Anime Architecture at the Morikami Japanese Gardens

When I watch anime, one thing that I often don’t pay attention to is the architecture. I am more interested in reading the dialogue, laughing at the jokes, or seeing who will win the next epic fight scene. Structures are only interesting to me when actually highlighted by the anime itself, which isn’t very common. Some anime though, shine when putting on display the various buildings, machines, trains, streets, or anything else that brings the world in the show to life.

Some that come to memory are Garden of WordsEvangelionViolet EvergardenEmma, 5 Centimeters Per Second and I’m sure tons others I missed.

A clip of what I believe is Ghost in the Shell

Even though I can remember a few of these anime, it’s still not something that stands out to me while watching, just like the music (unless it’s the OP or ED song). So when I found out that the famous Japanese gardens (Morikami Gardens) about an hour from me were having an anime exhibition, I had to make it out there. For research, of course…research…and this post.

Before the entrance of the Morikami Gardens

These gardens are special to me, as I have been there on several dates with my wife and even before we were married. Being that they are the only real Japanese related site that I can visit nearby, I love going for its tranquility, cafe, beautiful plants and decorations, as well as events like anime conventions or movies.

When we arrived, there was a large line already, so I was assuming it was for the exhibition but it was mainly caused by the weekend rush. After entering, you turn left and there it is! I was excited to go in and see what would unfold.


There are several sketches of architecture from Ghost In The Shell lining the walls as you make your way into the main space. In this large room, a projector is playing on loop some scenes from the original movie. There are also some images from another classic, Patlabor.  A small table has some anime and Japanese art books to peruse through, but not much else. The next room is rather large as well, but contains much of the same, Sketches of Ghost in the Shell and a small TV playing an anime clip, but I wasn’t sure which it was from (should have read the little white card next to it!).


I took a few quick pictures but no film, as it wasn’t allowed (even though they weren’t paying much attention).

After that room, it was over!


I wanted so much more, as I was imagining various anime whether older or new to be represented, like works from Makoto Shinkai (Your Name) or Akira. There are so many anime, especially older ones, that focus a lot on the architecture of the city. Often they are depicted in lonely hues but with extreme details. I would feel like I could find those very streets, cables, houses, and trains right outside my door. I just didn’t get that same emotion being in this small gallery.

But for the cost of admission, which was the same as any time you go to the gardens, it wasn’t too bad. If this exhibition passes by your side of town or city, give it a look, but don’t go in expecting to be blown away. I hope they expand it more as it’s a very interesting concept, focusing on just the architecture in anime.


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