Katsuhiro Otomo Unveils ‘Orbital Era’ Film and ‘Akira’ Anime

The anime superstar from Japan, Otomo Katsuhiro has unveiled his upcoming projects that include an adventure feature film ‘Orbital Era’ and the return of ‘Akira’ in anime format. The feature will be produced by Otomo in association with Sunrise Inc., which also produces anime version of the cult manga series ‘Akira.’ The creator revealed the news at the Los Angeles Anime Expo on Thursday.

Otomo will also collaborate with his long-time partner and leading manga publisher Kodansha to create ‘Otomo: The Complete Works,’ reports Variety.

Originally created by Katsuhiro Otomo, ‘Akira’ first appeared in Kodansha’s popular manga magazine ‘Weekly Young Magazine’ in 1982. The manga went onto become one of the flagship titles of Kodansha and gathered a cult following. The popularity of the manga catapulted to new heights when Otomo made a feature film version of the manga in the same name in 1988.

Directed by Otomo, the movie unfolds against the backdrop of a dystopian wasteland while the world is on the verge of World War III. The plot follows Kaneda, a leader of a gang of rogues who finds himself entangled with a covert government operation after his best friend acquires some mysterious telekinetic powers. Kaneda plunges neck down into the dark underbelly of a dystopian Tokyo to save his friend.

The manga also gave rise to a game franchise of the same name. ‘Akira,’ which won the prestigious Eisner Award in 2002, is considered as a genre-defining work in the history of anime. It entered the Americal popular culture during the late ‘80s as the earliest and biggest manga phenomenon in the U.S. Warner Bros. is reportedly working on a live-action remake of ‘Akira’ with Leonardo DiCaprio and Katsuhiro Otomo producing and Taika Waititi directing.

‘Orbital Era’ will be Otomo’s third feature film, after ‘Akira’ and ‘Steamboy.’ The anime master reportedly serves as the writer, designer and director of the project. The plot revolves around a futuristic space colony in the making where a group of teenagers battles with the hostile environment for survival over the course four seasons.

“The reality found in mankind’s future will be depicted through their perspective,” Otomo is quoted as saying by Variety.

Otomo will edit ‘The Complete Works,’ which is touted as an ambitious retrospective by Kodansha. The project aims to provide Otomo fans with a clear-cut path to navigate through the long legacy and career milestones of the manga legend. ‘The Complete Works’ will feature his career in chronological order starting from 1971 and will be available in Japanese and international versions.

Cover Image Courtesy: Kodansha.