House of Illustration, a London-based gallery, will exhibit Japanese anime architecture artwork that has been seen in classic anime films, including Ghost in the Shell.
The exhibition—the first of its kind in the UK—features over 100 technical drawings and watercolor illustrations from some of the most influential productions in the genre’s 1990s heyday. The artists were tasked with creating a universe for the director. Their fictional worlds reflected real-life concerns over ruthless urban development and erosion of identity, mirroring the films’ narratives and giving the backgrounds a crucial role to play. Their work has had a defining influence on the style of anime we think of as typical today.
The show includes Hiromasa Ogura’s watercolour paintings for Ghost in the Shell, an anime epic that pioneered and influenced 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 looming, faceless skyscrapers.
Takashi Watabe’s meticulously realistic style has become a hallmark of Japanese anime films as a whole. House of Illustration showcase his pencil drawings for 2008’s sequel Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence, as well as work from Patlabor: The Movie (1989) and Metropolis(2001), by Mamoru Oshii and Atsushi Takeuchi.