London’s House of Illustration lands “Anime Architecture: Backgrounds of Japan” Exhibition

A Hiromasa Ogura watercolour painting for the Ghost in the Shell anime
A Hiromasa Ogura watercolour painting for the Ghost in the Shell anime

London’s House of Illustration is to host Anime Architecture: Backgrounds of Japan, the first UK exhibition of illustrations for classic SF anime films, including the recently re-released Ghost in the Shell anime later this year.

Shown in Berlin last year, this is the UK’s first ever exhibition of handmade background illustrations for classic sci-fi anime films focuses on a selection of superb renderings of urban architecture made for the screen, featuring drawings for the films Patlabor (1989), Production I.G’s phenomenally influential film Ghost in the Shell (1995) and Ghost in the Shell 2 – Innocence (2004). It will present works by art director Hiromasa Ogura, director Mamoru Oshii, and concept artists Atsushi Takeuchi  and Takashi Watabe. These artists belong to a generation of illustrators who drew animation films almost only by hand.

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.

Included will be Hiromasa Ogura’s watercolour paintings for Ghost in the Shell, the anime epic that informed pioneering SF 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.

A collection of this art has been published, by Ghibli, but only in Japanese so far.

Atsushi Takeuchi, layout for Ghost in the Shell
Atsushi Takeuchi, layout for Ghost in the Shell

Pencil drawings by Takashi Watanabe – 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.

Art by Takashi Watabe for Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence
Art by Takashi Watabe for Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence

Art by Takashi Watabe for Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence

House of Illustration is the UK’s only public gallery dedicated solely to illustration, with a creative programme of exhibitions, talks and events. Founded by Sir Quentin Blake and opened in July 2014 at the heart of the King’s Cross regeneration area, it is the place to see, learn about and enjoy illustration in all its forms; from advertisements to animation, picture books to political cartoons and scientific drawings to fashion design.

A registered charity, House of Illustration identifies and promotes new illustration talent, commissions new work and has a pioneering illustrator-led education and outreach programme.

• Anime Architecture: Backgrounds of Japan” Exhibition | 2 Granary Square, King’s Cross London N1C 4BH | Web:

• What Anime Architecture Teaches Us About the Future of Cities

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With thanks to Richard Sheaf

John Freeman

The founder of downthetubes, John describes himself as is a “freelance comics operative”, currently working as a freelance editor for TITAN COMICS, as Creative Consultant on the new DAN DARE audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the LAKES INTERNATIONAL COMIC ART FESTIVAL and LANCASTER COMICS DAY.

John has worked in British comics publishing for over 30 years, starting out at Marvel UK, where he edited a number of the Genesis 1992 books with Paul Neary. His numerous credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine at Marvel and Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine at Titan Magazines, where he was Managing Editor.

He also edited STRIP Magazine and worked as an editor on several audio comics for ROK Comics, including TEAM M.O.B.I.L.E. and THE BEATLES STORY.

Most recently he is writing CRUCIBLE as a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and DEATH DUTY and SKOW DOGS with Dave Hailwood for the digital comic 100% Biodegradable.

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