“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.