Japanese animation, also known as "anime", has become very popular in America over the past two decades. What once started with English-dubbed, Japanese made TV-series like "Astroboy", "Eight Man' and "Gigantor", has now turned into a real cult phenomenon.
One of the best anime features is still "Akira" (1987). Adapted from the best-selling comic book series by director Karsuhiro Otomo, this state-of-the-art feature (shot on 70mm.!) offers a gritty look into the futuristic city of Neo-Tokyo, circa 2019. Otomo paints a cyberpunk world complete with motorcycle youths and neon-lit cityscapes.
I'm not really an "anime"-fan myself, but have always been impressed by "Akira". The detail that went into it is just flabbergasting.

On of my other favorites is Hayao Miyazaki, director of such films as "Nausicaš of the Valley of the Winds", 'My Neighbor Totoro", "Kiki's Delivery Service", "Porco Rosso", "Princess Mononoke" and the VERY succesful "Spirited Away". Watching Miyazaki's films is like experiencing light-hearted enchantment. "Kiki" was the first Miyazaki-film I saw (unfortunately only in a Dutch dubbed version), and it amazed me with its magic, beneath which are pointed observations of human nature, with love for the unusual detail. When Kiki's father lifts her above his head before she leaves for the big city in the beginning of the film, I always get tears in my eyes...

On these pages you will find some cels from "Akira", some cels from "LA Blue Girl" (which have another -obvious- attractive side), and a wonderful cel of Miyazaki's Kiki.

I hope you'll enjoy my website, and if you have anything to add or any other comments, please e-mail me:

Hans Walther

All images © and TM of the respective studios.


You can click on the thumbnails to see larger images.

opc-akira-kiyoko.jpg (36284 bytes)

AKIRA (1987)
Hand-painted production set-up of Kiyoko (scene 2056 - no.5). I also have the matching drawing of the plasma.
Chief animator: Takashi Nakamura.
Animation directors: Yoshio Takeuchi and Hiroaki Sato.
Director: Katsuhiro Otomo.
Laserdisc-frames: D30415-30417 (Kiyoko) and D30409-30410 (plasma).

"Akira" is not merely a technical "tour de force". The vast machinery of cels and xerography and ink-and-paint has been harnassed to a unified expressive purpose. A mesmerizing blend of high government conspiracies, teenage angst, revolution, evolution, and motorcycle gang mayhem, topped off by a 21st-century telekinetic detonation, "Akira" would be classic science fiction, and thrilling cinema, even if it weren't animated. It's no wonder director Otomo insisted on shooting "Akira" in 70mm.: Neo-Tokyo, circa 2019 A.D., has been visualized down to the last brushstroke of graffiti, and every detail is worth seeing.


opc-AkiraScientist.jpg (46233 bytes)

AKIRA (1987)
Production cel of the scientist from what is still one of my favorite anime-films. I also have the matching drawing.
I just love the colours they used in this cel and the matching lasercopy background.

opc-akira-model.jpg (12930 bytes)

AKIRA (1987)
Hand-painted production cel. I also have the matching drawing with colour notations.
Scene 1369, level C, nr.1.
Chief animator: Takashi Nakamura.
Director: Katsuhiro Otomo.
Laserdisc-frames: C13539-13541.

Katsuhiro Otomo's feature-length "Akira" is not only the best Japanese animation ever exported to the West - it is, by any medium's measure, a bewiching cautionary tale built of astonishing images.

opc-akira-soldier.jpg (25564 bytes)

AKIRA (1987)
Hand-painted production cel of a handcuffed terrorist. I also have the matching drawing.
Chief animator: Takashi Nakamura.
Animation directors: Yoshio Takeuchi and Hiroaki Sato.
Director: Katsuhiro Otomo.
Laserdisc-frames: A26410-26411.

Director Katsuhiro Otomo was the acclaimed writer and artist of multi-volume sagas like "Fire Ball", "Domu" and the original magazine version of "Akira", reprinted in the States by Marvel's Epic Comics division. Otomo has made two live-action movies ("Give Me a Gun, Give Me Freedom" in 1988 and "World Apartment Horror" in 1991), but his only work in animation prior to "Akira" had been a few short films.

The animation in "Akira" is fuller than usual for Japan (Otomo, too, is a Disney-fan), but what matters most is that his feast of visual ingenuity has real heat and passion behind it.

opc-labluegirl-yasha.jpg (26244 bytes)

Hand-painted production cel of Miyu from this Japanese animation-film. I also have the matching drawing.

Miko Mido and her sister Miyu are descended from an ancient Ninja-clan which has kept piece with Shikima, a demonic force, under a 600 year old treaty. Now Miko has suddenly been charged with running the family business while the clan's most sacred relic, the signet case that sealed the demons bargan, has been stolen by rival Suzuka-clan members. Can Miko get it back, save Miyu from the tenticled denizens of the underworld and keep the Shikima from overrunning the earth? Yes, of course she can, but en route there's much tenticle rape, orifice abuse and shredding of underwear.

opc-labluegirl-yasha-bra.jpg (27626 bytes) LA BLUE GIRL (I and II)
Hand-painted production cel of Miyu from this Japanese animation-film. I also have the matching drawing.
opc-kiki.jpg (23159 bytes) KIKI'S DELIVERY SERVICE (1989)
Production cel of Kiki from one of the first sequences in the film, where she packs her bags. Here she's listening to her moneybox to see how much money is in there. The cel has a matching drawing of part of the bookcabinet, where Kiki has hidden her moneybox behind the books. This exact same cel can be seen in a Japanese book with artwork from the film (I have the book, but as it's totally in Japanese, I don't know if it's a press-book or anything else.)

Kiki's mouth is on a second cel-level; the cels are numbered C33 and D2.
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