Princess Syaoran looks at Yukito.
Cel Number: A1
Cut 87. Sixteen years pass after the evil fairy’s curse is delivered, and in the next scene we see Princess Aurora, now grown to a mature young girl, enter the stage. Except it’s obviously Syaoran, his own brown hair sticking out from under his curly blonde wig. A titter of amusement erupts, and Syaoran, still uncomfortable in the role, turns to the audience. His gaze is met by Yukito, smiling and giving him an encouraging wave. This gives Syaoran added incentive to perform the role in as manly and dramatic a fashion as possible, and in this long return stare, we see him raise his thespian efforts to an even higher pitch. Sequence number: A1
And of course his interpretation provides quite a different understanding of the courage and determination of “Sleeping Beauty,” especially in the manga, where Syaoran deliberately does prick his finger on the fatal spindle, showing the audience that he is quite willing to shed his own blood in the name of artistic realism. (The anime, more realistically, has him stumble over his dress at this point, but there too it’s clear that he’s willing to risk injury rather than wimp out at this critical point in the play. But later -- kissing the Prince ... ah, that’s a different risk, ne?)
Ah, but seeing this cel show up at auction after a long, long wait, was a deep pleasure long deferred. This win was another of my cherished “birthday presents,” and even though I landed in the hospital for that occasion, I could not resist asking my family to bring my recently-arrived Rinkya box to the recovery room so that I could spend my birthday night in physical possession of this lovely image. The orange paints, as usual, have softened the trace lines in Syaoran’s wig, but the cel is otherwise in fine condition, as is its douga, extensively annotated so that the cel painter got all these unfamiliar costume details exactly right.
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