'I wanted to make a movie that would be a jumble of images, instead of just showing the highlights of each scene. I wanted to show the details, and if such detail could be seen as a mosaic of the whole,... [more]
'I wanted to make a movie that would be a jumble of images, instead of just showing the highlights of each scene. I wanted to show the details, and if such detail could be seen as a mosaic of the whole, and in retrospect, if the view could recall the movie in that way, then that would fit my intentions.' Katsuhiro Otomo, the creator of 'Akira' and the Daddy of Anime, has been intent on visually overwhelming audiences since childhood.
Katsuhiro Otomo grew up on a steady diet of comic books and film. After graduating from high school, he moved to Tokyo armed with the dream of becoming a comic-book artist. His first professional job was an adaptation of the Prosper Merimee novella 'Mateo Falcone,' which appeared in Action, a popular weekly magazine.
In 1979 Otomo's talent converged with his interest in technology and inspired a new project called 'Fireball.' Though the project remains unfinished, the central theme of man-versus-malevolent-supercomputer continues to haunt his dystopian Science Fiction work. In 1980 he created -- and finished -- the comic book 'Domu,' which became an instant bestseller and the first comic book to ever win Japan's Grand Prix award for a Science Fiction story.
After the phenomenal success of 'Domu,' Otomo created the award-winning 'Akira,' which is considered by many to be his masterpiece. The original comic-book form contains more than 2000 pages of artwork in six extensive volumes. When the book was adapted into a feature-length film, Otomo himself took the helm of one of the largest animated film productions in Japanese history. The 'Akira' movie was a landmark in animation innovation.
The film helped popularize Japanese anime -- a style of animation that features adult themes, violence, graphic sex, and special effects not possible in the world of flesh and blood. Its crisp visual style and fluid direction also influenced hordes of imitators, from Lensman to Madox and many more. Though the film's story is complex, the work is meant to transcend its plot.
Before 'Akira,' most animated features had simple themes, clich'd plots, and childish characters that amused kids and annoyed their captive parents. Since the film's release, there's been an explosion of animated features that address a similar dystopian vision -- though usually with less-than-stellar results. [show less]