Anime Architecture: Backgrounds of Japan

An exhibition of hand-crafted backgrounds from sci-fi anime films, including cyberpunk classic Ghost in the Shell

When, Where

Inspired by Asia’s emerging megacities, production designers working in Tokyo constructed fictional worlds that reflected an unnervingly real story of ruthless urban development.

This exhibition will feature the backgrounds hand-crafted by Production I.G in Japan for sci-fi anime films including Ghost in the ShellPatlabor: The Movie and Metropolis, none of which have been seen in the UK before.

Layering disarmingly realistic details with futuristic cityscapes, their creations are a combination of painterly skill and exacting mechanical logic. The result is a set of exquisite pocket-sized artworks, which scale into breathtaking backgrounds on screen.

The exhibition will include work by art director Hiromasa Ogura for Ghost in the Shell, directed in 1995 by Mamoru Oshii and based on a manga series of the same name by Masamune Shirow. Ogura’s art was based on photographs of Hong Kong, and depicts a striking contrast between the colourful chaos of a derelict Chinese town and the cold blue skyscrapers that often loom in the background.

It will also feature drawings by supervising layout artist Takashi Watabe for the 2008 sequel Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence, who shows an M.C. Escher-like fascination with pipelines, cables and corners; work from Oshii’s 1989 Patlabor: The Movie; and Rintaro’s 2001 Metropolis, based loosely on the 1949 manga created by Osamu Tezuka, itself inspired by the 1927 German silent film of the same name.

A live-action Hollywood remake of Ghost in the Shell is scheduled for release in spring 2017, staring Scarlett Johansson.

In association with Les Jardins des Pilotes, Berlin.


Buy exhibition tickets below – one ticket covers admission to all House of Illustration exhibitions that are open on the day.


Tickets Price Number Total price
Total amount £0.00
Adult ticket with gift aid£8.25 £8.25
Concession ticket with gift aid£5.50 £5.50
Child ticket with gift aid£4.40 £4.40
Family ticket with gift aid£19.80 £19.80
Adult ticket£7.50 £7.50
Concession ticket£5.00 £5.00
Family ticket£18.00 £18.00

Ticket information:

Your ticket covers admission to all current House of Illustration exhibitions that are open on the day of your visit. Please make sure you have checked our What's On page for full details. House of Illustration is open 10:00-18:00 Tuesdays through Sundays. Final admission is at 17:30.

Please help us by choosing a ticket which includes a 10% voluntary Gift Aid donation. If you are not a UK taxpayer please select non Gift Aid tickets.

Concessions: Senior (over 65), student, job seeker, disabled.

Child: aged 5-18. Under 5s go free (up to four per parent or guardian)

Family: Up to 2 adults and 3 children under 18

Any paying disabled visitor can be accompanied by their carer free of charge.

These tickets will grant entry to all galleries that are open on the day of your visit.
Tickets are non-refundable and non-transferrable. All tickets sales subject to our general terms and conditions.

Gift Aid
Gift Aid admissions allow us to reclaim tax on the full value of the ticket price, as well as the donation. This means an extra 25p in each pound. 
If purchasing more than one ticket at the Gift Aid price the additional tickets must be for family members.
By selecting Gift Aid tickets you are confirming you are a UK taxpayer and that you are paying income tax and/or capital gains tax at least equal to the amount of tax that all charities and Community Amateur Sports Clubs you donate to will reclaim on your gifts for each tax year (6 April to 5 April). Council tax and VAT do not qualify.