The Art of Akira

[YouTube Link]

Joe Peacock (previously on Neatorama) has been collecting Akira cells and production art since he was 14 years old, and now he has collaborated with ToonSeum to show the entire world why Akira is the pinnacle of Japanese anime:

No other film has ever looked like Akira, before or since. It’s stunningly fluid and detailed animation often required as many as nine separate cel layers. The 125 minute feature was comprised of over 160,000 cels and almost as many backgrounds, each one completely hand–drawn and hand-painted. Purists recognize Akira as the last completely hand-created animated feature, as cel animation quickly gave way to cheaper digital production and CGI technology.

Filmmakers, animators, art students and anime fans have largely missed out on in-depth looks at how original, cel-based animation was created - and what better example than the magnum opus that is Akira? No other animation in history - from Japan, the United States or otherwise - focused so much attention to detail in every single aspect, on every single frame and background. Each piece is a study in color theory, layout, motion dynamics and technical artistry. And it is my mission, along with ToonSeum, to expose as many people as possible to the brilliance inherent in this collection.

Links: Art of Akira - via The Journal of Joe The Peacock. Yay.

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Akira had spectacular animation for its time, and the fact that it still looks great today is a testament to that, but I dispute the idea that it was "the last completely hand-created animated feature." I'm fairly sure that Hayao Miyazaki continued to make all of his movies completely hand-drawn until a decade after Akira, when a very small amount (on the order of 10%-20%) of the animation in Princess Mononoke used some computer aid. As to the claim that "No other animation in history... focused so much attention to detail in every single aspect, on every single frame and background," again I would point you to Miyazaki's films of the '80's and '90's: during the production of each film he checked every single key frame himself (I think Princess Mononoke had on the order of 40,000 key animation cells) and personally redrew them if they weren't up to his standards.
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Me too - that's why I've been collecting the original art for so long. Once i realized just how much work went into this particular feature, two things hit me: 1) it'll NEVER happen again, and 2) all the work was being parted out and separated for individual collectors, which really ruined the sanctity of the setups.

Glad you guys liked it! And Alex, thanks for posting it!
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akira is lord

i'm a big evangelion fan too

can't beat good animation, hopefully it will make a comeback, cg sucks, but as i learned in my animation class last semester, i can understand why people shy away from the labor intensive hand drawing method. (i drew like a million frames)

easier is never better though.
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Like many, Akira was my introduction to Anime and it really spoiled me. It was such a revelation that everything which came afterwards lived in it's mighty shadow.

Also the fact that is was all hand-drawn makes it so much more amazing. Seeing something done with CG (especially obvious CG) takes away some of the perception of skill. It goes from "wow!" to "Nice. But they did it on computers."
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