Prolific manga author and director Katsuhiro Otomo announced a new anime film titled Orbital Era at his Anime Expo panel on Thursday. The title marks Otomo's third feature anime film as a director, following Akira and Steamboy.
Orbital Era is set in the near-future on a space colony under construction. The film features a coming-of-age action-adventure story following the lives of 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.
The story will take place over four seasons in the space colony. The characters relationships will unfold over these seasons. Otomo noted that the film is set in the future, but instead of being rooted in science fiction, the story will skew more toward fantasy.
The film is being produced by animation studio Sunrise. Otomo is credited for original concept, screenplay, design works, and direction. A key visual (pictured) drawn by Otomo and a teaser promotional video were also previewed during the project presentation.
The panel also revealed that a new anime adaptation for Otomo's highly acclaimed post-apocalyptic cyberpunk manga series Akira is in production. The series was serialized in Kodansha's Weekly Young Magazine from 1982 to 1990 and inspired an anime film in 1988. Akira won the 8th Kodansha Manga Award in general category in 1984 and the Eisner Award for the Best U.S. Edition of Foreign Material in 2000.
The 1988 anime film will receive a 4K remaster in Japan in early 2020. Bandai Namco Arts will ship the remaster on Blu-ray on April 24 next year. The remaster will also screen in the United States theaters.
Furthermore, the panel announced that Kodansha will release Otomo: The Complete Works, a collection of Otomo's published works since his manga artist debut in 1971. Otomo will personally edit and organize the retrospective with the goal of publishing a fresh collection of works, through which fans can trace the trajectory of his ideas and creations as far back as the birth of his creative career. Details regarding the release of the collection will be announced at a later time.
Otomo became a household name in the West after the release of Akira. Since then, he's worked as an artist, director, and screenwriter for anime, creating a number of original works while continuing his work as a manga illustrator and writer.