A new book celebrates architecture in anime, from Akira to Neon Genesis Evangelion

Within the most known Japanese animated films, the urban landscape is an element that passes in the background. Yet, it may be what reveals the most about the director’s vision.

It is the first aesthetic survey to highlight the urban context in which are set the most popular anime: Anime Architecture, spread by the international art publisher Volume, it’s an illustrated anthology that includes into 265 pages the most significant architectures appearing in the background of several Japanese animated films. Already sold out, the first edition was made by a thousand numbered copies with a silkscreened acrylic case.

The work resumes eight sci-fi anime ranging from the 80s to the early 2000s (that is, before digital production replaced the illustration entirely handmade): they are AKIRA (1988), Patlabor: The Movie (1989), Patlabor 2: The Movie (1993), Ghost in the Shell (1995), Metropolis (2001), Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence (2004), Tekkon Kinkreet (2006) and Rebuild of Evangelion: 1.0 and 2.0 (2007, 2009).

“Over the years, I have come to understand that the silent world in the characters’ background is the place where the director has to communicate his vision”, explains Mamoru Oshii, famous director of the two films of Ghost in the Shell and Patlabor. “The drama is only the surface of the film, while the background represents the director’s gaze on reality”. This is the real intent of Anime Architecture, with 100 unpublished storyboards commented by the author Stefan Riekeles, who saw in action many of these illustrators within their studios in Tokyo. While at the center of the anime are the main characters and their actions, the book wants to put for once in the foreground the avant-garde architecture and dystopian scenarios, the sumptuous environments and the decadent neighborhoods of Japanese cities.

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