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Anime Architecture Collector's Edition Art Book Release Details

Date: 2020 April 03 19:28

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A couple of years ago we covered an excellent exhibition on Anime Architecture: Backgrounds of Japan. It was hosted at House of Illustration. The exhibition focused on the lavish and detailed backgrounds used in anime. It included backgrounds many seminal anime films.

Stefan Riekeles the curator of the exhibition has teamed up with Volume to publish a book based the images from the exhibition. This hardcover 256 page publication promises to be "The definitive visual guide to the cityscapes and buildings of the most celebrated and influential anime movies". "This overdue celebration offers a peerless survey of these cinematic arenas - including material from AKIRA, Ghost in the Shell, Patlabor, Neon Genesis Evangelion and Tekkonkinkreet - through original background paintings, storyboards, drafts, sources of inspiration and film excerpts. Produced in direct collaboration with the original Japanese production studios, Anime Architecture offers privileged views into the earliest conception stages of iconic scenes, through to their development into finished films."

The art book itself is a collectors item and is limited to 1,000 individually numbered copies. It also includes a screen printed acrylic slipcase.

It's available now for pre-order for £75 from Volume and will ship some time in Q4 2020.

If you want to know more about the original exhibition, then why not read our interview with Stefan Riekeles?

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Press release as follows:

Volume launches Anime Architecture, the frst visual survey outside Japan to uncover anime's intricate handpainted environments.

Anime Architecture

Anime is recognised as one of Japan's most successful exports, attracting a steadily growing global audience and influencing culture worldwide, but until now little attention has been paid to its staggeringly complex and detailed hand-drawn backgrounds. Before the anime industry moved to digital production in the early 2000s, the layouts, storyboards and backgrounds to the films were drawn and painted in-house by talented illustrators.

Anime Architecture

Anime Architecture brings together previously unseen material from eight of the most influential sci-f anime films of the 1980s to the early 2000s: 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 (2007).

Anime Architecture

Akira's intense and moody Neo Tokyo is brought to life with paint through towering bird's eye views and low-cut angle backgrounds that show the city looming up behind. The film's 70-strong art team experimented with reds and greens as well as dark blues and blacks to create the atmosphere of the nocturnal city, before its eventual destruction. In Ghost in the Shell, the cold blue tones of the high-rise district in Newport City contrast with the narrow streets and hazy night-time shots of the old town, with its floating advertising reminiscent of Blade Runner. In the second film, the "Chinese Gothic" aesthetic gives an amber glow to the city's streets.

Anime Architecture

Ghost in the Shell director Mamoru Oshii, whose Patlabor films also feature in the book, says "Over the years, I've come to realize that the silent world behind the characters is where the director has to communicate his core vision. The drama is just the surface of the film. The backgrounds are the director's vision of reality."

Anime Architecture

Volume is offering 1,000 numbered collector's edition copies of the 256-page title in a screen-printed acrylic slipcase. The case mimics the celluloid sheets (cels) onto which anime characters were drawn

Anime Architecture

As well as celebrating the beauty of over 100 unsung artworks used during the film production process, Anime Architecture offers fans an in-depth look on how these films were made, and for anyone interested in illustration, the astounding level of detail, skill and visual invention is unsurpassed.

Anime Architecture

Volume is a publishing platform for creators and lovers of books on visual culture.

"Publishing is about passion, and publishers still have a vital role in helping creators fnd their audiences." Volume is a startup enterprise that launced in late 2017. Backed by Thames & Hudson, the international art publisher, Volume has access to decades of editorial and design insight, production and printing expertise, and unparalleled distribution to the global book trade. Volume seeks to pass its knowledge on to a new generation of creative talents and increasingly print-savvy audiences in a screen-based age.

"Technology has had a major impact on how we experience content, which has in turn irrevocably altered the medium of the traditional book trade," says publisher Lucas Dietrich. "Volume steps into this breach by offering an online platform that celebrates the spirit of individual creativity and those who want to take part it in through beautiful books." Editor Darren Wall adds, "The flexibility and reach Volume will offer authors is unprecedented, from interaction with communities established around single book projects to exciting new production methods that would simply be beyond the capacity of most publishers."

Volume's frst successful projects include Look & See, by beloved letterpress guru, Anthony Burrill and Japansoft: An Oral History, which chronicles the earliest years of videograme development. Released in 2019, TO:KY:OO, a collection of cyperpunk-inspired photographs by Liam Wong, raised over £140,000 from his superfans; and limited-edition monograph of Radiohead artist Stanley Donwood sold out in six hours.

Future projects include a monograph of American graphic designer Rudolph de Harak's seminal work and a survey of the artwork from Manchester's Factory Records, the label behind Joy Division, New Order and the Happy Mondays, as well as the city's infamous Hacienda nightclub. "We truly hope that the new models offered by Volume will usher in a wonderful new era for books on the visual arts," say Wall and Dietrich.

Volume was founded by Lucas Dietrich and Darren Wall to offer an alternative publishing model for creating, fnancing, producing, and selling high-quality illustrated and printed books. Dietrich is international editorial director and head of publishing innovation at Thames & Hudson ( Wall is an art director ( and founder of Read-Only Memory (, which produces illustrated books on videogame history.

Source: Volume
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