THE AKIRA BOOK
KATSUHIRO OTOMO: THE MOVIE AND THE MANGA: A CRITICAL STUDY
by Jeremy Mark Robinson
This is a book about Akira – the manga of 1982-90 and the movie of 1988, and about the creator of Akira, the genius artist Katsuhiro Otomo (b. 1954). There are very few genuine auteurs in Japanese animation: the animation industry, like all filmmaking on a large scale, is truly collaborative. However, you can definitely see elements in the films directed and written and supervised by Katsuhiro Otomo that are auteurist: Otomo has his own style, visually, but also his own concerns, thematically, politically and psychologically.
Akira is a GIANT of a movie that opens at full blast: this movie rocks from shot one. It really rocks – at a far higher level of intensity than any comparable movie, including all of the classics regularly trotted out as hi-octane movie-making. Akira is clearly one of those movies where the filmmakers have thrown everything they can think of into the mix, and it’s a movie in which the film-makers have given their all.
Meanwhile, the manga of Akira exceeds all expectations – about storytelling, about what a comicbook or manga is, about how an action-adventure-fantasy story can work in a contemporary setting, and how a story can be genuinely thrilling, genuinely political, genuinely wild and epic.
In short, Akira ticks all of the boxes: (a) it has action and spectacle in spades, (b) it has fascinating characters and situations, (c) it is incredibly exciting, (d) it is very unusual, sometimes downright eccentric and out-there, (e) it is highly politicized, (f) it has plenty to say about living in the modern world, about contemporary, advanced capitalist societies, and (g) it establishes its own world, its own raison d’etre, its own philosophy with supreme self-confidence.
Akira is the manga to top all manga, to end all manga. It is a manga designed to go further, louder and crazier than any other manga. And it does! Akira delivers on its promise: it really is every bit as great as everybody says it is.
Volume one of the manga of Akira was published in Young Magazine in 1982-83, by Kodansha (one of the big three among manga publishers in Japan – the other two are Sogakkan and Shueisha), when Katsuhiro Otomo was 28.
The Akira Book includes chapters on: Katsuhiro Otomo’s other manga and movies; his inspirations and influences; the contemporary anime industry; and a section of the views of critics and fans. Every aspect of the Akira movie is explored (animation, sound, music, voices, story, themes, etc).
Fully illustrated, including many images of the Akira movie, the Akira manga, Otomo’s other works in comics and cinema, Otomo’s inspirations, etc.
Hardcover – full colour laminate cover.
This edition is revised, and contains extra illustrations.
Bibliography, resources and notes. Available in both hardcover and paperback. 768 pages.
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|Publisher:||Crescent Moon Publishing|
|Product dimensions:||5.00(w) x 8.00(h) x 1.63(d)|
About the Author
Table of Contents
Picture Credits 10
PART ONE: KATSUHIRO OTOMO
01 Katsuhiro Otomo 16
PART TWO: MANGA
01 Some of Katsuhiro Otomo’s Manga Works 58
02 Hansel and Gretel: Katsuhiro Otomo’s Fairy Tales and Classics 113
03 Inri 141
04 Domu 154
05 The Legend of Mother Sarah 187
06 Later Manga Works By Katsuhiro Otomo 211
PART THREE: CINEMA
01 Some of Katsuhiro Otomo’s Works In Cinema 223
02 Memories 246
03 Metropolis 290
04 Steam-Boy 299
05 Mushishi 322
06 Short Peace: Combustible 336
PART FOUR: THE AKIRA MOVIE
01 Introduction: Some Reasons Why Akira Is a Masterwork 363
02 Akira and the Japanese Animé Industry 370
03 Akira: Production 394
04 Akira: Characters 413
05 Akira: The Story of Akira 438
06 Akira: Themes and Issues 485
07 Akira: The Style of Akira 515
PART FIVE: THE AKIRA MANGA
01 The Akira Manga 529
Mushishi • Sky Blue • Freedom 597
Fans On Akira 615
Critics On Akira 617
Katsuhiro Otomo: Filmographies 619
Katsuhiro Otomo: Manga Works 629