And one of the most important things I ever saw in my life was on a crappy little video player at a table in a remote corner of that convention. It was playing some animation that was absolutely beautiful, and absolutely unintelligible-- at least to me since I didn't understand a syllable of Japanese. There were no subtitles, the transfer was lousy, and I no idea what was happening but I couldn't pull myself away from it.
Regardless, I bought it and watched it over and over and over again. I watched it frame by frame (at least as frame by frame as a VHS player could go), I made up stories as to what I thought was happening in the film, I figured out little bits of Japanese by sheer guesswork.
That film was called Laputa, Castle in the Sky and was my introduction to anime, something that at the time, was just starting to trickle into the US. And it made me want more. I tracked down anime fan mags (Protoculture Addict, Animag, etc) that gave synopses of the movies I bought. Remember... this was before the internet made finding stuff easy so it took some real digging through phone books to find weird little Japanese books stores.
Anyway, very few films stood up to that first one I bought, but I loved a lot of 'em just the same-- Macross: Love Do You Remember, Black Magic M-66, Appleseed... what a cool new world!
Eventually I learned that it was Hayao Miyazaki who directed Laputa so I tracked down other films by him and was just as in love. And I still am to this day! (Yay Ponyo!)
So now, as I'm getting my office set up at my new home, I started choosing artwork to hang on the walls. And of course, I can't NOT hang up the Miyazaki cels I've picked up over the years.
So here's a little gallery of my collection:
From My Neighbor Totoro. I would buy a cel of Totoro himself but I've never had eleventy thousand dollars to spend on one.
The next three are from another of my favorite films, Kurenai No Buta or The Crimson Pig or Porco Rosso.
And this one's just awesome for it's sheer smushiness.
I actually bought this one so I could study the water effects on the cel. And because it was cool.
Laputa cels have always been hard to find and stupidly expensive. But I got this one years back and love it. It came with a grainy xerox background that works semi-kinda okay
Again, I've always wanted a really great shot of Kiki on her broom but have had to settle for this little one.
I don't miss working with cels-- but I do miss the cool feeling of having an actual piece of the film in your hands...
Or on your wall!