New Otomo

I am of course, beyond excited for Katsuhiro Otomo’s new projects.

I was definitely disappointed with Steamboy. A new Akira project from Akira’s father can only be amazing. I don’t think cyberpunk gets any better than this masterpiece of a universe.

Now what strikes me is again Japan’s ability to set things up. Here’s the official plot of his new movie called Orbital Era:

The plot takes place in the near-future on a space colony under construction. It is an action-adventure story following the lives of some 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.

Japanese sci-fi loves near-future because it makes it so much more relatable. Without pictures or sound, we can immediately start up our imagination engines.

Space colony is simple, yet genius because it’s not only relatable –we have the ISS- but it makes sense that we create space colonies before going to Mars or further away. It’s just de facto much more coherent than sci-fi that starts somewhere with humans already doing whatever they want on a hostile planet or the very hostile empty space. A space colony setting creates a strong continuation of what we have in the world right now and makes it immediately, again, relatable. Or very interesting.

Under-construction. That is also kind of genius. That theme “modifier” is obviously relatable because everything is under-construction, all the time, everywhere on earth. We constantly build or fix things. But also in the space colony context, it creates beautiful freedom in terms of plot, universe etc.

Are humans happy in those fake metal worlds that are never done? What do you see when you go to the edge of such a colony? What kind of society, what kind of values are driving people in a finite world with probably a lot of restrictions? There’s a sense of care, fragility and nostalgia underlying this setting described in a few sentences. I fucking love this.

Most games and action movies plots are so phony compared to this, it’s embarrassing. They all have the “some bad aliens/relics/resource” trope and think they’re really cool.

This one can go in any direction –drama, comedy, romantic, pure action- and be awesome.

It probably will. Can’t wait. Hopefully not for ten years though, take your time, Katsuhiro Otomo.

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