Bartkira is the Strangest Mash-up Trailer You Didn’t Know You Wanted
I know it’s been a while since I last watched Akira, but I’m pretty sure this isn’t the anime I remember.
Because sometimes the Internet is just plain weird, there’s now a trailer for Bartkira, the mash-up of Akira and The Simpsons that looks exactly how you think it would. The new trailer is a (roughly) shot-for-shot remake of the trailer for the 1988 classic, set in Neo-Springfield instead of Neo-Tokyo and with Simpsons characters swapped in for all the key players from the manga. Bart is Kaneda. Principal Skinner is Colonel Shikishima. And Millhouse is Tetsuo, because of course Millhouse is Tetsuo.
The results are a bizarre combination of the surreal and the hilarious, especially since the trailer is presented in the original Japanese without any subtitles. I’d readily believe that Lisa is bilingual, but Bart has never seemed so worldly.
So why would someone go to all the trouble of producing such a thing?
It’s most likely because the organizers are fans as much as they are creators. Bartkira began as a few drawings by Ryan Humphrey before snowballing into an ongoing collaborative effort to recreate all six volumes of the Katsuhiro Otomo manga. The new trailer was organized by Kaitlin Sullivan, and includes contributions from 50 volunteer artists seeking to pay tribute to two of the most influential properties in animation.
It’s also a time-displaced reminder of the passion The Simpsons inspired when the show was at is peak. That fervor has declined after a decade of more sparsely viewed mediocrity – in fact, I’m still not convinced that Bartkira is something that anybody asked for – but Simpsons characters used to be plastered all over everything so I see no reason why the same should not be true of classic anime. Bartkira may be a crowd-sourced fan production, but they’ve already accomplished far more (and demonstrated far more enthusiasm) than the producers of the actual live-action adaptation of Akira.
To avoid any potential legal troubles, Bartkira is being run as a not-for-profit operation, with any proceeds being donated directly to charity. It also means that the Bartkira books are available for free, so go ahead and check out Volume One if that’s the sort of thing you’re into.
For reference, here’s the original trailer for Akira: