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Akira's Katsuhiro Otomo Reveals Orbital Era Film With Sunrise (Updated With Video)

posted on by Egan Loo
Sci-fi story centers on youths on space colony


Anime News Network's coverage of Anime Expo 2019 is sponsored by Yen Press.


Manga creator and anime director Katsuhiro Otomo announced at his Anime Expo panel on Thursday that he is making the film Orbital Rise with Sunrise. Otomo's third feature film (after Akira and Steamboy) is in production now. The director said that the space science-fiction story follows the coming of age of youths on a space colony over the course of four seasons of the year.

Motoki Mukaichi, a producer with the Japanese film distributor Shochiku, was one of the guests at Otomo's panel. Mukaichi noted the irony that the main character is American, but his helmet in the teaser image features the CCCP logo from the Soviet Union. Otomo added that although the story is set in the future, instead of rooting it in real science, the story will have more of a fantasy element.

Otomo presented a concept art of the space colony and a rough character design of the main character at at the panel.

Otomo previously worked with Sunrise on his Gundam: Mission to the Rise, Freedom, Hipira: The Little Vampire, and Short Peace anime projects.

Otomo began his career as a manga creator on such works as Domu, Kibun wa mō Sensō, and his most famous title internationally, Akira. He then branched into animation by directing part of the Robot Carnival omnibus and a feature film adaptation of his own Akira story. He directed other anime projects such as the Memories omnibus, the Gundam: Mission to the Rise event short, and the Steamboy feature. He also collaborated on Harmagedon, Roujin Z, Spriggan, Metropolis, Freedom Project and Hipira: The Little Vampire.

Update: Otomo is credited for the original work and the design works for the film, and he is also writing the screenplay and directing the film. Sunrise describes the film:

The plot takes place in the near-future on a space colony under construction. It is an action-adventure story following the lives of some young boys surviving in this peculiar environment and society as they are tossed around by fate. “The reality found in mankind's future” will be depicted through their perspective.

Sunrise has also revealed the first full key visual, drawn by Otomo.

Sources: Katsuhiro Otomo Anime Expo panel, press release


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