Best known as the creator of Akira, as mangaka to the manga and director of the animated movie, Katsuhiro Otomo is a man of many hats. As a director, his other works include such hits as Steamboy and Mushishi (live-action). On top of his professions of mangaka and director, Otomo-sensei is also a screenwriter. having written the screenplays for the mentioned films, along with the screenplay for Metropolis.
Otomo-sensei created two notable manga in his career: Domu and Akira. They both share similar themes and characteristics. A common element between these two series are the elements of children with ESP, or extrasensory perception. These espers have great power but are young, either physically, mentally, or both. Through the use of these powers, a great many are often killed in crude and gore-filled manners.
No doubt, influenced by his work in his degree in architecture, the backgrounds depicted in sensei’s manga are very detailed and contain a complexity not often found. Why is the background of a manga significant? Simply because the reader’s eyes takes in the entire panel—background, foreground and all. When mangaka skimp on the background, the reader’s enjoyment suffers; a good background helps set the tone of the panel, gives hints to the plot, and relays emotion to the reader.
Otomo-sensei’s notable works:
“A twisted old man, gifted with extrasensory powers, silently holds sway over an entire block of apartments. The occupants are puppets for him to control. Life is his to give…and to take. But suddenly there is a new voice in his head, and before he knows it, a young girl with her own battery of psychic abilities has arrived to challenge him! Soon, the sprawling complex becomes a battleground between two minds possessing incredible, unimaginable power.
Winner of Japan’s Science Fiction Grand Prix award, the first graphic novel ever awarded such an honor, Domu comes from the boundless imagination of Katsuhiro Otomo, renowned creator of the internationally acclaimed graphic-fiction epic, Akira. A work of rare strength, Domu is both visually stunning and emotionally gripping, a terrifying tale of the paranormal set amongst the human isolation of modern urban life.“ -Dark Horse
Genre(s): Horror Psychological Seinen Supernatural
“Akira is set in the post-apocalypse Neo-Tokyo of 2030, a vast metropolis built on the ashes of a Tokyo annihilated by an apocalyptic blast of unknown power that triggered World War III. The lives of two streetwise teenage friends, Tetsuo and Kaneda, change forever when dormant paranormal abilities begin to waken in Tetsuo, who becomes a target for a shadowy government operation, a group who will stop at nothing to prevent another catastrophe like that which leveled Tokyo. And at the core of their motivation is a raw, all-consuming fear: a fear of someone — or something — of unthinkably monstrous power known only as…Akira.
This series has won a great deal of recognition in the industry, including the 1984 Kodansha Manga Award for best general manga. It was also nominated for the Harvey Award for Best Graphic Album of Previously Published Work in 2002.
Won the Best U.S. Edition of International Material for the Eisner Award in 2002.” -Dark Horse
Genre(s): Action Adventure Drama Mature Psychological Sci-fi Seinen Tragedy