For many in North America, including me, our first introduction to the anime genre was the movie Akira. Of course, as motorcyclists, our fondest memories of the movie probably revolve around the crazy custom motorcycle that Kaneda rode around Neo Tokyo fighting rival biker gangs.
James Qiu has taken this bike to the next level in a 3D model he has created. He has taken all of the details of the original Akira bike and enhanced them to a level of detail never seen before. The end result is nothing less than stunning for fans of this bike.
The level of detail on this is amazing. All the stickers are there, and more. You can see the tread on the Pirelli tires, and the wrinkles on the Recaro seat. The digital gauges and heads-up display, which were unheard of when the movie was released (1982 in Japan, 1988 in the US), are clearly visible.
Gallery: Akira Concept Bike
There are also some custom touches. For one, James put his name on the sides of the large bubble windshield. He's the artist, and that's his right. I remember seeing what looks like a BMW roundel on the original bike, but it's absent from this version. In fact, the trellis frame looks very much like a Ducati Diavel. One of James' previous models is, in fact, a Ducati Diavel, so it makes sense that he might reuse some of its design aspects here. It certainly wouldn't be out of place on such a badass bike as this. The biggest departure from the movie bike is the four large mufflers sticking out from either side. The movie bike has no visible exhaust, but again, this treatment looks appropriate for a lean mean speed machine like this, so I think it works.
This is not a replica of the original bike. I think it's better. It maintains the look and functionality (or lack thereof) of the original but adds some touches and details that wouldn't have been visible in the style of the original anime. They turned Initial D into a live-action movie. If they ever do that for Akira, I hope Kaneda's bike is based on James Qiu's designs.
Sources: James Qiu, Rocket Garage