All Your Cels Belong to Japan

Stuff that doesn't fit anywhere else goes here!
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Re: All Your Cels Belong to Japan

Post by usamimi »

Yeah, it does seem odd that in 2018 they'd only just NOW consider talking about this instead of back in 1998 when the cel collecting market was a bit more trendy? It makes me wonder if there's something else going on behind the scenes that sparked this idea, because while I get what they're going for, it seems a little out of nowhere all of a sudden.
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Re: All Your Cels Belong to Japan

Post by davemerrill »

The Angouleme Comics festival in France is happening right now - third largest in the world, after Comiket and Lucca Comics & Games in Italy, and cartoonist Derf "My Friend Dahmer" Backderf was there taking in the festival's exhibit of Osamu Tezuka originals, and he remarked on how difficult it was for the festival to arrange the exhibit, as the original art is considered national treasures in Japan. Sounds like what we were discussing earlier.
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Re: All Your Cels Belong to Japan

Post by Akage »

It's interesting that they're now considering Tezuka's originals as 'national treasures'. Over a decade ago, the Tezuka Astroboy exhibit was featured at the San Francisco Asian Art Museum. I visited the exhibit and was saddened to see that very little conservation effort had gone into their display. The lights were not dimmed, so the cels were exposed to harsh museum light. Original color Tezuka manga pages were just slapped into frames, with what looked like tape being used to hold it in place. I recall that this exhibit stopped at several large museums throughout the world, so I would guess that there wasn't as much emphasis on keeping that artwork in Japan in 2007 as there is now.

Honestly, I have not been impressed with Japanese conservation efforts. There's a well known story in the cel collector community about 250 pieces of original Disney artwork donated to the National Museum of Modern Art in Tokyo in 1960 ending up in a janitor's closet at Chiba University for almost 50 years. ... 8anim.html

Over the years, I've received cels in all sorts of conditions. Very rarely will you receive one that has been properly cared for, packaged in a vented poly bag that has been routinely changed (the bag will ripple when placed against the paint). Often, the cel has been stored in a closed plastic bag for years, and sometimes you'll receive a cel whose sketch was ripped from the cel (so there will be paint flakes on the sketch) and then allowed to stick again to the same sketch. Shikishi, backgrounds and other original sketches often fare just as poorly; When I was collecting backgrounds from "Kobato", a good portion of them were folded to fit into a circular wastebasket. It is often not uncommon to receive artwork that smells strongly of mold, cigarette smoke or both. To hear representatives of the Japanese government claim that these are now national treasures that should be kept away from foreigners, many of whom have tried hard to preserve them, really grinds my gears. Our collective conservation effort is what has preserved a good chunk of this artwork from falling victim to vinegar syndrome (old/poorly cared for cels often smell vinegary and once they do, there's very little that can be done to save them).
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Re: All Your Cels Belong to Japan

Post by DKop »

It's interesting you mentioned that Akagi about the condition and how cels are treated.

My best friends brother in law was in Japan many years ago and met up with a production assistant or animator of the Akira movie, and to his surprise he saw stacks of Akira animation cels sitting on top of a shelf that's been literally collecting dust for 20 some years. The animator had no idea the value or rarity of those cels for all those years when he finally got to explain to this guy how much they can go for. So yea, it is kinda interesting that Japan wants to just automatically want to care about cels all of the sudden when people who worked on these titles don't give a damn about their condition either.
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