Akira creator Katsuhiro Otomo’s sprawling mural will soon welcome travelers at Sendai Airport

l_rmfig178-13

RocketNews 24:

Surely any list of Japan’s greatest animators and directors must include Katsuhiro Otomo, the man behind the likes of Akira, Domu, and Steamboy. Otomo’s distinctive mix of neo-futurism, cyberpunk, and dark humor has earned him both a legion of fans and numerous accolades throughout the world.

We mentioned in a previous article that Otomo would be designing a giant mural for Tohoku’s Sendai Airport. Now it looks like the wait is almost over. The 12-ton mural, which depicts a squat, bespectacled boy sitting astride a cybernetic carp flanked by the gods of wind and lightning, will be unveiled on March 12, one day after the fourth anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake.

Working off Otomo’s original illustration, CREARE Atami-Yugawara Studio fired 451 individual clay parts to produce the final product. At 2.8 meters high and 8.7 meters wide, the relief will no doubt make even the busiest traveller stop and marvel at its sheer size and artistry.

▼ A look at the design process

Screen Shot 2015-02-06 at 10.49.27 PM

▼ This thing really is quite spectacular

Screen Shot 2015-02-06 at 2.15.58 PM

Fans of Otomo’s work will recognize some of his visual motifs in the form of the cybernetic carp. Equally striking is the expression of defiance on the young rider’s face–a tribute to the people of Miyagi Prefecture, which suffered extensive damage in the 2011 tsunami and earthquake.

Regarding his motivations behind the project, Otomo was recently quoted as saying: “I hope it will spark children’s interest and serve as an opportunity for them to discuss the Great East Japan Earthquake and its aftermath with their parents.”

Travelers within Japan might soon be making a point of passing through Sendai Airport, if only to catch a glimpse of the impressive mural.

Shohei Otomo brings the gritty side of Japan to vivid life with a mere ballpoint pen

RocketNews 24:

Shohei Otomo can sometimes be found simply under the working name “Shohei.” That might possibly have been an effort to downplay his heritage, because when your father is responsible for some of the most influential manga and anime ever it can be hard to get looked at as an individual.

However, outside of a certain degree of edginess and high degree of Akira and Domu,creator Katsuhiro Otomo and his son each stand alone with their respective arts. Shohei has the unique gift of creating a provocative illustration using only a ballpoint with such a level of detail and texture that you can get lost in them.

He’s posted a series of time-lapse YouTube videos showing him at his craft which is a spectacle almost as impressive as the drawings themselves.

The characters he creates all have a blend of realism and comic-book aesthetics that make them look capable of either something hideous and gritty or something magical and surreal. Cops with gnarled faces and rocket-powered geisha are but a few of his beautifully textured and shaded works.

They’re so deeply detailed that it’d be hard to believe that he did all of it with ballpoint pens alone. He probably figured that too, which might be why Shohei has several videos showing him at work in high-speed. Here are a few.