The modern animated films of Katsuhiro Otomo, some of the most expensive anime ever made, won’t cost a thing to watch.

Manga artist Katsuhiro Otomo isn’t the most prolific creator, since there are only so many titles you can produce when you not only draw and write your comics, but often handle directing duties for their anime adaptations too. He is, though, without question, one of the most respected and influential people to have ever worked in the anime/manga industry.

While the Otomo-directed Akira is widely considered his masterpiece, he’s directed, in whole or in part, three other animated films since Akira exploded onto Japanese movie screens in 1988, and now all four will be free to watch online.

The films will be made available in a staggered rollout on Japanese video streaming site Abema, with each free for one week. Leading the way, naturally, is post-apocalyptic psycho-thriller Akira, which becomes available for viewing here from 9 p.m. on Sunday, May 3.

Switching gears from cyberpunk to steampunk, 2004’s Steam Boy, the only full-length theatrical anime feature entirely directed by Otomo other than Akira, starts streaming here at 9 p.m. on May 10.

This is followed by the most recent Otomo anime, 2013’s Short Peace, a four-segment anthology film based on Otomo’s manga project of the same name from 1979, and for which Otomo personally directed the portion “Combustible” (Short Peace begins streaming here at 9 p.m. on May 17).

Last, the release order jumps backwards in time to 1995 for Memories. The first post-Akira Otomo anime, Memories is also as adaptation of a collection of Otomo short manga, this time consisting of three parts, with Otomo directing the surreal story of towns at war called “Cannon Fodder” (Memories begins streaming here at 9 p.m. on May 24).

While the staggered release schedule means you won’t be able to spend an entire day binge-watching, Otomo’s anime are invariably lavishly animated and thematically dense, and the sort of thing best appreciated by giving what you’ve just watched some time to stew in your brain before moving on to something else. And if a whole week is still too long for you to wait, you can always alternate Otomo movies with the streaming-for-free Evangelion films and Sailor Moon episodes.

Source: Comic Natalie
Top image: YouTube/ABEMA アニメ【公式】
Insert images: Abema (1, 2, 3, 4)
● Want to hear about SoraNews24’s latest articles as soon as they’re published? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!

Follow Casey on Twitter, where yes, he knows that Otomo also directed portions of Labyrinth Tales and Robot Carnival.