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New Akira Anime Project And Brand New Anime Film Keep Katsuhiro Otomo Busy

Illustration for article titled New iAkira/i Anime Project And Brand New Anime Film Keep Katsuhiro Otomo Busy
Photo: (c)KATSUHIRO OTOMO・MASH・ROOM/O.E PROJECT

This is Orbital Era. It’s a new anime feature film from Akira creator Katsuhiro Otomo and Sunrise, the folks behind Gundam. This isn’t the only thing that he has been working on. Otomo has also announced a new Akira anime project as well as a 4K remaster of the original 1988 film.

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Below is the first teaser for Orbital Era, which will be Otomo’s third feature film.

According to ANN, the movie is set in the future and has fantasy elements. Via Sunrise, here is the movie’s official description:

The plot takes place in the near-future on a space colony under construction. It is an action-adventure story following the lives of some young boys surviving in this peculiar environment and society as they are tossed around by fate. “The reality found in mankind’s future” will be depicted through their perspective.

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While the main character is American, he wears an astronaut helmet with CCCP, or the Russian abbreviation for USSR, on it.

Illustration for article titled New iAkira/i Anime Project And Brand New Anime Film Keep Katsuhiro Otomo Busy
Photo: (c)KATSUHIRO OTOMO・MASH・ROOM/O.E PROJECT

Otomo is writing the script as well as directing.

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Prior to this, Otomo’s most recent feature film was 2004's Steamboy. His first film, Akira, came out in 1988.

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With Orbital Era in production, it might seem like Otomo has his hands full, but he also announced a new Akira project during his Anime Expo panel this week. It’s unclear if this is a remake, but the project reportedly aims to incorporate all of the Akira manga’s story.

Back in 2013, Otomo told Japanese TV, “You all want me to do Akira 2, right? I’m not going to do it, however.”

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The original Akira manga debuted in 1982 and ended in 1990.

If that was not enough (apparently, it’s not!), the original Akira movie is getting a 4K remaster, aimed for release next spring in Japan. ANN reports that it will also be released in the US.

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Illustration for article titled New iAkira/i Anime Project And Brand New Anime Film Keep Katsuhiro Otomo Busy
Photo: (c)KATSUHIRO OTOMO・MASH・ROOM/O.E PROJECT

Plus (yes, there’s more), Kodansha is putting together a “Complete Works Project” with Otomo which will comprise all of his manga since his debut in 1971. [Full disclosure: My first book was published by Kodansha International.] For the first time, Otomo’s works will be presented in their entirety. Good!

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Originally from Texas, Ashcraft has called Osaka home since 2001. He has authored six books, including most recently, The Japanese Sake Bible.

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DISCUSSION

yellowsnow
Yellow Snow

After the grand disappointment Steamboy was, I have little confidence in him putting out something with the same quality as Akira, tbh. I don’t know his life story, but I find it mystifying that he’s only done one anime and a handful of supremely average live-action movies in 30 years. Incredibly disappointing, because even today Akira stands as a testament to the heights ‘serious’ adult animation can reach, and is IMO the peak of the adult anime movies of the 1980s. We’ve had movies like GiTS1/2 and a series of brilliant movies by Satoshi Kon (RIP) since then, but the broad majority of features have been from shounen media franchises or features specifically aimed at kids/teens since the turn of the century. Where’s the next Demon City Shinjuku? Ninja Scroll? Vampire Hunter D? Wicked City?

As time goes on there’s less and less risk-taking in the anime world and more safe, bland, middling productions to drag out manga adaptations that should have ended decades ago. Yes, there are loads of problems with today’s anime industry, but without a new wave of daring creators and production studios to back them up ‘Akira’ and movies like it will remain big reminders of ‘what if’. There are still brilliant anime productions that make an insane amount of money (such as ‘Your Name’, and Studio Ghibli’s output, which is nearing its end), but it seems there isn’t any place for more adult-orientated productions anymore, and that’s a damn shame.