How far can you take a parody? That’s the question that’s answered by Bartkira: The Animated Trailer, the latest incarnation of a meme that won’t go away.

Watch it now:

Bartkira started a couple years ago when artist Ryan Humphrey thought it would be funny to do some drawings mashing up The Simpsons and Katsuhiro Otomo’s manga Akira. That then sparked an ambitious group project in which hundreds of artists collectively re-drew Otomo’s Akira manga in their personal style while replacing the original characters with figures from The Simpsons.

Now, Bartkira: The Animated Trailer, which debuted this afternoon, takes it one step further, with over thirty animators collaborating on a crowdsourced shot-by-shot remake of Akira’s original Japanese theatrical trailer. It’s an impressive amount of labor for something to which none of the artists involved can claim legal ownership to or directly profit from. For reference, here’s the trailer they’re parodying:

The concept for making the trailer was pitched by artist Kate Sullivan, who was also responsible for co-ordinating last year’s Sailor Moon fan-produced episode Moon Animate Make-Up! You can read Cartoon Brew’s interview with Sullivan about that earlier project. The “story” of the Bartkira trailer is that it was a proposed collaboration between Fox and Toho from the early-1990s that has recently resurfaced on a long-lost VHS:

In the days of old, deep in the dredges of the “Do the Bartman” VHS, there was a trailer. In partnership with Chicken Tonight, Butterfinger, and CC Lemon, the early 90s execs of Fox and Toho made an animated short. An attempt to appeal to American consumers without having to spend a lot of money. Until a changing of the guard decided the kids needed more Poochie and it was lost…until today.

Here’s a breakdown by production company Real Good Liars of how the trailer’s typography and opening shot were made:

Is this it for the Akira/Simpsons mash-ups or will fans figure out a way to extend the meme further? With Bartkira, you never know.

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