Art & Design

Talk: Anime Architecture: Backgrounds of Japan

1 June 2017, London

The House of Illustration is hosting the UK’s first ever exhibition of handmade background illustrations for classic sci-fi anime films. It will feature drawings and paintings from some of the most influential productions in the genre’s 1990s heyday, including Production I.G’s phenomenally influential 1995 film Ghost in the Shell. This collection of artists, who share an interest in presenting convincing visions of future worlds, have had a defining influence on the style of anime we think of as typical today.


The show will include Hiromasa Ogura’s watercolour paintings for Ghost in the Shell, an anime epic that informed pioneering sci-fi works such as The Matrix and Avatar. Inspired by Asia’s emerging megacities and based on photographs of Hong Kong, Ogura’s work depicts the striking contrast between a derelict Chinese town and ruthless urban development.


Pencil drawings by Takashi Watabe – one of the most important Japanese illustrators of his generation – for 2008’s sequel Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence will also feature. His meticulously realistic style has become a hallmark of Japanese anime films as a whole. The exhibition will also include work from Patlabor: The Movie (1989) and Metropolis(2001), by Mamoru Oshii and Atsushi Takeuchi.


Since the success of Akira (1988) and Ghost in the Shell, Japanese anime films have been at the heart of global pop culture. A live action remake of Ghost in the Shell starring Scarlett Johansson is released on 31 March 2017.


House of Illustration curator Olivia Ahmad, will be joined in conversation by Anime Architecture’s curator and writer Stefan Riekeles and Helen McCarthy, author of The Anime Encyclopaedia, Anime: A Beginner’s Guide and A Brief History of Manga.


This event is being held in collaboration with House of Illustration. Anime Architecture: Backgrounds of Japan runs from 25 May to 10 September 2017 at House of Illuustration, 2 Granary Square, King’s Cross, London, N1C 4BH.



Free but booking is essential at

1 June 2017, 6:00pm

Daiwa Foundation Japan House, 13/14 Cornwall Terrace, London NW1 4QP UK

Tel: 020 7486 4348 Fax: 020 7486 2914

Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation, House of Illustration