Author Topic: Akira - Katsuhiro Otomo  (Read 1236 times)

Akira - Katsuhiro Otomo
« on: July 12, 2019, 02:23:57 PM »



Having watched the anime movie half a dozen times, I'd always been tempted by the manga but overwhelmed by the prospect of its size. I also found the movie relatively confusing in some respects and while I expected the manga to fill in numerous blanks, I also didn't want to spoil the mystique, in a way.


Anyway, it turns out that the movie covers perhaps only 20% of the manga and while it's certainly a wonderful concise but spectacular version of the story, there's a lot of fantastic material which is omitted due to time and space constraints. It's actually remarkable that it was even attempted now that I know what the manga contains and how much. It gives me an even greater appreciation of the movie.


That said, the manga is absolutely a masterpiece and up there with any that I've read. I made a good start with it about nine months ago and put it aside largely because I didn't want to rush through it. I've read in little chunks ever since but ploughed through the final third recently in a few sessions.


It is still confusing at times, there are several different factions and plenty of major characters to keep up with who barely featured in the film, but it does a good job of summarising the relevant plot and character points at the start of each volume so it's easier to follow than, say, The Wire. The artwork is colossal. Genuinely staggering in detail and impact and scope.


If you've never read it or watched the movie, I would recommend both. If you've watched the movie and thought nahhh, I'm telling you to reconsider. It's a complete triumph.

Re: Akira - Katsuhiro Otomo
« Reply #1 on: July 12, 2019, 03:14:14 PM »
I've always wanted to read the manga but always found it prohibitively expensive and I don't really want to read it online. I haven't seen the film since I was a kid but I loved it then and presumably would now.

Mister Six

  • Half-masted, bass-boosted, sling-backed
Re: Akira - Katsuhiro Otomo
« Reply #2 on: July 12, 2019, 05:35:50 PM »
I've always wanted to read the manga but always found it prohibitively expensive and I don't really want to read it online.

PRO TIP: get a library card. I've been using my library to order in big comic trades that are too expensive for me to buy outright.

Spiteface

  • a jump to the sky turns to a rider kick.
Re: Akira - Katsuhiro Otomo
« Reply #3 on: July 12, 2019, 07:36:38 PM »
Mentioned this in the comics thread, that I had started it, and yeah it's YUGE. Kinda stopped early on and I really want to get back into it.

Got the 35th anniversary boxset. All six volumes, hardback, and a bonus art book. Lovely set. Heavy as fuck, too.


The anime movie was a big deal for me in the 90s. My first anime and a film that changed my perception of what animation could be, even as a child (I'd have been about 12 when I saw it subtitled on BBC2). I can't stand most modern anime* but 80s and 90s stuff is still my thing from time to time. Rewatched Neon Genesis Evangelion on Netflix, too. I need to do a thread in Picture Box about that, actually.

The Akira Manga is daunting in its sheer size, but I do like what little I've read. Gonna restart this weekend.

* - Recent Exceptions being Devilman Crybaby, Garo and Ultraman, but the latter two don't count being spinoffs from tokusatsu shows.

Re: Akira - Katsuhiro Otomo
« Reply #4 on: July 31, 2019, 09:09:29 AM »
Spiteface, I'm currently watching Neon Genesis Evangelion for the first time, and I'm really enjoying it. I heard it's a bit teenage angsty but I've barely developed emotionally since I was 15 or something so it's right up my street.

Have you ever watched the 1997 Berserk series, by the way? The animation is nowhere near Akira or Eva but the artwork is and it's got real depth and heart and personality.

Hope you're enjoying the manga, by the way. I reckon I'll reread it soon enough because there's so much to take in with all the different characters and factions and side stories. I will have missed loads.

Spiteface

  • a jump to the sky turns to a rider kick.
Re: Akira - Katsuhiro Otomo
« Reply #5 on: August 21, 2019, 08:44:06 PM »
Finally got round to reading book one of the Akira manga this past weekend. The sheer size of it was defeating me for a while, so I just went for it.

A lot to take in, liking it. I love the insane detail of the art in it, too. Gorgeous.

Berserk is one that I've been curious about, actually. Seems more my cup of tea than a lot of modern stuff.

Much has been made of Eva, and it's "deconstruction" of Mecha anime, but you can tell Hideaki Anno was going through some shit in it. I've also come to appreciate the TV ending more on the rewatch and it is equally as valid as End of Evangelion to me now.

Shit Good Nose

  • Several bags of balls
Re: Akira - Katsuhiro Otomo
« Reply #6 on: August 21, 2019, 10:04:00 PM »
I LOVE the film.  Fucking love it.  Can't wait for the upcoming 4K blu.

I used to get Manga Mania, purely because it serialised Akira and Appleseed at a time when neither were easily or affordably available in English (further, from memory, the only other available English translation of Akira that you COULD get back then was abysmal).  Unfortunately several things happened which meant I never got to the end of the series - the mag as a whole went increasingly over to the massive titted schoolgirls tentacle rape stuff and started to introduce more "reportage" about films and music (and more generally East Asian rather than specifically Japanese stuff) in response to Anime UK's increasing popularity, it became increasingly more difficult to find in newsagents (WHSmith then-famously stopped stocking it on account of the massive titted schoolgirls), and I THINK it folded possibly even before they finished Akira.

I keep meaning to just get the anthology - every now and again well thumbed copies of each volume crop up on eBay for a reasonable price - but never got round to it.

Alberon

  • His heart is an empty fridge
Re: Akira - Katsuhiro Otomo
« Reply #7 on: September 06, 2019, 10:45:06 PM »
I got Akira in it's monthly American colour reprint back in the late eighties, and they're all in my mum's garage at the moment. In it I first learnt a film was being made and I finally got to see it when my local University showed it. I must get around to reading it again.

Black Ship

  • Where there is TEA, there is HOPE.
Re: Akira - Katsuhiro Otomo
« Reply #8 on: September 08, 2019, 02:42:53 AM »

Re: Akira - Katsuhiro Otomo
« Reply #9 on: September 08, 2019, 06:40:21 AM »
Thanks now my tablet has aids (only half joking, thanks for the link).

I recommend stealing some high quality scans, there are loads out there both b/w and colour.

I know a guy who swears by the original b/w but I did really enjoy the colour version personally, maybe it's because I'm mostly familiar with the palette of the film. It's chock full of faded sunburst reds and queasy pea greens. It's absolutely gorgeous.

magval

  • Magnum Valentino
Re: Akira - Katsuhiro Otomo
« Reply #10 on: September 09, 2019, 07:25:13 PM »
I agree, it wasn't a cynical colour job for the Western market, it was done by Steve Oliff who's a colouring pioneer. I'm reading the run of comics he recoloured for Walter Simonson on Thor again at the minute and they look far better than the originals, and I say that as a fan of flat colouring.

Shit Good Nose

  • Several bags of balls
Re: Akira - Katsuhiro Otomo
« Reply #11 on: September 09, 2019, 07:46:05 PM »
Thanks now my tablet has aids (only half joking, thanks for the link).

I recommend stealing some high quality scans, there are loads out there both b/w and colour.

I know a guy who swears by the original b/w but I did really enjoy the colour version personally, maybe it's because I'm mostly familiar with the palette of the film. It's chock full of faded sunburst reds and queasy pea greens. It's absolutely gorgeous.

I agree, it wasn't a cynical colour job for the Western market, it was done by Steve Oliff who's a colouring pioneer. I'm reading the run of comics he recoloured for Walter Simonson on Thor again at the minute and they look far better than the originals, and I say that as a fan of flat colouring.

Otomo himself gave it a big thumbs up and blessing, didn't he?

Re: Akira - Katsuhiro Otomo
« Reply #12 on: September 10, 2019, 07:03:16 AM »
Otomo himself gave it a big thumbs up and blessing, didn't he?

It was done after the release of the film as well wasn't it? so can obviously draw on that for its colourisation.

Starting it off I'd say it does seem to work very well with the original art leaving room for colour unlike say Miyzaki's Nausicaa that has so much texture there wouldn't be room for it.

magval

  • Magnum Valentino
Re: Akira - Katsuhiro Otomo
« Reply #13 on: September 10, 2019, 08:34:27 AM »
It's been released in trade recently (this year, maybe last), nice hardback editions, but not in English, but gives some hope we'll get an official English release in colour at some stage. The old Epic TPBs are hard to find and were never finished.

Re: Akira - Katsuhiro Otomo
« Reply #14 on: September 18, 2019, 03:04:18 AM »
I still don't understand how this guy drew all these pages and made the movie. He's a monster. Shame Steamboy was a letdown and he dropped of the map since.

Domu is worth checking out if you havent read it, much shorter than Akira, about the size of one volume and you can see the groundwork, both thematically and visually for what he did afterwards. I love the way this guy depicts gore, its so thick on the page that you can feel it.

Apparently when it came time to draw the Akira Incident atomic bomb page spread rather than inking the black areas with a brush he insisted on doing it all with a pen, because each scratch was at least a few dozen humans being obliterated.

The japanese work ethic is both admirable and equally scary.

Re: Akira - Katsuhiro Otomo
« Reply #15 on: September 18, 2019, 06:50:19 AM »
I'll definitely look out for Domu, cheers.

I personally was blown away by Steamboy when I first saw it. I was living in China and couldn't find a copy with English subtitles so probably focused entirely on the visuals and the visual storytelling. The mix of CG and hand-drawn animation (I assume) was mind-blowing to me back then and I think there are some brilliant action scenes. It's just a bit slight, though, isn't it? Not much depth to make you go back and I remember when I did get an English language version, I found the dialogue mostly very dull and ponderous.

samadriel

  • WHA' HAPPEN?
Re: Akira - Katsuhiro Otomo
« Reply #16 on: September 18, 2019, 07:45:21 AM »
I still don't understand how this guy drew all these pages and made the movie.

He had assistants helping with the manga, didn't he?  Not to knock it, he/they did an amazing job.

Ah:
Quote
“My method was to completely draw the first page as a warm-up without preparatory sketches, directly on the final board, with no reworking, to get going as quickly as possible. Once that first page was done, an assistant inked the decors and buildings with a Rotring pen and ruler. Meanwhile, I pencilled the following pages, finishing usually two days before the deadline. I then needed half a day to draw all the characters, then I gave a finishing touch to the buildings by trying to instill them with life and expressiveness, with dust, cracks, broken windows. I’d finish the last pencils on Sunday at 5am, the inking of the characters by 7pm, and the episode was delivered Monday morning at 8am.”

Re: Akira - Katsuhiro Otomo
« Reply #17 on: September 18, 2019, 06:50:35 PM »
I hear it’s quite common to have a few assistants e.g. one person does the humans, another does the buildings and so on. I believe this goes all the way back to the traditional woodblock paintings, where jobs were subdivided into niche assistant roles, but the head creator would get the sole credit.