An Interview with Katsuhiro Otomo
Salvaged from the mid-1990s.
Welcome back! In this Thursday edition of the Animation Obsessive newsletter, we’re publishing a long interview with Katsuhiro Otomo (Akira) done in the mid-1990s. To our knowledge, it’s never appeared in English before.
The interview comes from an out-of-print Japanese book called The Memory of Memories (1996). We imported it to write about Magnetic Rose and Cannon Fodder from Otomo’s Memories anthology. In the process, we were lucky enough to get the enormous translation help of Toadette, the animation historian.
We covered Magnetic Rose this past July and Cannon Fodder last month — both were exciting to publish. But we have lots and lots of extra material lying around. Probably the biggest is a seven-page interview with Otomo from the front of The Memory of Memories, a free-wheeling discussion about the anthology, the state of anime, the rise of computers and more.
This is a snapshot in time. Otomo didn’t just share behind-the-scenes details (although there are plenty of those). As a veteran of the ‘80s anime industry, he was watching when animation first went digital, and talking about it at length. In particular, he fixated on a screening of three films (Memories, Ghost in the Shell, Macross Plus) that he caught at a festival in 1995. To him, that screening represented the future.
For today’s issue, we’ve retrieved the translated files that Toadette sent us, done a little copyediting and compiled it all here. Now, we present the interview in full — with most of the artwork that originally appeared alongside it. Here we go!