Illustrations by legendary anime director Hayao Miyazaki are among the 130 artworks going on display in Ikebukuro, Tokyo, next month.

The exhibition of background illustrations and character sketches, which have never been on public display before, celebrates the 40th anniversary of Nippon Animation’s World Animation Theatre, the weekly TV anime showcase which Miyazaki and Isao Takahata both worked on before founding Studio Ghibli together in 1985.

World Animation Theatre is a series of animated versions of classical books or stories including classics of Western children’s literature, such as Anne of Green Gables and Heidi.

Let’s take a look at what’s on offer!

▼ Included in the show will be 30 of Miyazaki’s layout sketches for Anne of Green Gables (1979).


▼ Other sketches include these of Rascal (Rascal the Raccoon) and Nero (Dog of Flanders).

Screen Shot 2015-06-29 at 12.19.45atpress, edited by RocketNews24

▼ There are also background paintings, such as this one by Takamura Mukuo, for 3000 Leagues in Search of Mother (1976) 


▼ And this one from Anne of Green Gables.


▼ A painting by co-director Seiji Endō from the early stages of Rascal the Raccoon.


▼ A preliminary sketch from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1980)


While die-hard Studio Ghibli fans would no doubt be more interested in later work from Miyazaki and Takahata, there looks to be plenty to see here for fans of the World Animation Series.

If you’re elsewhere in Japan, too, you may still have the chance to catch the exhibition without heading to Tokyo – after the Ikebukuro show closes in August, the artworks will go on a two-year tour around the country, from Hokkaido to Hiroshima.

Exhibition information

The Sekai Meisaku Gekijouten (THE 世界名作劇場展)
Dates: July 30th-August 18th, 10am-8pm (except August 18th 10am-5pm)
Location: Tobu Department Store, Ikebukuro, 8th floor exhibition space
Admission: Adults 800 yen; High school/middle school students 600 yen; Younger children free.

Sources: atpress, NetLab, Tobu Department Store
Featured image: atpress