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Each era of pop culture at some point has to go through the uncomfortable transitional period where it’s too old to be trendy and too new to be retro. Right now it’s the ‘80s turn in the hot seat, with the decade’s movies, music, and fashion facing harsh judgement by modern standards.

But for all its glitzy cheese (gleese?), the 1980s gave us two landmark animation events, with anime classic Akira debuting in theaters in 1988 and The Simpsons premiering on American television in 1989. Akira’s animated version began and ended with its single movie, while The Simpsons is still chugging along nearly 600 episodes later, but that doesn’t mean they can’t blend together awesomely, as shown in this trailer for the Bartkira project that combines that tosses the cast of Matt Groening’s most famous work into the world of Katsuhiro Otomo’s.

The last time we checked in with the Bartkira project, the big news was that it was coming to Tokyo for an art exhibit. That two-day display has come and gone, and now the latest development is this amazing Bartkira animated trailer.

Watching the video, with its warped tracking effect that duplicates the third-generation VHS bootleg copy viewing experience which was so many English-speaking fans’ first exposure to Akira, you become aware of an unusual method to the madness of pairing The Simpsons with the grim anime masterpiece. After 26 completed seasons, Groening’s series is stuffed to the gills with so many characters that there’s hardly any need for the Bartkira trailer to use generic extras. Almost every role is filled by a recurring Simpsons character, with childhood friends Bart and Milhouse easily stepping into the biker boots of Kaneda and Tetsuo.

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Even some of Neo-Springfield’s less famous residents, like Arnie Pye and the Crazy Cat Lady, make brief appearances.

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▼ What could go wrong with Dr. Nick in charge of biogenetic experimentation on powerful psionic children?

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But what makes the video surprisingly powerful is the unflinching violence being doled out by characters we’ve seen living their lives in relative peace for more than two and a half decades. Sure, plenty of Simpsons episodes feature bickering and squabbling, but how often does Rainier Wolfcastle settle his differences with Ned Flanders by machine-gunning the mild-mannered suburbanite to death?

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Despite fans crying for more, right now this is all the animated Bartkira there is. But just like the Akira movie adapts only a portion of Otomo’s Akira manga, so too is there a trove of Bartkira comics waiting for you at the project’s official website, where a collaborative team of artists is currently in the process of recreating every page of the Akira manga using Simpsons characters.

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Getting back to the trailer, its comical character designs and ominous imagery and sounds (the dialogue is lifted straight from the Akira movie) produces an unsettling mix of emotions, as you don’t know whether to be shocked at how dead serious the Simpsons has become or chuckle at how silly Akira suddenly is. Either way, it’s a rough life in Neo-Springfield, but at least it looks like Homer, Marge, and Maggie managed to escape.

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Related: Bartkira official website
Source: Vimeo/Kaitlin Sullivan
Top image: Vimeo/Kaitlin Sullivan
Insert images: Vimeo/Kaitlin Sullivan, Bartkira official website