Anime Art Cel Showroom
Hallooo, one and all! As we barrel ahead towards SJ5, I wanted to talk a little about the Cel Showroom, to ensure people know what we have to offer. Cel collecting used to be really hot, but once studios switched to CGI, the production of cels all but stopped. And many modern fans don't even know what cels are. The last few cons we've done, it's broken our hearts to have people come up to us as we're breaking down our event, freaking out because they didn't know we were there or how beautiful the artwork was.
Luckily, your mighty events coordinator, Jay, has been extremely supportive of us. Instead of our customarily rushed 1-hour lecture, we have 6-8 hours each and every day for people to come by and leisurely check things out. You can stroll through the exhibit at your own pace, reading our little info signs if you want to learn more. I also have two videos, which will be playing simultaneously, that show elements of my original lecture and show clips from the anime that these cels are from. In other words, if you see a shirtless Spike Spiegel, you can watch the video and see the exact scene that cel appears in!
To the best of my knowledge, this kind of cel exhibit will be the largest ever done in the US. Even big events like Anime Expo don't do it up like this. So SJ gets bragging rights. Woo!
But that's not all. We're also making a last minute addition and adding sketches to our showroom, which is a first, I think. If you haven't seen cel sketches up close, you are in for a treat. Instead of ink, they use colored pencils to draw in all the details. It is striking. Best of all, this allows us to include more modern shows, like Ouron and Champloo, which don't use cels.
Even though the timing may be a little off, I'll be displaying some cels from the movie Animalympics to celebrate the London games.
For you BioShock fans, I have a handful of amazing items to share as well. Three crazy splicer masks from the There's Something in the Sea ARG will be on display, right next to a full-sized prop replica of the Murder of Crows vigor bottle from the upcoming BioShock Infinite. Best of all, the lead character designer from BioShock 2, Colin Fix, ripped two concept sketches out of his sketchbook and handed them to me a few years back. They are small, but I guarantee you won't see anything like them at any other event!
If art and games aren't your thing, then come to see the toys. We haven't finalized the toy list (which will be small), but I'm sure to have some really fun and interesting pieces such as a beautiful Totoro tin toy alongside a giant bootleg Gundam. Plus a Mach 5 or two, in honor of this year's theme. And if we can find a safe way to transport them, perhaps a tricked-out ship or three designed by the legendary Leiji Matsumoto (Star Blazers, Harlock).
We are happy to answer questions about cels and cel collecting, so don't be shy at our event. If a few people want to know more, we can always hold an impromptu mini lecture. I should be easy to spot, as I just had emergency surgery on my jaw, so I'm pretty swollen. Heh. But I will answer questions until my jaw drops off, if need be.
We want to thank everyone who stopped by our exhibit this past weekend. The turnout was tremendous. Hundreds of you came by each day to say hello, look at art, play with toys, and chat about anime.
A number of people asked us where the cels were on loan from and what museum they would be traveling to next. That made our day! No, we are fans, just like you. And the exhibit was constructed and brought to San Japan entirely at our own expense. We took great joy in meeting our fellow animation fans (and perhaps creating a few new fans of the animation process).
For those that missed it, I shot a brief video showing the highlights of what we had on display. We brought quite a bit more with us, rotating certain pieces into the display and bringing other pieces out to answer questions or to demonstrate an aspect of animation. But this gives you a basic idea of what we had:
The fact that we only suffered one small act of vandalism and no thefts or breakage says a lot. The visitors to our room were, almost without fail, courteous and respectful. And we deeply appreciate that. Thanks for a great (if exhausting) experience!
Host of ninjaHELL!
Thanks for doing this guys! It was a very interesting exhibit, and I hope they set up up with something similar for SJ6, if you make it.
Yes I too enjoyed the anime cel artroom and hope you guys get another go at it for San Japan 6
Like the others have said, I hope you come back for San Japan 6, next year! I really love going and looking at cells! I thought it was awesome how you guys also had some cells from more Western Animation, aside from just anime, too! <3
I'll put my lot in the chorus of positive reactions here as well.
This exhibit was definitely very relevant to the convention's scope and guys and gal running it were very knowledgeable and happy to explain further about the animation process where it isn't explained in the displays and how the market for them works. It's an excellent and informational journey of the behind-the-scenes.
Also helps that the room is cold as a walk-in freezer too. Man, that sure helps with the cool-off after con-wandering.
We're so glad everyone enjoyed it! The positive comments are great to read. My team will enjoy hearing about them.
Even though it was a ton of work getting everything prepped and transported, the long format of an art show rather than a panel gave us all kinds of flexibility to address questions, chat, and pull out any additional materials we needed to illustrate our points. Because of that, I don't think anyone went away unhappy. Trust me, I could have filled all 3 days with lecture material and cool examples of different types of cels.
Believe it or not, what you all saw was a slightly scaled down version of the initial concept. About 10 days before the show, I suffered a medical emergency that cost me five precious days of crunch time. Because of that, I had to prioritize the items I could bring. I wanted my entire lecture available in bite-sized chunks, displayed in small signs all over the exhibit. But I just didn't have the time. So I removed the drier elements while preserving the broad info in the form of the first video, the pink board with all the definitions, and the various signs. In a perfect world, you all would have also had some philosophy about the nature of cel collecting, a display dedicated to how a cel is physically created (layers, sequences, construction, etc), and similar items added to the exhibit. I wasn't sure if people would be interested in that stuff, but now I know otherwise. Plenty of visitors were eager to learn, and that made me feel both wonderful and a bit guilty (at being unable to furnish those).