ICv2 has learned that Pioneer has sold out the Special Edition DVD of the re-mastered Akira (see 'First Look At the Akira Tin') more than two weeks before the order cutoff date of June 19th. The sellout occurred despite Pioneer's bumping the production quantity of the Special Edition Tin from 75,000 to 100,000 units. The two-disk Special Edition includes a documentary on the making of the film, a feature on the costly and exacting process of restoration, another documentary on the creation of the new soundtrack for the film, and lots of other special features. Akira will also be available in a single disk DVD version (just the film with both English and Japanese soundtracks and English subtitles) as well as in a dubbed VHS version. Although only 100,000 of the Special Edition Tins will be manufactured, Pioneer will make the 2-disk DVD version of Akira available in conventional packaging, though this version may not be available when the other three versions hit the streets on July 24th.
Although Pioneer has sold out of the Special Edition Tins, the Special Edition should still be available at the distributor level, since ICv2 has talked to several distributors who have confirmed ordering extras. Although the total number of preorders for the newly re-mastered Akira won't be known until the order cutoff date of June 19th, some industry insiders think that by the end of the year Pioneer may be able to move as many as a million units of Akira in all its various formats. This would undoubtedly make it the largest-selling anime video of all time in the U.S. market.
Originally released in 1988, Akira is based on the manga series by Katsuhiro Otomo (which is currently being published by Dark Horse Comics, see 'Dark Horse Retro Manga Boffo'). The remastered version of Akira recently received a glowing review from Roger Ebert on his syndicated TV series, Ebert & Roeper At the Movies. Look for the new version of Akira to garner new accolades and another wave of publicity after it is released on DVD and video this July.