This month Takarajima (宝島) magazine features an cover illustration by Katsuhiro Otomo (大友克洋) who has recently directed World Apartment Horror (ワールド アパートメント ホラー), a live action film based on the Manga written by him and drawn by Satoshi Kon (今 敏). The magazine features interviews and comments about comics and cinema by Otomo and others. The cover illustration is collected in Otomo katsuhiro's ARTWORK book KABA.
INTERVIEW by Mayumi Mitome
EVERYTHING YOU ALWAYS WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT KATSUHIRO OTOMO, BY KATSUHIRO OTOMO.
(Interview ahead of the release of the film World Apartment Horror)
●So when you draw manga, do you think about the style of each frame?
No, although I did for a time in my earlier days. Say a low angle like Yasujiro Ozu, or Tai Kato ... but you always imagine you'll try that sort of thing, then end up not doing it. These days they even manage that much on TV, don't they? I watch a lot, so I've lost track of what's what (laughs).
●In your manga one even senses effects like slow motion, and the gaps between cuts.
I guess lt's because in my own way, I've studied just what films are, the shift from one cut to another and suchlike. Read the books of Akira Iwasaki. Studied Eisenstein's composition etc. Thus I've picked up that stuff in quite some detail. In brief, a movie is a story that runs for at the most an hour-and-a-half to two hours. It has around a thousand cuts, I suppose. None of which can be left out, of course. Each one is significant in its own way; each scene has a theme. It's almost as if I somehow remember that sort of thing in my bones, unconsciously. Film fans seem to have that ability. The '70s were a strange time really, weren't they, what with hippies, and New Cinema and so on. There was this sense of tearing down established things. But that gradually changed. There's an American director by the name of Frank Capra, you may recall. I began to take a greater and greater interest in Capra's work. People like that shoot films in a really orthodox manner. With happy endings I mean. We'd only ever watched the stuff that'd been dismantled. Seeing things before they were destroyed, it struck me that hang on, there's no need to break everything down quite so much (laughs). Even here in Japan we had New Wave cinema courtesy of Shochiku. Thinking about it now, Yasujiro Ozu was a great deal more radical. The same could be said for the likes of Spielberg and Lucas. There's something atavistic about it all. People watch a film then afterwards have a few drinks and discuss it, don't they? All trotting out their opinions, me included (laughs). Too much of that though gradually starts to pall. Next thing you're talking about making a film yourself.
●Your manga are thus quite cinematic, but is film production a different sort of challenge?
Totally. If it were the same it'd be boring. I'm not smart enough to do it as easily (laughs). That realty hit home when I was making Jiyu wo Warera ni. In one fell swoop I learned that you can never shoot something exactly the way you want it (laughs). That was quite an education, I must say. I drew the storyboards and went to animation studio. Of course you have this vision in your head of the visuals. Then you go to where they're actually doing the animation and find yourself thinking hang on, this isn't what I meant (laughs)! Looking through the lens I realised that it is completely different. Which is why I didn't do any drawings this time, because I knew I'd be disappointed (laughs).