Over thirty years ago, Katsuhiro Otomo’s seminal manga series, Akira, became a groundbreaking anime film. Now, the long-in-development live-action Akira is moving forward at Warner Bros. The studio has set a release date for May 21, 2021. Additionally, Warner Bros. confirmed that Thor: Ragnarok helmer, Taika Waititi, will direct the Akira adaptation.
Waititi has previously directed What We Do In Shadows, Two Cars, One Night, and the upcoming Jojo Rabbit. The Akira anime took place in Neo-Tokyo in 2019. and it followed two friends, Shōtarō Kaneda and Tetsuo Shima, as they were torn apart by Tetsuo’s emerging psychic powers. The titular Akira is also a powerful psychic whose abilities destroyed Tokyo three decades earlier.
RELATED: Taika Waititi Talks About Potentially Directing Akira
The previously released synopsis sounds similar to the original story. However, it places the action in New Manhattan instead of Neo-Tokyo.
“Set in a future city environment called New Manhattan, the sci-fi epic follows the leader of a biker gang who must save his best friend, who has been experimented on by the government causing him to develop dangerous and destructive psychokinetic powers.”
Last year, Waititi told IGN that he doesn’t intend to whitewash the main roles, including Tetsuo and Kaneda.
“Asian teenagers would be the way to do it for me,” said Waititi. “Probably…no name. I mean sort of unfound, untapped talent…I’d probably want to take it a bit back more towards the books.”
Akira‘s original manga split the story over six volumes. However, Warner Bros.’ announcement didn’t include any sequel confirmation. Presumably, WB also wants to keep its options open.
“What do you want to see in Akira? Let us know in the comment section below!
Recommended Viewing: Akira Blu-ray