This is 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.
The artists, whose work presents 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 was released in March.
In association with Les Jardins des Pilotes, Berlin.
Colin McKenzie, Director of House of Illustration, said: “We are delighted to be bringing this extraordinary body of work to the UK for the first time, showcasing a group of artists who have not only had a definitive impact on the influential world of anime, but whose work has also inspired artists across popular culture.”
Anime Architecture: Backgrounds of Japan
26 May – 10 September 2017
Main Gallery at House of Illustration, 2 Granary Square, King’s Cross, London N1C 4BH.
Open Tuesday-Sunday 10am-6pm. Closed Mondays.
Admission (one ticket gives admission to all three galleries) £8.25 inc gift aid.
Background illustration for Ghost in the Shell (1995), cut 477, watercolour on paper and acrylic on transparent film, 270 x 390 mm, by Hiromasa Ogura © 1995 Shirow Masamune / KODANSHA · BANDAI VISUAL · MANGA ENTERTAINMANT Ltd.
Concept Deisgn for Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence (2004), pencil on paper, 176 x 250mm, by Takashi Watabe © 2004 Shirow Masamune / KODANSHA · IG, ITNDDTD.