There's a New 'Akira' on the Way From Creator Katsuhiro Otomo

Legendary manga artist and anime director Katsuhiro Otomo has just announced two new projects, and one of them involves a brand new 'Akira.'


Image via Getty/Georges Gobet


Legendary manga artist and anime director Katsuhiro Otomo has just announced two new projects, and one of them involves a brand new Akira. While Hollywood chisels away at Taika Waititi's live-action adaptation of the '80s manga series and 1988 film Akira, Otomo has revealed he'll be revisiting his most iconic work with a new anime.

Otomo, who wrote and illustrated the manga series and directed and wrote the subsequent anime adaptation, appeared at Anime Expo in Los Angeles to share the news with fans. Sunrise Inc. will produce the project, and it's expected to take the form of an animated series rather than a film. The new Akira will be a more expansive adaptation of the manga series than the film, which was released before the manga had reached its conclusion in 1990. The film also seriously condensed the content of the series, although only 87 out of 120 chapters of the manga were finished at the time Akira hit theaters.

Otomo’s new film is called Orbital Era. It’s his 3rd feature film. It’s a “coming of age story” set in a space station. The opening scene was a skateboard floating in space to reveal a huge space station. #ax2019

— Deb Aoki (@debaoki) July 5, 2019

Otomo has revealed he'll be on board as a writer, but it's currently unclear as to whether he will direct. He did, however, announce he's directing his third animated feature film, Orbital Era, a sci-fi action-adventure set in space that Otomo has described as "a coming of story." 

So they just announced;

- A complete chronological, uncensored and oversized reprint of Otomo's pre-Akira manga for the first time in English
- AKIRA TV series by Sunrise
- AKIRA 4k restoration
- And a brand new film called ORBITAL ERA on top of all this

My mind can't take this

— Eoin Marron (@eoinmarron) July 5, 2019

To coincide with the announcement, a short teaser was shared. Otomo previously directed the aforementioned Akira in 1988 as well as Steamboy in 2004. He's also contributed segments to a number of anthology films, including Neo TokyoRobot CarnivalMemories, and Short Peace. There's is currently no scheduled release date for Orbital Era.

The original Akira film will also get a 4K remaster next year, with a Japanese release scheduled for April and a U.S. release later down the line. Publisher Kodansha has announced that they will publishing an extensive collection of all of Otomo's manga works since his debut in 1971 entitled Complete Works Project

Otomo's Akira was initially a flop when it was first released, but has since gone on to become a cult classic that can count Kanye West among its many fans.

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