Akira Creator Katsuhiro Otomo Cites Ashita no Joe Creator as Influence

posted on by Kim Morrissy
Otomo also had some criticism for modern manga in a recent interview in Big Comic magazine

Katsuhiro Otomo was interviewed in Big Comic Issue 22, where he shared his early memories of Big Comic as well as the surprising influence fellow manga creator Tetsuya Chiba had on him.

Tetsuya Chiba is best known for drawing the classic boxing manga Ashita no Joe, which was the inspiration behind the 2018 anime series MEGALOBOX. Otomo said that Chiba was an even bigger influence on him than Osamu Tezuka and Shotaro Ishinomori, who are normally cited as the fathers of modern manga.

"Around the time I was drawing Domu, I was trying to work out the 'grammar' of manga," Otomo said. "One day, I was flipping through a Big Comic magazine at a soba shop in Kichijoji when I came across [Tetsuya Chiba's] Notari Matsutaro. And I thought, 'I've found it!' I felt like the pacing was just like the style I was going for. I studied his works quite a lot out of admiration."

Otomo further expounded on the greatness of Chiba's manga: "Above all, Chiba's manga is excellent at framing. Both the backgrounds and the characters within them feel grounded. It's easy to grasp how tangible they are from the way they're drawn.

"When I read manga these days, there are a lot of times I can't grasp what the characters are doing and where they're doing it. The drawings may look cool, but they bring you too close to the characters, and there's no thought about how to make it easy for the reader to grasp. Chiba makes sure to bring the reader out of it. When you present the story with impartiality, it adds to the scope of it, and it makes things more interesting."

Otomo spoke to Big Comic as part of the "Talk About Big Comic" interview series, where famous manga artists share their thoughts and feelings about Big Comic in the wake of the magazine's 50th anniversary. In the same interview, Otomo revealed that he is working on a new full-length manga, but can't share details yet.

Source: Big Comic Issue 22

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