The Simpsons is one of the longest-running animated series in America, and its weird symbiosis with Japanese pop culture is well documented. From opening sequences heavily influenced by Japanese anime, to the tribute to animation great, Hayao Miyazaki, the series had done a good job thus far.
The connection everyone’s favorite TV family has with Japanese culture was yet again strengthened with an unofficial cross over project between The Simpsons and a manga series set a post-apocalyptic world as imagined by Katsuhiro Otomo, in his popular manga, Akira, called Bartkira. The project has attracted more than 500 artists, each working in their own styles.
Spearheaded by cartoonist, James Harvey, the project aims to have all the over 2000 pages of Akira redrawn using characters from The Simpsons. Down below in just a handful of characters who have been re-imagined. The reimagined world sees Bart as Kaneda and Ralph Wiggum as the title character, Akira.
As Harvey explains, “Some aspects of the cast list might be surprising, but I’m confident that you’ll see the logic and consideration that went into the choices I ended up making when you read the book. Believe me, I went through nearly every reasonable combination of characters and this roster works the best, in terms of character motivation and interaction.”
In a blog post, Harvey explained that, “Both pieces depict a world of children at war with adults… Both Bart and Kaneda were avatars for [an] aggressive brand of anti-establishmentarianism—The Simpsons lampooned society with barbed wit while Kaneda’s gang literally smashed it with hammers. Both pieces, then, were a massive moment of catharsis for the cultures they sprang out of.”
The project has had exhibitions in the United States, United Kingdom and most recently in Japan. A non-profit, crowd-sourced animated trailer has also been created influenced by the original Akira movie trailer. While the trailer is not officially connected to either The Simpsons or Akira brands, it is officially connected to Bartkira.