I’ve been interested in Japan for as long as I can remember. My dad lived and worked in Osaka as a young man, and I guess his tales of temples and tempura rubbed off on my subconscious. This, combined with a penpal in Saitama, sparked a curiosity that has grown with me ever since. It wasn’t, however, until I was about 13 that I fully decided that I wanted to live in Japan someday. And the reason? Seeing Akira for the very first time.
To this day, the film’s nighttime bike scene through Neo Tokyo is one of my favourite moments in cinematic history. So it seems rather fitting that as I was walking about Tokyo one night last week I spotted a poster advertising the first ever exhibition of Katsuhiro Otomo’s work: 2,300 original hand-drawn designs from the Akira series, as well as his newest illustrations. It’s as if I’ve come full circle: from trying to draw and copy his work as a kid, to now being able to see it for myself. It’s a nice feeling. Can’t wait.