Katsuhiro Otomo announced plans for not only his next major film project, but a return to the Akira world with a new anime. Fans were delighted to hear this news, but unfortunately not all is good for the franchise as it was announced that the upcoming live-action Akira film project was going to put on hold indefinitely. This news was already depressing on its own, but fans have noticed a startling coincidence that pours a ton of salt in the wound.
In the original film, World War III begins with a sudden explosion occurring on July 16, 1988. Neo Tokyo was restored 31 years later in 2019, so the fact that the live-action film was put on hold on July 16, 2019 is certainly a strange, distressing twist of fate.
Y'all, today is an absolute historical moment. This is the only day you can RT this.
Good for health, bad for education. pic.twitter.com/JA3tikcDJQ— Einherjar (@Einherjar69) July 16, 2019
Although this is a monumental day for the franchise's universe, it's clear that the sentiment isn't carried over into the real world. The live-action adaptation of Akira is a project that's been kicked around for several years, and the newest project spearheaded by director Taika Waititi seemingly began to build up a credible amount of steam. But new reports claim that the live-action adaptation has been put on hold, reportedly indefinitely, due to budgeting, scheduling, and casting concerns.
This coincidence certainly makes that news sting a bit more, but many fans will be quick to point out that the anime film made some significant changes to the original story. Otomo's original manga had the initial spark of World War III taking place in December 1982, and Neo Tokyo coming to life in 2019. There was an even more drastic change in the original English language release which shifted the years to 1992 to 2030.
Regardless of where you sit with the live-action adaptation news, Otomo still has more projects in the pipeline. Akira will be returning with a new anime project, and Otomo's new film Orbital Era has already shared its first look with fans.
Katsuhiro Otomo originally created Akira for Kodansha's Young Magazine in 1982, and it 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 in way over his head.