The movie was aired on Toonami as part of a Month of Movies event on December 2013. In December 2014, it was given an encore showing, airing the same night as Dragon Ball Z: Broly - The Legendary Super Saiyan. Both airings used the Pioneer dub.
The movie aired on the Sci Fi Channel in the mid-90's, using the dub included in the Streamline Pictures release.
Acting for Two: The Streamline dub of the 1988 movie had many of its voice actors taking on multiple roles. Barbara Goodson was the voice of Takashi and Kaori, Bob Bergen was both Masaru and Kaisuke, and Tony Pope was Talking to Himself in several scenes as Yamagata, Colonel Shikishima and Nezu.
The movie has two English dubs: an early one done by a Hong Kong studio for it's original Streamline Pictures release in 1988 (often referred to as the "Streamline dub", despite the fact that Streamline Pictures didn't actually produce it), and another one done by Animaze for Pioneer's rerelease in 2001 after anime dubbing had become far more established in the west, and was recorded and mixed with updated technology.
There's also two French dubs.
The manga has been translated and released twice into English: it was first done in the early 90s by Marvel's Epic Comics, and released the entire manga flipped and in color with the approval of Otomo, who selected the digital colorist himself. This release is notable for being revolutionary in comic book coloring in that it was the first regular series to be colored digitally. The entire manga was released across 38 comics, but the collected editions were short-lived: only 6 of the planned 9 paperbacks were released and 5 of the planned 6 hardbacks were released before the license expired. Dark Horse Comics later released the entire series in six giant books in their original black and white, but still flipped, and with a new translation. When their license expired, Kodansha Comics USA rescued the series, but simply reissued Dark Horse's editions under their brand. It still has yet to be published in its original right-to-left format in English.
Fountain of Expies: Tetsuo. At least half the psychotic, supernaturally powered youngsters in anime, videogames and even movies of the last 30-odd years owe something to the lovable little freak.
Freeze-Frame Bonus: A rare comic book example. When the agent is hospitalized and being debriefed, pay attention to the painting above the bed. Now look up the cover of Otomo's other work Domu. See any similarities? Domu shares themes with AKIRA and came out before he started working on the AKIRA story.
While bookstores in North America at least carry the manga, good luck finding more than one volume for sale at a time, maybe two if you're lucky. Depending where you live, you'll find either the first, second, or sixth.note And the fact that Borders has declared bankruptcy and closed its doors certainly hasn't helped matters.
For US fans, the original 1988 movie dub that was distributed by Streamline throughout the 1990s was impossible to find for years outside of old VHS and Laserdisc copies. note And the Australian DVD, but whatever.FUNimation's 25th anniversary DVD and Blu-ray re-release, however, features both this and the 2001 dub on top of the original Japanese track, so this is no longer an issue.
Throw It In: The scene with the black circles just before the final scene and credits is actually a pencil test.