Katsuhiro Otomo doesn’t make films very often, so when he announces a new one, it counts as an event. Following the epochal Akira (1988) and Steamboy (2004), the manga master-turned-anime auteur is at work on his third feature, Orbital Era, which he will write, design, and direct. This was one of a slate of projects Otomo and his colleagues announced on Thursday at LA’s Anime Expo.
Orbital Era is being produced by Sunrise, with which Otomo previously collaborated on a number of projects, including Steamboy and his contribution to the anthology work Short Peace. The studio describes the new feature as follows:
“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.”
Intriguingly, the story is said to follow American characters, but the astronaut in the teaser (see below) is wearing a USSR helmet.