Watch “Akira” Director Katsuhiro Otomo’s Short Film “Combustible”

Anime classic Akira might be the film Katsuhiro Otomo is still best known for, but for decades the writer/director has been slowly cranking out films like 2004’s Steamboy and cult anthology Memories. His newest work, Combustible, is a short film that tackles an unexplored topic for him: period romance. Set in Japan’s Edo era, the film follows Matsukichi and Okawa, two childhood friends who live next door to each other. As adults, Matsukichi is disowned by his father after getting a tattoo and joining the fire brigade (the horror!), while Okawa is forced into a loveless marriage arranged by her family. Desperate to be with Matsukichi, Okawa does something dramatic to get her man back. It’s a classic tragic love story.

Before you press play, remember to turn the closed captions on and set the translation to English. The subtitles are a little shoddy, but there’s not much dialogue anyway. The best thing about Combustible are the visuals, which are inspired by traditional woodblock prints and period fabrics.

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