Monday, November 5, 2012

Platform International Animation Festival Katsuhiro Otomo Interview

Originally posted by Justin Sevakis, Nov 5th 2012 @


At the Platform International Animation Festival in Los Angeles, Anime News Network had a chance to sit down with legendary director and manga artist Katsuhiro Otomo and ask him a few questions over breakfast.

I wanted to jump right in and ask about your new project that’s going to be starting in Weekly Shonen Sunday. What made you decide to do something for younger audiences?

Actually it’s not decided yet if I’m going to go in Shonen Sunday or not. I’ve been targeting the younger generation since the beginning. Now it seems like as the project is getting more geared towards older audiences. So I’m still considering whether to go with Weekly Shonen Sunday or not.

I see. Is there a rough plan/timeframe for when it will be launched?

Well, actually, it WAS planned to launch this autumn. (laughs) Please don’t ask.

There was one magazine that mentioned that you were actually doing everything yourself without assistance; is that true?


That sounds really tough.

Yes, that’s why it’s taking some time. (laughs)

Moving on to older projects: many of my favorite of your works, such as Roujin Z and The Order to Stop Construction, are satire, a rarity in anime and manga. I was wondering if satire was something you find yourself gravitating towards.

That’s totally depends on the basic idea, itself. Sometimes I get inspiration from the politics, but sometimes I get into more fantasy. Not everything in current events makes for a good story — for example, we had a big earthquake two years ago in Japan. I was very shocked, but despite everything that happened, I’m not convinced anyone will be able to make a good work of fiction out of it. Some artists have already started drawing, but they’ve stuck mostly to accounts of what actually happened in Japan.

Lots of veteran anime creators have talked a bit about the future of anime and manga in Japan and worried about the future. Is that something you think a lot about?

Yeah, I think it’s getting harder and harder to become a director in Japan. Maybe some of the difficulties in the business sphere are coming from the earthquake, and everything else going on there. It’s not easy to get sponsors from the corporate world for creating animation these days.

Is there any hope, are you finding any bright spots in the industry?

Well, in spite of all the difficulties, the animators in Japan are all working hard and doing their best, so there’s hope in that. Beyond that, I don’t pay much attention to the trendy side of the business, so I’m really not the guy to ask.

So, talking about your new work, Combustible, its theme is clearly two young people who are trapped in their society, and their attempts to break free from that trap. What inspired that theme?

The basic theme of the storyline is fairly typical of old Japanese literature, called kabuki or joruri. For example, the story of Yaoya Oshichi is, more or less, the same basic story as Combustible. I wanted to take that old theme that we used to have in Japan 300 years ago, and describe with recent technologies, in anime form.

Read the rest of the interview at http://www.animenews … hiro-otomo-interview