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'Akira' Live-Action Synopsis Reveals Controversial Changes From Manga

Akira is finally making headway in Hollywood. After a long period in development, new reports have confirmed progress is being made on the film’s production, but hardcore fans of the iconic series are weary of what’s to come. And, thanks to a brand-new synopsis, that fear is only growing for some.

Recently, fans were given new insight into Akira when Production Weekly put out its most recent issue. The trade magazine posted an update on Akira, and it included a preliminary summary for the project. The description can be read below in its entirety:

"When a young man’s telekinesis is discovered by the military, he is taken in to be turned into a super weapon and his brother must race to save him before Manhattan is destroyed by his powers. Kaneda is a bar owner in Neo-Manhattan who is stunned when his brother Tetsuo is abducted by Government agents lead by the Colonel. Desperate to get his brother back, Kaneda agrees to join Ky Reed and her underground movement who are intent on revealing to the world what truly happened to New York City 30 years ago when it was destroyed.

Kaneda believes their theories to be ludicrous, but after facing his brother again is shocked when he displays telekinetic powers. Ky believes Tetsuo is headed to release a young boy. Akira, who has taken control of Tetsuo’s mind, Kaneda clashes with the Colonel’s troops on his way to stop Tetsuo from releasing Akira, but arrives too late. Akira soon emerges from his prison courtesy of Tetsuo as Kaneda races to save his brother before Akira once again destroys Manhattan island as he did thirty years ago."

The summary provided confirms a few things about Akira’s fate in Hollywood. While details of the film are subject to change this far out, it seems the military plot crafted by creator Katsuhiro Otomo will be the same for the most part. However, there are a few major differences detailed in this blurb which differ from the original title.

For one, this version of Akira seems like it will take place in Neo-Manhattan rather than Neo-Tokyo. This change is causing the greatest outcry amongst fans on social media, and it isn’t hard to figure out why. Fans don’t understand why the film needs to be shifted from an eastern setting, and they are making that confusion loud and clear.

Other changes have to do with Kaneda and Tetsuo. The leads have retained their names from the original series, but Kaneda isn’t mentioned as the leader of bike gang; Instead, the protagonist is said to be a bartender, and he is brothers with Tetsuo now rather than best friends. These changes add up with the addition of Ky Reed, a rebellion leader whose role was once reported to be offered to Kristen Stewart. So, for now, fans will have to see how many of these changes will live on to active production on Akira.

So, what do you make of these changes? Let me know in the comments or hit me up on Twitter @MeganPetersCB to talk all things comics and anime!

Originally created by Katsuhiro Otomo for Kodansha's Young Magazine in 1982, Akira later inspired the equally as prolific 1988 animated film, which Otomo himself directed. The story is set in a dystopian world following the bleak close of World War III. A gang leader known as Kaneda finds himself embroiled in a massive government operation when his best friend begins exhibiting powerful telekinetic gifts. To save his friend, Kaneda must get to the bottom of Neo Tokyo’s espers, but the lead quickly learns he is way in over his head.

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