4 Best Anime Movies Directed by Katsuhiro Otomo


Katsuhiro Otomo is one of the most influential manga artists and animation directors in Japan especially in the 1980s. His masterpiece Akira has made Japanese manga and anime famous worldwide since the renowned anime movie was released in 1988.

For fans of Akira and other sci-fi or cyberpunk animations, here are best anime directed by Katsuhiro Otomo ever. If you have watched only Akira, you shouldn’t miss other works by Katsuhiro Otomo!

(Photo on top: ©1988マッシュルーム/アキラ製作委員会)

Katsuhiro Otomo

Katsuhiro Otomo (大友克洋) is a Japanese manga artist and anime director made his debut with his first manga Fireball on a long-published manga magazine Manga Action in 1973. He started the serialization of Akira on Weekly Young Magazine from 1982, which came to the end in 1993.

An anime movie adaption of Akira was directed by himself in 1988, which has popularized Japanese anime and him all over the world. Following the outstanding work, he directed the next full-length anime movie Steamboy in 2004.

In 2014, his first exhibition Otomo Katsuhiro Exhibition was held in Tokyo, implementing reconstruction assistance for the aftermath of the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, where about 3000 drawings are displayed. At Anime Expo 2019, some news were unveiled: a new anime movie Orbital Era and a rebuild of Akira.

1. Akira

Akira, the masterpiece of Katsuhiro Otomo, was originally made as a manga written by Katsuhiro Otomo. It was adapted into the anime movie released in 1988. The manga series had not completed yet at that time, so the anime movie was based on the 3 volumes that had been published by 1988 with the climax story exactly different from that of the manga.

The setting is Neo Tokyo in 2019, where Tokyo is destroyed due to the outbreak of WWIII. There are two main characters in Akira: a leader of the Bosozoku group (Japanese biker gang) named Shotaro Kaneda and his childhood friend Tetsuo Shima. The story unfolds first when Tetsuo gains a supernatural power after a motorcycle accident.

2. Steamboy

Steamboy (スチームボーイ) is the second full-length anime movie directed by Katsuhiro Otomo following the previous work Akira. The science fiction anime movie was released in Japan in 2004 and in the United Stated in 2005.

Steamboy is in United Kingdom in the mid 19th century with the industrial revolution. A 13-year-old boy Ray gets involved in the serious incidents when he receives Steam Balls from his grandfather Lloyd.

3. Memories

As an executive producer, Katsuhiro Otomo created a 3-short-story anthology anime film Memories in 1995. It was based on his short manga consisting of Magnetic Rose (彼女の想いで), Stink Bomb (最臭兵器) and Cannon Fodder (大砲の街) that was directed by him.

The three short anime movies depict the sci-fi worlds set in a futuristic space, Japan and a fictional armed city.

4. Freedom

Freedom is not exactly directed and partly committed by Katsuhiro Otomo who is in charge of character designs. The sci-fi anime series was created between 2006 and 2008 as a promotion for Nissin Cup Noodles, which consists of 7 episodes.

The setting of Freedom is the 23rd century, when people move to the moon. It follows a 15-year-old boy named Takeru, who has a doubt about the government’s claim that the earth is radioactively contaminated. He searches a way to reach the earth to discover the truth with his friends Kazuma and Bismarck.

For more best anime directed by famous anime directors, check these lists below!

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