Fireball is an unfinished SF manga by Katsuhiro Otomo, created for Action Deluxe magazine and published in 1979. It is notable for establishing ground Otomo would later explore successfully in Domu and his best-known work Akira.


The governance of a futuristic city is secretly handled by a cognizant supercomputer called ATOM, and publicly by a ruthless female Director whom ATOM refers to as "Mama". A group of freedom fighters attempt to expose and sabotage the system.

One of the freedom fighters has an elder brother, with whom he has lost contact, who works for the Director's riot police. This elder brother possesses moderate psychic abilities such as the power to briefly levitate a pen. The Director learns of this and recruits the nascent psychic for an 'experiment' which entails connecting his brain and nervous system to ATOM, stripping away much of his body in the process. Throughout this the subject is seen to inhabit a blissful womblike existence from his perspective.

The freedom fighter brother attempts to infiltrate the government base but is shot by security. Sensing this, the psychic brother wakes from anesthetic and uses his powers to superheat his surroundings and levitate the remnants of his physical body from the workbench, effectively becoming the centre of a vengeful destructive sun: the 'Fireball' of the story's title.

Unfinished status

Otomo claimed to grow weary of the story "after about page 20" [1] and conceived the plot of Domu as a potentially stronger work retaining the theme of psychic superpowers [2]. He later expanded the psychic element and that of freedom fighters in his epic Akira [3].

English reprints


Script error

  1. Memories - The Collection Mandarin Press (English translation) - Fireball introduction by Katsuhiro Otomo
  2. ibid
  3. ibid

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