WFAC - Waterloo Festival For Animated Cinema 2004 - October 27 - 30, 2004


2004 - Japan - 110 mins
Japanese language dialogue with English subtitles
Rated 14A (Adult accompaniment if under 14 years of age)
© 2004, Sony Pictures Entertainment / Steamboy Committee
Official website: Japanese English
Movie trailers: Japanese English
Presented by Gemini Jetpack


Otomo Katsuhiro


Steamboy Committee and Studio 4°C


A decade in the making - a record budget of 2.4 billion yen, 180,000 cels (1.5 times as many as in Miyazaki's Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi (Spirited Away), and wonderful imagination have resulted in a lavish, epic film worthy of director Otomo Katsuhiro. Animation fans have long been waiting for Mr. Otomo's work, after his first film Akira pushed Japanese animation onto the world stage.

Turning away from the dark vision of the future that permeated Akira, Otomo brings us into a re-imagined steampunk past, combining the enthusiasm and hope of the industrial age with modern caution. Set in a different 19th century of archaic as well as wonderous technologies, Steamboy follows the adventures of a young inventor who is entrusted by his grandfather with a marvellous invention called the Steamball, shortly before the first-ever World Expo. The Steamball promises a vast supply of clean power, and could change history forever... exactly why the secretive Ohara Foundation wants it for their own nefarious purposes.

Profile: Director Otomo Katsuhiro

Born in 1954 in Miyagi, Japan. He grew up there and attended Sanuma High School, which would not be notable if not for the strange coincidence that this high school seems blessed with an abundance of prominent mangaka among its alumni. It was at high school that Otomo became fascinated with films, especially American films of the era which captured brilliantly the social upheavals and youthful rebellions of the day. The impact of these films on Otomo can be seen in his later work.

After graduation, Otomo moved to Tokyo with the goal of becoming a mangaka. Beginning with an adaptation of Prosper Merimee's novella Mateo Falcone, he soon developed an interest in science fiction, and established a deep following among high school and university students impressed by his visual style. His 1980 manga Domu would become the first manga work to win the prestigious Japan SF Grand Prix in 1983. Encouraged by his success, he would go on to create Akira, which needs no introduction. The impact that Akira has had is immeasurable, contributing greatly to world recognition of manga, games and anime as distinct Japanese culture. After the phenomenal success of the film Akira, Otomo has not made a second film, though he has remained active in the animation industry in other aspects, guiding other prominent projects such as Roujin Z (1991), Memories (1995), Perfect Blue (1997) and Metropolis (2001).

Festival participation

2004 Festival de Cannes, Cannes, France
2004 Toronto International Film Festival, Toronto, Canada

Distributor / World Sales Agent

Sony Pictures Entertainment / Columbia TriStar