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[AX19] Katsuhiro Otomo Confirms New 'Akira' Anime, 'Orbital Era' Movie

This weekend sees the annual Anime Expo (AX) convention take place in Los Angeles. Many of the big names in anime in the US and internationally, will be in attendance and a lot of announcements will be made. One of the major panels on the conventions opening day featured anime and manga legend (and new member of the Academy) Katsuhiro Otomo.

Otomo announced a couple of new projects and a new release of his most famous film. The first is a brand new feature Orbital Era that he is making with Sunrise. It will be just the third feature he has directed after Akira and Steamboy.  He is also contributing original designs and writing the screenplay. The film will take place in a space colony under construction. It will follow the lives of some young boys living on the colony and is described as an "action adventure". The film is currently in production.

The other announcements relate to his seminal work, Akira. Firstly, the original 1988 movie will be receiving a release with a brand new 4K remaster. The remaster will debut in Japan next Spring, with a US release to follow. Can a 4K Blu-Ray release be far behind?

Secondly, and most excitingly is the confirmation that Akira is getting a new anime project. Not a sequel (how would that work?) but a brand new adaptation. The anime movie was released some years before the manga even finished and could only feature a fraction of the story. Sunrise's new adaptation will be intended to tell the full story. It has been erroneously reported in some places that it has been announced as a TV series. In fact, the format has not been confirmed. It could be a TV series, or OAVS or even a movie series (similar to Ghost In The Shell ARISE).

Although this news has caught many people by surprise, the fact that this was coming was teased all the way back in 2016, when Otomo was a guest at French comic's festival Angouleme.  Most of the English speaking world missed it (because it was initially reported in French) but your ol' pals at AFA reported on it.  Back then, we even suggested "Could it even be planned to tie in with the 2020 Tokyo Olympics- an event which was predicted by the manga some 30 years earlier?" I mean, we weren't far off... The project is currently in development, and we think next year is probably too early- but hopefully before The Olympics roll around, we'll know more.

Finally in Akira related AX news. Funimation have announced they are releasing a replica of Kaneda's iconic jacket.