Western anime adaptations are always fraught and complex, but few have been as troubled in their development as Akira. Recently, it was delayed due to director Taika Waititi’s major commitments elsewhere. And while some viewed that as another death knell on another failed adaptation of Akira, Waititi isn’t so sure.
Talking recently to IGN, the director spoke about his schedule, the conflicts that led to Akira being at least temporarily shelved, and his eagerness to get back to it.
“Unfortunately, the timing with Akira, because we’ve been working really hard on the script, we had to keep pushing back the start date for the shoot,” Waititi explained. “We ended up having to push it a couple weeks too far, which actually ate into the Thor schedule, because they were very close together. And that got pushed again and again, and it just got too far into the Thor schedule to be able to make it work. And my first commitment was to Marvel to make that film, so now I’ve kind of had to take Akira and sort of shift it around to the tail-end of Thor and move it down a couple of years.”
It’s not surprising that the script would give the production trouble. Katushiro Otomo’s original work is a sprawling, dense epic, and the anime adaptation only functioned by essentially cutting it into pieces and turning the first third or so into a self-contained (albeit confusing) story. It’s been called unfilmable for a reason.
But it’s valuable to know that Waititi will be getting back to it sometime. Though, honestly, maybe some projects should just be left undone.