Since its release in 1988 AKIRA was almost solely responsible for the boom in Japanese animation (anime) among an international audience during the early 1990s. For many viewers AKIRA was the first film that they perceived as anime – as specifically Japanese animation. As such, it had a tremendous influence on a whole generation of film enthusiasts. Much of AKIRA’s cinematic power stems from the opulent representation of the film’s iconic city of Neo Tokyo.
59 original production backgrounds, layout drawings, concept designs and imageboards which had been used to create Neo Tokyo in the animated feature will be on display. Exclusive access to the studio archives of the artists involved in AKIRA’s production allows the presentation of artworks that have never been presented in an exhibition before. The exhibition includes works by Toshiharu Mizutani who served as the production’s art director and his colleagues Katsufumi Hariu, Norihiro Hiraki, Shinji Kimura, Satoshi Kuroda, Hiromasa Ogura, Hiroshi Ōno, Hajime Soga, Tsutomu Uchida and Takashi Watabe.
Tchoban Foundation. Museum for Architectural Drawing sees its mission in promoting the world of architectural drawing to a broader audience. Works of famous architects such as Peter Cook, Thom Mayne, Alvaro Siza or Lebbeus Woods have been shown in profound exhibitions at the museum in Berlin. In 2019 the exhibition German Film Architecture: 1918–1933 introduced the original concept designs for Fritz Lang’s Metropolis (1927) and the Nibelungen (1927), Paul Wegener’s Golem How He Came into the World (1920) and The Cabinet of Dr Caligari (1920) by Robert Wiene. In 2021 the museum presented original designs by Mark Fisher (1947–2013) for famous entertainment shows and rock concerts. AKIRA – The Architecture of Neo Tokyo will continue this line of programming.
The exhibition is curated by Stefan Riekeles, head of Riekeles Gallery, in collaboration with the museum’s director Nadejda Bartels and co-curated by Hiroko Myokam of Eizo Workshop (Japan).
The accompanying book to the exhibition Anime Architecture – Imagined Worlds and Endless Megacities by Stefan Riekeles was published by Thames & Hudson in 2020.