Q: In one interview, one of your editors said “In the scene in Akira with the Neo Tokyo explosion, he used a massive amount of crosshatching to depict the volume of the sphere and the way the light hit it. I suggested that painting it straight black, then drawing in white lines would be quicker and easier, but he got angry at me and said he couldn’t do that; not with the millions of people dying inside the sphere.” I think that really shows the relationship you have with your art.

OTOMO: I spent an entire evening gradually blackening that sphere with really thin lines. The editor was pretty alarmed when he saw it, what with all the time it took. But—while you can’t see it since it’s a full-view depiction of the blast—there are millions of lives being lost in this panel. If I wanted readers to sense realism in the scene and feel just how significant this event was, that work spent covering it up in detailed black lines was indispensable.

dang. yeah. otomo is such a cool dude