Thursday, August 20, 2009


Waaaaaaaaaay back when I was a scrawny, zitty, shy teenager, I used to go to a little mini comic convention in Valley Forge, PA to pick up back issues of The Uncanny X-Men, Daredevil, Alien Legion and stuff like that. It was an exciting place... comics weren't as mainstream as they are nowadays and my parents didn't exactly approve so it had a kinda subversive feeling. And there was always cool new stuff to see.

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!


Unknown said...

wow thats cool O_O im actually super jealous

Brubaker said...

Hurray for Japan!

"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..."

I'm wondering. Even when inking and coloring are done digitally do any studios still do the actual drawing on paper? I know "The Simpsons" is still drawn on paper (I've seen drawings from digitally-colored episodes being sold at animation gallery), but what about others?


yup, brubaker... a lot of shows and movies are still drawn and inked on paper before they're scanned for paint and compositing-- but they're becoming fewer and fewer. the simpsons actually refused to go digital for a long time because they wanted the cel look. but eventually they were shown that they could get that look digitally and the overseas studios breathed a sigh of relief.

Superdumb Supervillain said...

I grew up with anime (raised in Hawaii, Japanese mom) but the Miyazaki films really stand out. Haven't seen Ponyo yet.

Roo went as Kiki last Halloween:

She wore a black dress and red bow hairband for a couple of months...

Christine Y. Chong said...

Ooooooomg you got the cells!!! Dang it, I want to see it in person! XD