What’s The Frequency, Bucket?
Akira is the post-apocalyptic, dystopian anime thriller that introduced cyberpunk to the entire generation of enthusiasts who arrived on the scene just a little too late for Blade Runner and Neuromancer.
Bigscreen is a modern VR app that combines a virtual windows desktop with personal presence in a sharable multi-person virtual space.
Coming in May 2020, these two will finally be brought together.
Bigscreen has been experimenting with on-demand movie streaming for a couple months now, but results so far have been fairly mixed. To date, Bigscreen’s “massive” catalog includes only a couple dozen movies.
Fortunately however, Bigscreen has recently teamed up with Funimation to bring anime to VR. This is exciting news, as it may herald the eventual introduction of potentially hundreds of anime titles from Funimation’s lineup.
Plus, it’s fantastic for cyberpunk enthusiasts in particular, as the first month worth of events includes four showings of Akira, including both dubbed and subtitled variants.
What else can I watch?
If a live VR screening of Akira doesn’t tickle your fancy, other upcoming events include Interstellar, Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol, and a few other titles that might also catch your interest. If not, Bigscreen’s regular on-demand movie catalog includes familiar titles like Terminator 2 and the 2017 Scarlett Johansson remake of Ghost in the Shell.
And before you angrily lament the fact that they chose the mediocre western remake over the original Ghost in the Shell, remember that if you really want to watch something missing from the official offerings list, you can always simply stream locally to VR from your computer, regardless of whether it’s a youtube video, something you have on DVD, or even something you’ve torrented. Bigscreen is very flexible, and screen mirroring is only one of its many features. In the above screenshot, you’ll notice the cyberpunks.com website windowed behind the events catalog. Anything you can see on your monitor can be mirrored to Bigscreen VR.
Which to be fair, might prompt one to wonder why the teamup between Bigscreen and Funimation exists in the first place. Presumably nothing would stop anyone from subscribing to Funimation’s monthly service, or crunchyroll for that matter, and simply streaming anything and everything they want to Bigscreen without paying on a per-movie basis.
Still, it’s clear that the “Bigscreen” team has “Bigplans” for the future, and it’s fair to speculate that their offerings will continue to expand in the coming months. If anything, this should serve as an early glimpse into the future of VR. If you have a headset, the price of admission may be worth it even simply to be able to look back and say you were here when it all started.
For those who want to participate in the screenings of Akira, the showtimes are listed below. Tickets are $3.99.
- Akira (Subtitled):
- May 15th, 6:00 pm
- May 16th, 1:00 pm
- Akira (Dubbed):
- May 16th, 1:00 pm
- May 17th, 10:00 am
Bigscreen can be downloaded for free from Steam. VR headset required.