The famous imagination of anime among the Western public has been one of the shimmering future towns, all neon and technology, since the release of Akira in 1988, usually just a flicker away from an act of gratuitous destruction.
It is the color and glitter of these urban fantasies that have influenced our perception of Far Eastern cityscapes and caught the eye. The setting for the tale may be these fictional towns, but they are also what pique our interest. “The drama is just the surface of the film,” said director Mamoru Oshii once. “Over the years, I’ve realized that the silent world behind the characters is where the director needs to convey his core vision.”
As seen here in Hiromasa Ogura’s final behind-the-scenes production view of the attacking Sumida River for the film Patlabor 2, these central visions are at the heart of the book Anime Architecture by Stefan Riekeles.
But the drawings, posters, and artwork that went into these dreams are also seen by Riekeles. A reminder that even the most futuristic town started out on a page as a line.
Anime Architecture: Infinite Megacities and Imagine Worlds, by Stefan Riekeles, Thames & Hudson, £35. Image © Headgear 1993