Revisiting the Art of Akira Part III – The Continuity of Akira

Posted By yonghow on April 25th, 2009

“The Continuity of Akira” is a 2 volume storyboard book set published in 1988 (right around the theatrical release of the film) that contains the complete production storyboards from Otomo katsuhiro’s animated film Akira. (including some boards from deleted/NG scenes) To the best of my knowledge, only one edition of this 2 volume set was ever published, making it an almost impossible item to acquire these days.

Storyboards are an invaluable resource for studying framing and composition, especially those from a director with so strong a visual sense as Otomo. His drawings here are of such high quality and detail many can almost pass off for actual artwork from a manga.

(above) One of my favourite scenes from the film – the adrenaline packed battle with the turret gun hovercrafts in the sewers.  I’m still waiting for the blu-ray price to drop so that I rewatch Akira in all its HD glory.

Folks who are familiar with Akira would probably have noticed by now just how strikingly accurate the storyboards are compared to the final cut of the film; Otomo must have seen the finished product play on inside his head over and over again, long before any of us got to watch it.

The two books above may be a little hard to acquire these days, but thankfully the complete storyboards are also available in digital format, I believe, in both the dvd and blu-ray releases of Akira. Folks who are still interested in a getting a hard copy of the storyboards might want to look at the Japanese Akira dvd boxset, which comes with a compiled, smaller sized version of the two books shown above.

And if you wish to purchase used copies from Amazon Japan, here’s Volume 1 and Volume 2.


12 Responses to “Revisiting the Art of Akira Part III – The Continuity of Akira”


where did you get your hands that?!

Bitter Lix

Oh man, just priceless. Im stunned!


lucky you!

tragic comedy

its the most essential part of preproduction~

Tim Maughan

whoa. Wait until Al T sees this. He’s gonna freak out 🙂

Al T

Yep. I’m freakin’ out! These books look stunning, I’ve been through them on the Blu ray, but there’s nothing like having the books. I’m soooooooo jealous!

Daniel Zelter

You want “hard to find”, look for an old Otomo book called Kaba.


That one actually is still possible to find, I acquired my copy somewhat recently. This one is something else, I didn’t even know this one exists.


chienyu – I honestly cannot remember ! Maybe a 2nd hand bookstore, I think.

Bitterlux/trees – As you can see the pages of the book are yellow with age, but I still love it ! :]

tragic comedy – Agreed !

Tim/Al T – Perhaps on your next trip here you might want to hit the 2nd hand books stores, Mandarake might just carry it.

Daniel Zelter/weigy – I have a copy of Kaba, I’ll do a post on it soon. :]

Marlon Deane

I’ve been workin as a storyboard artist in the animation/live action film industry, and have been a proud owner of volume 1 AKIRA STORYBOARD ART BOOK THE CONTINUITY OF AKIRA….and let me say…its all that!:-) Its a very rare book and is near if not impossible to find these days….i knew long ago when i aquired it, that it was special.


…I own this. I found my copy about two months ago in the book section of my neighborhood Value Village, along Kanojo no Omoiede Anthology, SOS Taitokyo Tankentai and The Akira Animation Archives. I paid $5 dollars a piece, and they are in perfect mint condition.

Somebody’s mom or wife/girlfriend (OR hubby/boyfriend to be fair, though unlikely) probably caught a HUGE earful THAT time they decided to ‘clean-up and donate some old comics and junk’. Whew. And I reaped the reward – I was almost shaking when I found them.

For a huge fan and collector, a find like this is the stuff dreams are made of – unreal!


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