Animation History Illustration
An Exhibition Unearths Rare Production Drawings from the Futuristic Neo Tokyo of the Anime Classic ‘Akira’
Katsuhiro Otomo’s 1988 sci-fi classic Akira has had an unparalleled influence on anime and film, and an exhibition at the Tchoban Foundation in Berlin showcases the original drawings that brought its futuristic cyberpunk setting to life. Akira – The Architecture of Neo Tokyo features 59 production backdrops, layouts, concepts, and image boards, many of which have never been shown publicly. The collection includes now-iconic works by art director Toshiharu Mizutani and collaborators Katsufumi Hariu, Norihiro Hiraki, Shinji Kimura, Satoshi Kuroda, Hiromasa Ogura, Hiroshi Ōno, Hajime Soga, Tsutomu Uchida, and Takashi Watabe.
Otomo first released the dystopian story as a manga series in 1982 before turning it into the highly influential action film a few years later. The narrative follows characters Shōtarō Kaneda, the telekinetic Tetsuo Shim, and their friends, who navigate the imagined Japanese metropolis of Neo Tokyo with its neon streetlights, crumbling infrastructure, and unrelenting post-apocalyptic vibe.
Ahead of the exhibition, curator Stefan Riekeles also released the book Anime Architecture: Imagined Worlds and Endless Megacities. The volume contains fantastic scenes from various animated classics including Ghost in the Shell and Metropolis. You can see Akira – The Architecture of Neo Tokyo through September 4, and according to It’s Nice That, the show might travel to London next.
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Animation Art Design
A Giant Illuminated ‘Castle in the Sky’ Ship Built for the Studio Ghibli Exhibition in Tokyo
Perched in the sky fifty-two stories above Tokyo, a new exhibition celebrates a 30-year retrospective of Studio Ghibli, the Japanese animation studio famous for anime films like Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro, and Princess Mononoke. The centerpiece of the Studio Ghibli Expo is a room filled with various airships from several Ghibli films, specifically a sizeable illuminated replica of a ship from Hayao Miyazaki’s Castle in the Sky that rises and falls as if airborne, complete with dozens of whirring propellers. The retrospective also includes original artwork, interactive exhibits, and a small cafe serving 11 dishes inspired by different films. You can additional photos and read more about it on The Creator’s Project and RocketNews24.
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Highlights below. For the full collection click here.