'Akira' Filming Location Sparks Major Controversy

Akira is coming to Hollywood after years of developmental setbacks. Earlier this week, fans learned the live-action adaptation has gotten a major tax credit under director Taika Waititi and producer Leonardo DiCaprio. However, as it turns out, not everyone is happy about the award.

After all, the tax credit means Akira is filming in California, and that is a major problem for fans.

According to a recent report by The Hollywood Reporter, Akira has received a $18+ million tax credit. This award means the film will need to start production in 180 to receive the tax incentive, but fans are more hung up on the film’s primary film location.

After all, Akira has very little to do with California. In fact, Katsuhiro Otoma’s original series is set in a post-apocalyptic version of Tokyo. The city, which is called Neo Tokyo, follows two teenage boys involved with a local motorcycle gang. When one of them is taken by the government, a full scale rescue is attempted, but fans quickly find out there are some supernatural secrets backing the seemingly random kidnapping.

As fans of Akira admit, the setting of Neo Tokyo is an important one, and the setting is nonnegotiable for a live-action adaptation. The report of this project’s California filming location has prompted fans to worry; Many want to know why Japan isn’t being eyed or whether the adaptation plans to move its setting from Neo Tokyo to Neo Anaheim. This fear is only compounded by Hollywood’s famously lacking anime adaptations, but recent projects like Alita: Battle Angel and Detective Pikachu hope to turn that reputation around.

For now, fans will have to wait and see what Akira brings. In the past, Waititi has said he wants to find an Asian lead for the adaptation and populate its cast with diverse talent. There’s a good chance this tax incentive will allow Akira to create Neo Tokyo from the ground up on sound stages in California before doing additional shoots in Japan. So, audiences will want to keep themselves updated on this project as it moves forward.

So, are you interested to see how Akira turns out? 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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