– by Joseph Jammer Medina

Not too long ago, there were rumors surrounding Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi potentially directing a live-action Akira film.

Speaking with IGN, Waititi confirmed the talks, but was wary about actually saying anything definitive:

“I am — that was more or less a rumor. There was, I mean, I was in talks to do that, for sure, and something that I was very passionate about — am passionate about. I actually love the books. Love the movie, but I would not do a remake of the movie. I would do an adaptation of the books. And, yeah, so anyway there’s been some chats [about him directing it].”

For someone like me who hated the film but loved the manga, this is music to my ears. While the film had great animation and interesting ideas, it ended up being far too abstract for my taste. The manga, however, with its longer length, actually allowed the story to play out in a more tangible fashion. So hearing that he’ll be pulling from that source instead of the anime is comforting.

Of course, anime and manga fans have been burned several times. Between Dragon Ball Evolution and Ghost in the Shell (and to a lesser extent, Death Note), fans have gotten sick of seeing Hollywood try to whitewash the film. Akira is a film that’s been in development for years, and whenever discussions come up, it’s usually with a white actor’s name attached. However, Waititi’s own vision is much closer to the original in terms of its cast.

“Yeah. actually Asian teenagers would be the way to do it for me and probably no, not, like no name, I mean sort of unfound, untapped talent. Yeah, I’d probably want to take it a bit back more towards the books.”

What do you think? Does Waititi have the right idea? Let us know your thoughts down below!

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  • Victor Roa

    ….. still feel like close to pressing that Panic button even if What We Do In Shadows is my favorite film.

  • Behemothrex

    This always makes me laugh, white wash a manga that has white characters to start with ROFL. In 99% of anime the characters look white. But hey as long as it’s good I could give a fuck who is in the role.

    • Dersu DeLarge

      Normally I’d agree with you completely, but Akira is somewhat – different. It’s the closest thing in manga and anime I’ve seen make the Asian characters actually look Asian. Like in the movie, the skin tones are tanned and most of the characters (save for the psychic children) have black hair. That said, they still have the oversized round eyes typical to manga and anime.

      But yeah, regarding most of the rest of manga and anime in general, characters usually look like exaggerations of white physical characteristics.

  • Kronx

    Essentially, we need a $100 million, hard R-rated, 2 and a half hour, effects-laden sci-fi apocalyptically unsettling downer starring unknowns, based on the popularity of an ’80s anime which kids today aren’t familiar with or impressed by.

    And, if any of the above things are changed, the entire geek community will turn on the film in a heartbeat.

    Where can I invest?

    If the critically acclaimed Blade Runner 2049 with Han Solo, Drax, Princess Buttercup, the Joker, and the guy who saved Jazz in it is underperforming, what hope does Akira have?

    Gonna be a tough film to do right AND make money on.

Joseph Jammer Medina is an author, podcaster, and editor-in-chief of LRM. A graduate of Chapman University's Dodge College of Film and Television, Jammer's always had a craving for stories. From movies, television, and web content to books, anime, and manga, he's always been something of a story junkie.