A talented fan of Akira has begun building a fully functional recreation of Shotaro Kaneda's distinctive motorcycle.
The new project comes from Japanese YouTuber and motorcycle enthusiast Ayato. The builder, who is also known by their YouTube screenname Teruteru Boizu, began the project about six months ago. The impressive replica began as an old junk bike, which the YouTuber stripped down to just its frame, engine and tires. Ayato then fabricated a new shell to recreate the look of Kaneda's ride, and built a custom suspension to ensure that bike looked and rode like its anime and manga counterpart. The latest video shows how they added LED lighting to its wheels, recreating the futuristic glow of bike. While the replica is still incomplete and lacks the motorcycle's distinct red paint and corporate branding, it is already a very impressive recreation of what may be the most famous bike in anime and manga history.
The full video series of how Ayato built the bike can be viewed on their YouTube channel.
Of course, this isn't the first time that Kaneda's bike has appeared in the real world: another Akira fan, Masashi Teshima, made their own working replica of the motorcycle in 2012. Teshima's replica was so accurate that it was officially recognized by series creator Katsuhiro Otomo. Teshima rode the bike across Japan as part of a charity drive in order to raise money for a children's autism organization and later to help the victims of the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. Teshima's bike took significantly more time and money to make than Ayato's newer project, however: that replica was built over the course of seven years and cost over $100,000 USD to create.
Akira began as a manga by writer and artist Katsuhiro Otomo, which was first published in 1982. The manga was adapted into an anime movie in 1988, which Otomo directed himself. The manga was both a commercial and critical success, earning an Eisner Award and the Kodansha Manga Award, while the anime adaptation is widely credited with helping to establish anime's international popularity with adult audiences in the early 1990s. The series is now widely regarded as not just one of the best anime and manga titles of the era, but as a landmark work in the cyberpunk genre.
Otomo's original manga is now available in English from publisher Kodansha Comics. The movie is distributed in North America by Funimation, who recently re-released the film on 4K Blu-ray. A live-action adaptation has been in development for some time, with Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi attached to the project.