What’s Katsuhiro Otomo up to these days? His latest project is definitely and eye-opening one. Called Inside Babel, it’s a recreation of Bruegel’s famous The (Little) Tower of Babel painting, but done with a large portion cut out. More info here. I also wasn’t aware that he had created this mural for the Sendai Airport back in 2015.
Katsuhiro Otomo is one of my all-time favorite manga creators, and what you see in the images above — see this tweet by Max Humphries for larger images — is yet another example of the genius that is Otomo.
I just came across this fantastic tribute music collection to Katsuhiro Otomo’s Akira, by Bwana. Not only is the music fantastic, but I also love the scrolling page that was created to show off the music, and the imagery that inspired it. Scroll to the bottom to get access to MP3s, or listen to the music on YouTube. Thanks for the heads-up, Ron.
When it was announced that the Olympics were going to be held in Tokyo in 2020, it didn’t take long for references to Katsuhiro Otomo’s Akira to pop up, considering that’s exactly what was predicted to happen in the series (published in the 80s). Here’s a beautiful graphic treatment by Javier González Delgado, inspired by Akira. I’d wear that as a tee.
I’m still in the process of going through Akira again, reading a volume every once in a while. This morning I read through all of volume 3, which is where it starts to diverge the most from the movie. When I read this, it makes me a bit sad that we never got more manga from Otomo, but then again, if that’s what he had to say, then so be it. Can’t complain too much about having such an amazing series like Akira to revisit every few years.
After re-watching the Akira movie recently, I decided it was about time I revisit the original manga, which I don’t think I’ve re-read in a couple of decades – and that would have been the version that was published by Epic, colorized. I’m reading the B&W version this time, and I just blasted through the first volume in one sitting. I’m so happy that this is still such a fantastic read, and that it still feels like such a vital piece of comic art. It’s still astounding to me that something this massive and this good could get published in the first place. Of course, it makes you think about what Otomo could have maybe done if he continued creating comics (after Akira, he only wrote The Legend of Mother Sarah), but then again, you can’t blame the guy for not really wanting to go through the creation process of creating another magnum opus like Akira.
I have literally watched this movie dozens of times throughout my life – probably the film I’ve watched the most ever – but it had been quite a while since the last time. I still remember buying the first VHS release, and paying something like $50 or $60 for it – and that tape got played to death (literally). Re-watching it now, it’s just as fantastic. I was surprised by how much I had forgotten story-wise – which made it that much more enjoyable to watch – but at the same time it’s amazing how so many tiny sequences or audio cues feel so damn familiar, like a background to my brain. It does sadden me that since 1988, we’ve still never seen another movie like it. I’ve also started re-reading the original manga series this week, something I also haven’t dug into in at least a decade or two.
Continuing with my Katsuhiro Otomo marathon, Neo Tokyo is another anthology movie that was also first released in 1987 (same as Robot Carnival). This one only includes 3 shorts (and all together it’s only about 50 minutes long), but I’d say I enjoyed it more than Robot Carnival, especially the Otomo short, which is much more juicy than what we got from him in Robot Carnival. Surprisingly, I don’t remember ever watching this, so it must have been harder to get a hold of back in the day. Here’s a Wikipedia entry that describes each short.
Following my recent Tarantino marathon, I’ve decided to do one for Katsuhiro Otomo, certainly one of my favorite creators of all time. I plan on watching all the movies that he’s directed – and that includes his participation in anthologies – as well as the ones he’s listed as screenwriter (Roujin Z, Metropolis). I kicked things off tonight with Robot Carnival, an interesting anthology that came out in 1987. I do sort of remember watching it a long time ago, but I’d pretty much forgotten all of the segments. Otomo contributes the opening and ending segments only, but they’re quite neat. As for the rest of the shorts, they all – as the title of the anthology suggests – revolve around robots, and although they all have something interesting about them, some are definitely better than others (I especially liked Franken’s Gear, Strange Tales of Meiji Machine Culture: Westerner’s Invasion, and Chicken Man and Red Neck). This Wikipedia entry does a good job of describing each. I’m off to a good start.