Hollywood has nailed the art of comic book adaptations — well, mostly. Marvel Studios has become one of the industry’s biggest thanks to its string of superhero blockbusters. Nowadays, Hollywood is turning its eye to anime as titles like Akira are being pushed towards adaptations. So, it might be time Warner Bros. called up Kanye West.
After all, the rapper did do a loose adaptation of Akira for his “Stronger” music video.
You may not be familiar with West’s career, but there is a good chance you have heard his 2007 hit. The single “Stronger” dropped from Graduation more than a decade ago, and its high-tech music video was one of the year’s most-talked about pieces. Over on Youtube, the video has over 200 million views, but there is something special about the clip music-heads might have missed.
The video was shot in Tokyo after West approached the head of Island/Def Jame records. The guerrilla-style reel was made in just under two weeks, and West wanted it to capture the futuristic video of Graduation. So, the rapper paired his love of Japanese pop culture with Akira to create one trippy homage.
When the video begins, fans are shown a 3D CGI model of the medical machine Tetsuo gets examined in. The animated scene shows an exact replica of the machine, and West is shown lying inside of it as if he were Tetsuo.
Later, a motorcyle sequence is housed in the video, and its distinctive taillight trails look exactly like those shown in Akira. Kaneda’s popular red bike might not have been used exactly, but the music video did borrow from the anime’s special effects.
As the clip continues, fans can see other scenes in the music video which were sourced from Akira. The video’s riot scenes and its hospital shot are taken shot-for-shot. When Kanye is seen wrestling in the hospital, he looks just like Tetsuo did after his psychic powers were examined. And, to top things all off, the anime ends with Kanye pushing back policemen telekinetically the same way Tetsuo did when he escaped his hospital room.1comments
West has never been shy about his interest in anime, and he has singled out Akira specifically as one of his favorite series. The rapper has tweeted about the iconic film in the past, saying it is tied with There Will Be Blood as his top movie of all-time. With Hollywood eyeing Akira as a hopeful adaptation, it may be wise for Warner Bros. to team up with West as a creative partner in some way should the film get going. The cyberpunk film would need a stellar soundtrack, and plenty of fans would love for West to curate the collection much like Kendrick Lamar did with Black Panther.
Did you notice these anime callbacks in this music video? Let me know in the comments or hit me up on Twitter @MeganPetersCB to talk all things comics, k-pop, and anime!