Hipira written by Katsuhiro Otomo & illustrated by Shinji Kimura
(first published in 2002 by DH Press, prices vary, U.S. import, out now)
After having read Otomo’s amazing Domu, I did a bit of research and discovered this little oddity (and happened to pick it up for a bargain price online…). Welcome to the wonderful world of Hipira, written by Akira legend Katsuhiro Otomo (just on story duties here) and beautifully illustrated by Shinji Kimura (a veteran artist whose credits include Studio Ghibli’s My Neighbour Totoro). It is ostensibly a children’s picture book and is quite the weird delight. Kimura met Otomo whilst working on the latter’s Steamboy anime feature as a production artist. You can see why Otomo liked Kimura; his artwork is stunning, rendering Otomo’s peculiar tale of a little vampire’s search for friendship all the more obscure. There are five short tales within, and you get the vibe that perhaps the creative pair were testing the water for a potential series. And Hipira was actually turned into a five part anime series in 2009. A series of children’s books would, however, go down a treat, so here’s hoping.
If you can find a copy, it is a deluxe must-have.
Andy Jamieson, Editor