Why did they change the location of Akira in the remake?

Why did they change the location of Akira in the remake? - Residential cottage house with courtyard

As described on IMDB site, the Akira remake:

Set in New-Manhattan a city rebuilt with Japanese money, the story focuses on two biker friends. Further plot is not known at this time.

My issue is not with non-Asian actors (but I kid you not if Robert Patterson takes one of the roles for this movie I will be disappointed in Hollywood, Even though I already am), my issue is with the reason why Akira worked. It worked (for me) because I liked the Tokyo setting

  • Post war experiences
  • Post atomic bomb experiences
  • Overpopulation
  • Daily economic struggle

These items can be seen in a few old anime movies

Now it is being moved to New York of which if anything that this will be relatable to would be 9/11 or an alternate reality where the crime rate reaches uncontrollable levels like in Escape from New York. The dystopia for New York just doesn't really seem to fit the bill. Which by all means is not a problem, so why not change the name from Akira?

I've seen in the past how Hollywood takes something and turns it into nothing, but that's okay, the goal is to make money. I just want to know why and how are they going to spin Akira, a movie that dictates anime direction for all anime of the past decade to a location where dubbed movies are favored over subtitles. Even taking into account that North America is English speaking, it still does not explain the need to change location. The point was to show the culture within Tokyo and how crappy it can be for the characters.

So could someone please tell me how will this work for a place like New York?

Best Answer

The usual answer Hollywood offers when they do this sort of thing is that they want the audience to connect to the story. Since they are probably aiming for the largest possible audience (more money!) they will go for (what they perceive to be) the lowest common denominator. Thus Americanizing the story, to almost beyond recognition. They believe that (to most Americans) New York is far more familiar than Tokyo as a possible dystopic city. The differences between the two cities is perceived by Hollywood to be beyond the common movie goer.

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Why did they change the location of Akira in the remake? - Exterior of modern cottage house with columns and balcony surrounded by green grass and trees
Why did they change the location of Akira in the remake? - Exterior of contemporary residential cottage house with green lawn in yard under cloudy sky
Why did they change the location of Akira in the remake? - Modern villa with spacious yard in winter

Was Akira cancelled?

The Suicide Squad: How the Akira Movie's Cancellation Led to Taika Waititi's Role. As it turns out, the cancellation of Warner Bros. live-action Akira project led to Thor: Love and Thunder director Taika Waititi's role in the upcoming The Suicide Squad film.

Why is Akira controversial?

The casting controversy has not only focused on the plan to change the ages of the central characters, however, but also their races. Although anime is ethnically ambiguous by design, it is fair to assume that Neo-Tokyo residents Kaneda and Tetsuo were not supposed to be corn-fed American boys.

Will there be a remake of Akira?

Waititi has been very open about how the new adaptation of Akira keeps getting pushed back or cancelled by studios. In 2019 it was announced Waititi had been assigned to direct the film for a 2021 release date.

Who owns the live-action rights to Akira?

Live-action filmWarner Bros. acquired the rights to a live-action Akira film in 2002, but since then has had difficulty in getting a project started, with it remaining in development hell. At least five different directors and ten different writers have been attached at various times.

Details About The Live-Action Akira Remake Finally Revealed

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