Though Albert Hughes (The Book of Eli) walked away from directing the Warner Bros.-helmed live action adaptation of Katsuhiro Otomo's Akira manga and anime, it seems that considerable storyboarding work was done under his leadership. As we saw in Monday's release of storyboards by artist Jeffrey Errico, it turns out that the film would've featured sequences much more faithful to Otomo's work than the the film's panned, highly-Americanized plot description and casting rumors lead fans to believe were possible. Yesterday's unveiling of further storyboard art by Chris Weston (2000 AD, The Invisibles, The Twelve) cements this notion with an extended sequence that features character designs directly inspired by the original material, although characters such as Kaneda, Tetsuo, Colonel Shikishima, The Espers and numerous background characters don't explicitly appear to be of Japanese ancestry.

From Weston's official blog:
"Albert Hughes has released some of the storyboards I drew for his live-action adaptation of Katsuhiro Otomo's classic graphic novel,"Akira". Here's a few of them; hopefully they reveal just how much love we had for the source material and how faithful we were going to be to it."
The creator's photorealistic style and attention to detail are clear signs of at least his devotion to the project, which will likely have fans much more curious about what's possible for the story in live action. Indeed, if the project could overcome its potentially crippling Americanization in terms of casting and plot, Weston's storyboards are an intriguing look at a visually-striking and potentially cool movie. According to Weston, the plot of the Hughes version of the film was even meant to be closer to the Akira manga than the animated feature.

With any luck Warner Bros. will tap similarly talented artists (or, you know, Weston again) to help create a more sensible version of the film with an appropriate budget and faithful script sans white bartender bros kicking it with Kristen Stewart in Neo-Manhattan.

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