OTOMO: A Global Tribute to the Mind Behind Akira


Last month, we talked about how Ghost in the Shell is one of the most important entries in the manga and anime genres and helped create a new generation of fans. Well one of the other key titles in that renaissance is Katsuhiro Otomo’s Akira. One of the most acclaimed and influential manga/anime releases of all time, the footprint Akira left is undeniable. Now, 80 of the best creators from Japan, Europe and America have teamed up to pay tribute to this legendary work.

In 2015, Otomo was the recipient of The Grand Prize at the Angoulême International Comics Festival. As part of the celebration of his work, a collection of Akira tribute pieces by various artists was produced as a limited edition for attendees of the show. Now Kodansha have made it available to everyone in a fancy deluxe hardcover edition.

The group of artists in this collection is one of the most eclectic you’ll see. Creators from all fields comics, animation and video games are accounted for – who all have different styles, but have in some way been influenced by Otomo’s work. On the manga side of things, there are pieces by some of the top mangaka of recent years including Naruto creator Masashi Kishimoto, Ghost in the Shell creator Shirow Masamune and Knight of Sidonia and Blame! creator Tsutomu Nihei. On the US comics front – contributors include Miles Morales Spider-Man co-creator Sara Pichelli, Olivier Coipel (House of M, Thor) and Usagi Yojimbo creator Stan Sakai. Fittingly given the Angoulême connection, there are a huge number of contributions from artists working in European comics including Boulet (Raghnarok), Juan Gimenez (Metabarons) and Stephane Levallois (The Ark) just to name a few. Along with each piece is a short bio of each creator and some give a description of their encounters with Otomo’s work. It is fascinating to read their perspectives of his work whether it be from an artistic or fan standpoint.

It would take far too long to list all the contibutors to this collection but needless to say, there is something for everyone. For me personally, having enjoyed Sara Pichelli’s work on Spider-Man and Guardians of the Galaxy, it was a real kick seeing her interpretation of Tetsuo screaming. And as someone who read all of Naruto, it was very cool to see Masashi Kishimoto bring Kaneda and Tetsuo to life in his own distinct style. Kishimoto makes no secret of Otomo’s influence on his work and even refers to him as his father in an artistic sense. It is insane just how many people Otomo has influenced, but that again just speaks to the strength of his work.

This collection succeeds in both celebrating Otomo’s work and showcasing some of the best artists working today. Every piece is unique and attributable to the artist in question, but at the same time you can see the Otomo influence in action. This is a must have for any Akira fan and for anyone looking for some amazing and diverse illustrations all in one place, this is just the thing.

OTOMO: A Global Tribute to the Mind Behind Akira is published 30 March by Kodansha Comics

9781632365224 – H/B – £25.00

Click here for the original Akira manga

Post by Leo

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