Current Exhibitions

Anime Architecture

Nov. 9, 2019 – Apr. 3, 2020

Background illustration for Ghost in the Shell, cut 341
by Ogura Hiromasa
Watercolor on paper
Layout for Ghost in the Shell, cut 334 by Takeuchi Atsushi (1995) Pencil on paper ©1995 Shirow Masamune/KODANSHA – BANDAI VISUAL – MANGA ENTERTAINMENT, Ltd., AA038

Concept design for Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence by Watabe Takashi ©2004 Shirow Masamune/KODANSHA – BANDAI VISUAL – MANGA ENTERTAINMENT, Ltd., AA079

Anime Architecture traces the architectural world-building process of Japan’s most influential animated science fiction films. In order to highlight the artists, designers, and directors of the meticulous backdrops that bring to life the futuristic urban environments of anime, curator Stefan Riekeles of Berlin spent years compiling these works. The Morikami Museum & Japanese Gardens is the only U.S. venue hosting this special exhibition.

From location photographs and concept sketches as detailed pencil drawings through to final expressions as cells in full color, Anime Architecture reveals some of the intricacies of the creative processes behind Japan’s ultramodern animated films. More than 100 works on exhibit include clips of Patlabor: The Movie, Tezuka Osamu’s MetropolisGhost in the Shell, and Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence. Among the beautiful hand-illustrations are works by famous animators: Ogura Hiromasa, Watabe Takashi, Higami Haruhiko, Oshii Mamoru and Takeuchi Atsushi. All of these artists worked during the peak of the use of hand-drawn techniques in animation; this has become a fading art form as artists today construct most films digitally from conception to completion.

Don’t miss your chance to see these unique and highly detailed drawings from some of the best-loved Japanese anime, on-view through April 3, 2020. This exhibition was organized by Les Jardins des Pilotes für Kunst und Kultur.

Funding made possible by The Henri and Tomoye Takahashi Charitable Foundation and The E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation 


Stefan Riekeles is a curator based in Berlin. He holds an M.A. in Culture Studies and Audio Communication Science from the Humboldt University and the Technical University in Berlin. He curated the exhibition Anime Architecture which had its premiere in Berlin at the Tchoban Foundation – Museum for Architecture Drawing in 2016. Other projects in the realm of Japanese art include his work as the Artistic Director of the Japan Media Arts Festival Dortmund 2011 and as collaborator on the exhibition Proto Anime Cut (2011-2013) which traveled from Berlin to Dortmund, Barcelona, Madrid, Tallinn, and Basel. Previously, he served as the Programme Director of the International Symposium on Electronic Art 2010, in Ruhr, and has curated several exhibitions for the Transmediale Festival for art and digital culture in Berlin.

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Out of an abundance of caution for the well-being of our museum visitors, volunteers and staff through the COVID-19 public health threat, the Museum & Gardens are closed until further notice.
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