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Notes about Otomo and Akira

A short biography

the Author Katsuhiro Otomo
Katsuhiro Otomo in japanese

Katsuhiro Ōtomo 大友克洋
Ōtomo Katsuhiro, (born April 14, 1954) is a Japanese manga artist and director. He is perhaps best known for being the creator of the manga Akira and its anime adaptation, which are extremely famous and influential.

For his works Otomo got the following awards and prices:
1983: Winner of Japan's Science Fiction Grand Prix award for Domo
1984: 8. Kodansha Award for Akira in the genre Young adult
1992: 'Silver Scream Award' for Akira at the Amsterdam Fantastic Film Festival
1992: 'Special Jury Prize' at the Yokohama Film Festival for his success in realizing Animes and reality movies.
1996: Prize for his work as Excutive producer at the Mainichi Film Concours for Memories
2002: 'Will Eisner Award' for Akiras in the categories - Archival Collection/Project and Edition of Foreign Material
2004: Best Animated Feature Film for Steamboy at the Sitges Catalonian International Film Festival

Tetsuo with a book on his head

Thoughts about Akira

Akira (アキラ) is a manga by Katsuhiro Otomo. It is regarded as a milestone of the genre.
Neo Tokyo in 2019: 31 years before the city was destroyed by a gigantic explosion of an unknown weapon.
Now the Olympic Games will take place at the new sports venues which were built on the ruins of the former "old city" Tokyo, although this area is still restricted.
Neo Tokyo has grown rapidly after the 3rd Worldwar but the mood of reconstruction is handled now.
Student riots, excessive drug use, lethal battles between rival gangs - this is the scene of the story.
Kaneda, Tetsuo and their Motorcycle Gang encounters, as they take part at an illegal race in the prohibited zone, on a mysterious phenomenon.
The resulting conflict between the young people among themselves and with the government formed the background of the act, which rotates around mysterious supernatural phenomena trying to hide by the highest circles in politics and the military.
The main characters are frustrated, bored teenagers, crave powered military, bureaucrats and unscrupulous scientists.
On one hand the repressive authorities, in the form of schools, police and military, on the other hand cynical and disillusioned youths, who are ready to violence.
Megalomania and fear prevail on all sides and can always turn into brutality.
The omnipotence fantasies of the protagonists are in strong contrast to their isolation in social space.
Friendship has little chance against the censure of the figures who never abandon their coverage, because they fear violation and disappointment everywhere.

The existing conditions of Japanese society are questioned and criticized.
In Akira Otomo outlined an oversubscribed and futuristic picture of a society, where traditional social ties do not work any more.
Norms and values of a social integration are hard to find in the gloomy vision of the future.

At the same time, the story illustrates how deep the traumatic experience of the Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki shapes the collective consciousness of Japanese people.
The ones who also read or saw other mangas or animes but Akira, know enough about that topos.
Akira raises the question if it is possible to start a new beginning for a society only by their total destruction and also implies a Japanese interpretation of history after the 2nd World War.