Opera Singers and Psychic Children

Let me make something really, really clear.

I’m not one of those animé kids.

That said, there’s some Japanese animation and even some Manga that is truly great.  And one of my favorite artists in this field is the superb Katsuhiro Otomo.

He’s not as well known in the US as overseas, but his impact on animation storytelling worldwide is incalculable.  A prime example of this is the movie Akira, based on Otomo’s 6-volume manga of the same name.

At a running time of slightly over 2 hours, it’s quite a monster.  It’s certainly not kids’ fare- plenty of cussing, blood, psychic children, and even a giant amoeba fetus.  Don’t say you weren’t warned.  But don’t say I didn’t recommend it, either.

As dark and stentorian as this story may be, it certainly has beautiful moments.


(Otomo, Akira Volume 1 Cover art, 1982)


(Otomo, Akira, 1982-1990)


(Otomo, Akira, 1982-1990)

akira tetsuo

(Otomo, Akira, 1982-1990)


(Otomo, Akira, 1982-1990)

wallpaper-1199740(Otomo, Akira, 1982-1990)

I realize that none of the images above were (A) “beautiful moments” or (B) from the film.  All of the above was from the Akira manga.  Let me amend this mistake:


(Akira film concept art, 1988)


(Akira film concept art, 1988)

large-akira1 tumblr_lsgvtqvNin1qbm6lio1_1280 0701

(Akira stills, 1988)

Ok, bragging time: I actually got to see some of the original cels used to make Akira.  They were part of an exhibit at the Toonseum, a terrific gallery/library in Pittsburgh dedicated to all things cartoon-related.

I’m not trying to be cute when I say that it was life-changing.  To see the craftsmanship that went into each frame of this enormous movie was really overwhelming.  And at the head of the entire hulking endeavor was one director: Katsuhiro Otomo.  The Man.

If you’re not feeling up to a 2-hour long venture into the depths of Otomo’s imagination, try Memories (1995), his trilogy of shorter animated films.  Magnetic Rose, from Memories, is an eerie exploration of human neediness, involving an opera singer- sorry if that spoils it.  I had to mention the opera singer because I put it in the title.

Otomo also directed a piece in the three-part anthology, Neo-Tokyo (1987), titled The Order To Stop Construction, as well as contributing to the much larger Robot Carnvial  (1987) anthology.

943610Cannon Fodder 2

(Memories, Cannon Fodder, 1995)


(Memories, Magnetic Rose, 1995)


(Memories, Magnetic Rose, 1995)


(Cannon Fodder, Concept Art)


(Memories, Cannon Fodder, 1995)


(Memories, Cannon Fodder, 1995)


(Neo-Tokyo, The Order To Stop Construction, 1987)

Between the manga and the mind-boggling animation, it’s easy to be impressed and inspired by Katsuhiro Otomo.

One thought on “Opera Singers and Psychic Children

  1. Pingback: Goodness Gracious! | Something's Out There

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s