoration of Akira
PIONEER ENTERTAINMENT RESTORES THE LANDMARK ANIME FEATURE FILM AKIRA
Million Dollar Restoration Includes New Film Interpositive, HD-5 High-Definition Mastering With Digital Restoration, THX Certification, Re-Mixed Dolby Digital AC3 Surround Sound And Brand New English Dub
Film Will Debut Theatrically Spring 2001
LONG BEACH, CA - Utilizing the latest high-definition digital technology, Pioneer Entertainment has retained International Video Conversions, Inc. (IVC) to restore the classic anime film Akira. First released in 1988, Akira has garnered legions of fans around the world and is still considered the pinnacle of cel animation. To celebrate this landmark film, Akira will undergo a complete restoration at a cost of a million dollars. The restoration will include a new film interpositive and high-definition mastering using the latest Digital Vision HD technology. In addition, Akira will be THX certified, the audio components will be re-mixed to Dolby Digital AC3 Surround Sound and a new English dub will be created from a new translation of the original Japanese script. Akira will be released theatrically in spring 2001.
"Akira jump-started the anime industry with its ground-breaking animation and has achieved a cult status with anime fans around the world," said Pioneer Entertainment president Yosuke Kobayashi. "Restoring this extraordinary film will enable Pioneer Entertainment to re-introduce Akira to a new generation and seal its place as the benchmark anime film." "Akira is dramatic cel animation at its best, making use of vibrant color, high and low contrast, fine detail and an extreme range of light and dark scenes," said Mark Nakamine, IVC's high definition colorist. "I used the very latest in high definition processing to create the digital master which will convey all the visual nuances intended."
Neo-Tokyo has risen from the ashes of World War III to become a dark and dangerous megalopolis infested with gangs and terrorists. The government seethes with corruption and only maintains a token control over the powerful military that prevents total chaos and hides the secrets of the past.
Childhood friends Tetsuo and Kaneda plunge into Neo-Tokyo's darkest secret when their motorcycle gang encounters a military operation to retrieve an escaped experimental subject. Tetsuo, captured by the military, is subjected to experiments that make him a powerful psychic, but unfortunately for Neo-Tokyo, Testuo's powers rage out of control and he lashes out at the world that has oppressed him. Nothing can stop the destructive forces that Tetsuo wields except possibly the last boy to destroy Tokyo...Akira!
Pioneer Entertainment (USA) L.P. (www.pioneer-ent.com) is a full-service producer and distributor of entertainment software including film, music, animation and television shows on VHS and DVD. Headquartered in Long Beach, California, Pioneer Entertainment is part of the Pioneer North American Group. Its parent company, Pioneer Corporation, is recognized around the world for its position at the forefront of optical disc technology, car electronics and consumer entertainment. With more than 20,000 employees worldwide and over $4.2 billion in yearly sales worldwide, Pioneer operates facilities in Japan, Europe, the United States, Canada and Mexico.
International Video Conversions, Inc. (IVC) is one of the world s largest High Definition, video mastering, restoration and conversion facilities. IVC's clients include all of Hollywood's major studios, and the company is regarded as the leader in its field.
End Of Press Release
Restoration: The Picture
In 1988, the landmark Anime film Akira, by director Katsuhiro Otomo, defined the cutting edge of Anime around the world. Even by today’s standards, Akira remains the pinnacle of cel animation and retains the explosive impact of its highly detailed animation and its intensely violent saga of power and corruption. Pioneer Entertainment is proud to announce the high definition digital re-master of this classic work.
The re-mastering process began with a new Inter Positive (IP) made from the original negative at Tokyo Laboratory in Japan. The new IP was sent to International Video Conversions (IVC) in Burbank, California where the film was color corrected on a Spirit Datacine film scanner. A vigorous quality check was made of the new HD master, and scenes were selected for digital restoration. These scenes were uploaded into a digital restoration workstation (DRS) where dirt and scratches were digitally removed. Results of the restoration were checked periodically on a large screen. Digital projectors were used to test the feasibility of digital projection of the final product. This process puts the new transfer under intense scrutiny but provides superior results for the DVD and VHS release master.
Restoration: The Sound
For the audio, a new English translation from the original Japanese script was created and new voice talent found to re-dub the entire film. The new dub track combined with the original music and effects was re-mixed to a Dolby Digital AC3 Surround Sound track. Finally, The new master was approved by THX.
The Premier of the Restored Akira
Digital Cinema World Premiere @ AMC Empire, Times Square, New York City, March 30th, 2001
// HARRY KNOWLES, founder of Ain'tItCoolNews.com, the bottom line in entertainment news and reviews, and member of Forbes Magazine's Top 100 Power Celebrities for 2000, will be the guest speaker at Pioneer Entertaiment USA Inc.'s movie premiere in New York City party for the theatrical re-release of the anime classic, AKIRA.
The Official Posters
DVD/VHS Press Release
Rumors have been circulating and the quiet fervor of restless anticipation has now reached a peak... Akira the remastered anime classic is finally coming to DVD and VHS!
AKIRA on VHS, DVD and the Special Edition DVD will hit the streets July 24, 2001
PIONEER ENTERTAINMENT PRESENTS THE NEWLY RESTORED LANDMARK ANIME CLASSIC AKIRA
(14th May 2001)
Available For The First Time Ever On July 24, The Two-Disc Special Edition DVD Boasts An Interview With The Director And Two Documentaries Including The Making-Of Akira and The Making-Of Akira Soundtrack Restoration Of The Cult Favorite Includes New Film Interpositive, High-Definition Mastering With Digital Restoration, THX Certification, Brand New English Dub And Re-Mixed Dolby Digital AC3 5.1 Surround Sound
"Thumbs up." - Roger Ebert, EBERT & ROEPER and the movies
Recently listed as one of the best movies that have yet to be released on DVD (Entertainment Weekly), the classic anime film Akira will debut as a two-disc Special Edition DVD, standard DVD and VHS on July 24 from Pioneer Entertainment. First released theatrically in Japan in 1988, Akira has garnered legions of fans around the world and is still considered a masterpiece of cel animation. To celebrate this landmark film and to re-introduce it to a new generation, Pioneer Entertainment obtained the rights to this film from the Akira committee (under license by Kodansha, Tokyo, Japan), and began the complete restoration of Akira. The cumulative process, with a cost of $1 million, resulted in a sharper more vivid version of the classic film that was released theatrically in digital theatres in March 2001.
Available for the first time ever, the Special Edition DVD has a suggested retail price of $39.98 and will include a second full DVD of supplemental materials. This extra DVD boasts three documentaries about the making of Akira (animation and soundtrack), as well as an interview with director Katsuhiro Otomo, and production materials including storyboards, key drawings and character designs. The Akira DVD will also feature an original theatrical trailer, teasers, television spots and the Akira glossary A-Z. In addition, the Special Edition DVD will be available in a limited edition metal collector's case.
The DVD containing Akira in its restored splendor will be anamorphic and contain English language (Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround audio) and Japanese language (original Dolby Surround audio) tracks and selectable English subtitles. All of these options will also be available on the standard DVD for $24.98. Two VHS versions of Akira, the new, English dubbed version and the English subtitled version, will be available with Dolby Surround audio for $19.98 each.
Utilizing the latest high-definition digital technology, Pioneer Entertainment retained International Video Conversions, Inc. (IVC) to restore Akira. This eye-popping restoration features a new film interpositive and high-definition mastering using the latest Digital Vision HD technology. In addition, Akira's audio components were re-mixed to Dolby Digital AC3 Surround Sound; a new English dub was created from a new translation of the original Japanese script and the film is now THX certified.
Based on the growing popularity of Akira in recent years, Kondansha granted a rare license for a line of action figures to the highly respected McFarlane Toys. Company founder and Spawn creator Todd McFarlane, developed the McFarlane's 3D Animation from Japan action figure series, with Akira products accounting for half the line. Released in fall 2000, series I included Tetsuo, Kaneda and Kaneda's awesome red motorcycle. After receiving critical and fan acclaim, McFarlane Toys, the fifth largest action figure manufacturer in the industry, will release Series II in September. This six-figure series will include the title character, Akira; Joker, the Clown bike gang leader; and an updated version of Kaneda on his motorcycle, which is being released as a special boxed set. For more information on these figures, Todd McFarlane and the McFarlane group of companies, visit Spawn.com.
Neo-Tokyo has risen from the ashes of World War III to become a dark and dangerous megalopolis infested with gangs and terrorists. The government seethes with corruption and only maintains a token control over the powerful military that prevents total chaos and hides the secrets of the past. Childhood friends Tetsuo and Kaneda plunge into Neo-Tokyo's darkest secret when their motorcycle gang encounters a military operation to retrieve an escaped experimental subject. Tetsuo, captured by the military, is subjected to experiments that make him a powerful psychic, but unfortunately for Neo-Tokyo, Testuo's powers rage out of control and he lashes out at the world that has oppressed him. Nothing can stop the destructive forces that Tetsuo wields except possibly the last boy to destroy Tokyo - Akira!
DVD: Special Edition
"The Special Edition DVD" discs are available in this LIMITED EDITION METAL COLLECTOR'S CASE, while supplies last.
After supplies end, the package will be the Double Alpha case pictured below.
The Special Edition DVD: SRP - $39.98 (2 discs)
DISC 1: The Feature
DISC 2: Bonus Materials
Akira Production Report
"The Akira Production Report" includes interviews with director Katsuhiro Otomo and other members of the production staff, as well as authentic video footage provided to direct insight into each stage of the production process.
Documented processes include:
-Image Boards & Story Boards: Full color paintings and detailed pencil sketches illustrated by Katsuhiro Otomo.
-Backgrounds: Methods and art direction employed in creating the painted backgrounds used in the film.
-Cel Painting & Animation: Art direction & techniques applied in creating the illustrated cels used in animating the film.
-Coloring: Art direction and discussion of the color scheme.
-Dialog recording: Interviews with the voice actors and video footage of the recording process.
-Camera: Technical process of filming the animation
-Marvel Comic’s Akira: Interview with the late Archie Goodwin, Editor of Marvel Comics.
-Sound Track: The recording and creative process
Akira Sound Clip
"The Akira Sound Clip" documents the inspiration and creation of the soundtrack for Akira by the musical group, Geinoh Yamashiro Gumi. This documentary, loaded with technical details for all music lovers, reveals the ethnic roots of the sounds and audio subtleties, and unravels the complex arrangements that were used to create the unique musical textures.
-Sounds that were developed to enhance the feel and sensations at different points in the movie.
-Profiles and demonstrations of the native Bali instruments that inspired the sounds of Akira
-An explanation for the combination of modern musical technology and natural musical elements
-Video footage of the choral performance and the live Akira Symphonic performance filmed prior to the original theatrical release.
Director’s Interview - In-depth, thirty-minute interview with director Katsuhiro Otomo after the completion of Akira in 1988.
Production Materials - Production Stills, Storyboards, Layout materials, as well as selected Backgrounds and Cels.
Restoration - Interviews and footage documenting the restoration process.
Trailers - Original Japanese trailers for Akira
Glossary - Definitions and explanations of Akira’s characters and terms
DVD/VHS: Standard Edition
AKIRA on DVD:
Standard DVD: SRP - $24.98
AKIRA on VHS:
VHS: SRP - $19.98
-- Everything that follows was taken from the short-lived Pioneer website Akira2001.com --
The Movie: Story
The year is 2019, 31 years after Tokyo was destroyed by a top secret weapons project during World War III. Now, Neo-Tokyo has risen from the ashes to become a dark and dangerous megalopolis infested with gangs and terrorists. The government seethes with corruption and only maintains token control over the powerful military that prevents total chaos and hides the secrets of the past. Childhood friends Tetsuo and Kaneda plunge into Neo-Tokyo's darkest secret when their motorcycle gang encounters a military operation to retrieve an escaped experimental subject. Tetsuo, captured by the military, is subjected to experiments that make him a powerful psychic, but, unfortunately for Neo-Tokyo, Tetsuo's powers rage out of control and he lashes out at the world that has oppressed him! Nothing can stop the destructive forces that Tetsuo wields except possibly the last boy to destroy Tokyo - Akira!
The Movie: Legend
Akira originally appeared as a comic book in December of 1982 in the Young Magazine anthology. The series of comic books sold over 3 million copies which made it one of the top sellers of all time. The series and later graphic novel gained even more popularity with audiences in the United States when it was translated and released by Marvel Comics. Akira has also been translated into over thirteen different languages including French, Italian, Spanish, German, Portuguese, Chinese, Finnish, Swedish, Polish and Indonesian.
In 1987, Akira creator Katsuhiro Otomo began work on the animated feature. Akira was released theatrically in Japan in July 1988 and in the United States in December 1989 where it ranked in the top 60 for 20 weeks on Variety's weekly theatrical box office sales report.
Writer/Director Katsuhiro Otomo used hand painted cel animation for Akira. The film's complex detail, vibrant color and thought-provoking plot have guaranteed it a place among the best Anime films of all time. In 1991 it was released on VHS and as a Special Edition Laserdisc and now, thirteen years after the original theatrical release in Japan, Pioneer Entertainment is digitally re-mastering this landmark film.
The Movie: Creator
Born in Miyagi, Japan, April 14th 1954 Growing up, he was always active in art clubs drawing comics and exploring the many facets in the world of art and entertainment. In spite of his obvious talent, following high school he snubbed the art college entrance exam and he dedicated himself to becoming a professional cartoonist.
In 1973, he made his film debut with , GUNSHOT, and created his first original comic strip series called, BRIDGE ANDÖ. From 1974 - 1978 he honed his artistic skills, drawing in a strikingly realistic style and creating the likes of BOOGIE WOOGIE WALTZ, HIGHWAY STAR and WOUNDED ANGEL.
In 1979 he published his first full-length comic book, SHORT PIECE which earned him his tremendous renown and popularity. His influence and popularity grew further amongst young, burgeoning comic book artists, with the publication of FEELING WAR and, A CHILD'S DREAM (which would be completed in later years only to win the 4th Science Fiction Award).
In 1982, AKIRA began appearing as a serial in Young Magazine, and with the completion of his first 16mm film, GIVE US GUNS, his prominence in the animation world became much greater as did the range of his projects, which would include programming and commercials for television. In 1984 he won the 8th Kodansha Comic-Strip Award, and AKIRA became a best-selling book. 1986 marked his directorial debut with an episode of THE LABYRINTH STORY.
Following his work on the animation video, ROBOT CARNIVAL in 1988, he was ready to tackle the exciting challenge of making AKIRA into a movie.
- 2000 Ash - Director
- 1996 Memories - Writer/Drector
- 1991 Warudo apaatoment hora ("World Apartment Horror") - Director
- 1991 Roujin Z ("Oldman Z" or "Rojin Z") - Writer
- 1988 Akira - Writer/Director
- 1988 Fushigi monogatari: Hachi neko wa yoku asagata kaette kuru - Writer
- 1988 So What - Writer
- 1987 Meikyu monogatari ("Neo-Tokyo") - Director
- 1987 Roboto kanibauru ("Robot Carnival") - Director
- 1982 Jiyu o warera ni - Director
- 1981 Shuffle - Writer
- 1979 Koko Erotopia: Akai seifuku - Writer
The Movie : Characters
|As the leader of a biker gang in Neo-Tokyo, Kaneda maintains a tough and rebellious exterior, but he doesn't attempt to hide his passion for motorcycles, his loyalties to his friends, or his infatuation with Kei. Kaneda learns about the secret of Akira while working with Kei and an underground terrorist group to interrupt the government's experiments. He is genuinely concerned about Tetsuo, who has been his friend since they were small children in an orphanage, but soon discovers that Tetsuo has always resented Kaneda's protection...|
|The youngest member of Kaneda's biker gang, Tetsuo's inferiority complex leads to his reckless actions to win the respect of the other gang members. After a near-collision with Takashi (No.26), a severely wounded Tetsuo is taken by the military and they begin experiments to bring out his psychic abilities. However, Tetsuo's abilities surge beyond the military's expectations and Tetsuo is eager to test the limits of his new powers against the military or anyone else that stands in his way. Unfortunately for Neo-Tokyo, Tetsuo's powers begin to spiral out of control and there may be only one force strong enough to stop him - Akira.|
|Kei is a young woman working with an underground terrorist movement to disrupt the military's control over Neo-Tokyo. She first encounters Kaneda in a Police Station where he tricks the guards into releasing her before they can identify her as a terrorist, but Kei initially shows little interest in Kaneda. Kei is devoted to her work with the underground as well as to the group's leader, Ryu, but begins to show some compassion towards Kaneda after their encounters with the military and with Tetsuo.|
|Kiyoko (No.25) of the original test subjects, is a sickly, bed-ridden child with a wrinkled face. Her psychic powers are well developed and her visions of the future are taken very seriously. Kiyoko grew up with Akira and understands the height of his powers, and she is also compassionate.|
|Takashi (No.26) of the original test subjects. He is the quietest and most introverted of the three test children, but also the most active. He was mistaken for Akira by a guerilla spy and smuggled out, but he encountered Tetsuo in the process which led to the awakening of his abilities.|
|Masaru (No.27) of the original test subjects. He suffered from polio as a child and uses a special chair to move around. He protects the other "children" and organizes them to help overwhelm Tetsuo's destructive powers.|
|The Colonel is the head of the military controlling Neo-Tokyo and the project to harness the psychic powers of the children. He knows the secret of Akira because his father was part of the original Akira project that destroyed Tokyo 31 years ago. He is wary of Tetsuo's immense powers and resentful of the corrupt and bickering civilian government that attempts to limit his power.|
The Movie: Links
PIONEER ANIMATION World's finest anime
McFARLANE TOYS World's finest action figures
KODANSHA World's finest manga
DARK HORSE World's finest comics
THX World's finest sound
DOLBY World's finest surround sound
ANIME ON DVD World's finest Anime on DVD source
DVD/VHS: Mayhem (this title is confusing to me too, but this was from the Pioneers akira2001 website)
CONTEST - COMING SOON...
TV Guide: "...the violent story about rival biker gangs set in a post-apocalyptic Tokyo looks even more cutting edge today, thanks to a million-dollar restoration"
Los Angeles Times: "Thirteen years after its initial release, Akira remains a watershed film in the history of Japanese animation and anime fandom in America"
Film Comment: "...Akira's overall look is superior to anything on the current animation scene."
Entertainment Weekly: "... parts of Akira are as well directed as anything you'll ever see..."
CNN.com: "This 1998 classic is the one that makes anime fans go teary eyed...the art and the style are mesmerizing."
Official US Playstation Magazine: "Anime's Equivalent to Birth of a Nation..."
The Official Akira2001 Cocktails FOR OVER 21 ONLY!
The Akira Martini - Kei's favorite!
For upscale parties or just to wind down after a long day just blend: Your favorite brand of vodka Mix with ice and 2 cap fulls of melon liqueur Then gently pour into a traditional martini glass Add 1 scooped melon ball from a Honeydew melon and the drink is complete!
The Akira-Bomb - Neo-Tokyo wouldn't be the same without it!
Every bar should know this one, if not it's up to you to tell them how: It's easy! 1 part melon liqueur 2 parts your favorite brand of sake served warm Mix together, then drink as a shot and enjoy a lucid evening
Greetings, Akira fanatic!
In celebration of the release of Akira on VHS and DVD, we'd like to reward you for all of your unlimited enthusiasm and support.
Presenting the Akira2001 Creativity Contest:
*The Ultimate Akira Poster*
We know you've often wished to create an authentic movie poster. Here's your chance to do it for your favorite movie! Stretch that creative muscle and design an Akira theatrical poster. We want an original creation, designed either on the computer, by hand or both. And remember, NO STEALING FROM OUR WEBSITE, we want to see YOUR ideas.
The poster's dimensions should be: 8 and 1/2 x 11inches, no smaller no larger.
If you send in your poster digitally via email, please be sure that it is web ready, saved as an RGB file and saved at 72dpi. Email: Akira@pioneer-usa.com
If you send in your poster via snail mail, please take the necessary packing precautions to ensure that your masterpiece survives the rideÉ.
C/o Akira Contest-Webmaster
2265 E. 220th St.
Long Beach, CA 90810
Prizes and Judging
Prizes will be given away and judged in 3 categories for which there will be one grand prize per category. You do not have to specify in which category you wish for your poster to compete, that'll be up to our judges to decide.
- Most Creative - This award will go to the design we least expected (but still looks good!)
- Best Overall - This award goes to the one that is quite simply the best final product
- Judges' Choice - This award will go to the poster that will have that little je ne sais quoi that resonates with our esteemed panel of judges
The Grand Prize for each category is a brand new, Pioneer DVD Player so you can watch remastered Akira and all of your favorite movies in beautiful, digital clarity.
All Poster concepts must be received by Pioneer by October 8, 2001. All winners will be announced and contacted by October 19, 2001.
We will post all suitable posters on a link deriving from the Akira2001 website, so even if you don't win a DVD player, the whole world can see and enjoy your vision.
Rules and Legal Quantifiers
All prize winners will be selected from the general pool of entrants. All entries must be received by October 8, 2001. All winners will be announced by October 19, 2001. One entry per person, multiple entries will result in disqualification. Certain restrictions apply. Winner will be selected from all eligible entries and notified by mail or e-mail. Contest is open to residents of the USA, Canada, and their respective territories.
This offer is limited to retail consumers only; not available to public or private organizations, Pioneer Entertainment (USA) L.P., or Kodansha Ltd. employees, distributors, vendors or retailers. Prizes are non-transferable, non-exchangeable, and non-refundable, in cash or credit. Entrants accept and agree to all rules noted herein. Offer void where prohibited, taxed, or restricted by law. All federal, state, and local laws and regulations apply. Taxes on prizes are the sole responsibility of the winner. Please allow 6-8 weeks for processing. No responsibility is assumed by Pioneer Entertainment L.P, its promotion agencies, distributors, and/or dealers for entries not received at headquarters regardless of the reason. Not responsible for lost, stolen, illegible, incomplete, misdirected, or delayed mail or e-mail.
Odds of winning are dependent on the number of entries received. Pioneer Entertainment (USA) Inc. shall have no responsibility or liability for damages, losses or injury resulting from acceptance or use of any prize. Winners may be required to verify address or execute an affidavit of eligibility and release within 14 days of notification attempts, or the prize may be forfeited or an alternative winner selected. Entry constitutes permission to use winners' names and likenesses for publicity purposes without further compensation, except where prohibited by law. Minors under the age of 18 must obtain the consent of their parents or legal guardian in order to enter or win, and any prize will be awarded to minor's parents or legal guardian on minor's behalf. No purchase necessary to enter.
Thanks to everyone who entered our contest. Now here are the three chosen ones!
Best Overall: Awarded to the poster that was, quite simply, the best final product.
Most Creative: The design we least expected, but still looks good!
Judges' Choice: The poster with that little je ne sais quoi that resonated with our esteemed panel of judges.