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 Katsuhiro Otomo's Gengaten

The man behind the seminal work in Japanimation is back with a 3,000-piece exhibition of original artwork, a new short film, and plans for a new manga series.

In Japan, manga and anime are seemingly everywhere and all-encompassing — something grown men and women indulge in without a second thought. At 3331 Arts Chiyoda, a former junior high school turned art gallery near Akihabara Station, the man who defined these artforms for a generation of readers and viewers is front and center. Katsuhiro Otomo, the mind and hands behind Akira, is posing for photos with giggling, excited visitors. Otomo is here to unveil his Gengaten — an exhibition of 3,000 of the pieces he's produced over his 39 years as an illustrator; among them are the...

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Katsuhiro Otomo, the creator of Akira, is working on a new manga. It's set in the Meiji Era, it's a shonen manga, and it's his first long-form manga since his iconic Akira. [Japanator] More »

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Akira Club

I didn't know that this book existed until very recently.

Akira Club is actually the English version of the Japanese edition Akira club: The memory of Akira lives on in our hearts that was published in 1995.

This English edition is translated and published by Dark Horse in 2007. It's a 256 page hardcover.

The book is all on the Akira manga. There's nothing on the animated movie except for some designs drawn for the laserdisc release.

It collects illustrations, preliminary sketches, all the title pages from the manga, promotional art and rejected art that were unpublished. It's pretty cool looking back at the works that were published in 1982. They were still using halftone dots to create grays. The art is great, and you can see that Otomo is amazing at drawing rubble and scenes of urban destruction.

If you have the manga editions, then you've seen all the title pages. This book includes a few unpublished ones. Majority are in black and white, some of them are coloured but not sure if they were coloured by Steve Oliff or Otomo. The commentary that goes with the title pages aren't related in any way, but just short musings of Otomo on what was happening to him that day, like his birthday or attending a friend's wedding.

What I enjoyed reading is the design commentary, talking about why sequences are arranged in a certain way, why some scenes don't work and have to be redrawn, what's difficult to draw. Most are just afterthoughts. There wasn't any information on his drawing techniques or production process though. And since the book doesn't include the animated movie, it doesn't talk about the differences between the manga and the movie.

This book is more for the Akira manga fans and those who like Otomo's art.

Akira Club is available at Amazon (US | CA | UK | DE | FR | IT | JP) and Book Depository (US | UK).

Akira Club
Cover designs for volume 2 of the manga.

Akira Club
Cover designs for volume 4 of the manga.

Akira Club
Cover designs for the Akira animation laserdisc.

Akira Club
Illustrations for T-shirts.

Akira Club
Title pages for episodes 006 and 007.

Akira Club
Title pages for episodes 19-33.

Akira Club
Title-page collection. Some of the pages are coloured by Steve Oliff.

Akira Club
Title pages for episode 067 and 068

Akira Club
Rejected title pages

Akira Club
Horizontal train posters and vertical bookshop posters.

Akira Club
Making foreign editions of Akira. It's not just about flipping pages. Some scenes had to be redrawn.

Akira Club
Layout drafts

Akira Club
Arranging the sequence of panels for the mass destruction.

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This book is available at:
Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.de | Amazon.fr | Amazon.it | Amazon.co.jp | Bookdepository.com | Bookdepository.co.uk

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