Thirteen Lucky Years
last modified: Monday, August 03, 2015 (7:13:01 PM CST)
No big news, but I was just noticing today that my RS gallery was begun on August 3, 2002, with this being the first cel uploaded:
Appropriately, it's the first cel to appear, chronologically, in Cardcaptor Sakura, the series I began collecting. It shows up during the dream sequence that begins Ep. 1, before the alarm clock awakens Sakura to get ready for school.
It's been quite a string of years, with some bad luck at auction-closing time but enough good luck to keep me engaged in the hobby for the long haul. In fact, I'm surprised at some of the items I've managed to snag, and more than happy with the diversity of series that I've come to collect. It's been a good pastime for me, beginning at a very tough time for me and carrying me through to a quieter, happier way of life.
My best wishes to those who have visited and wished me well during this time -- and to those who compete with me on the same auctions: Wait until next time!
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last modified: Sunday, November 30, 2014 (7:31:50 PM CST)
The past weeks I've been busy, partly with business, partly with my last 2014 update, and then I picked up a nasty throat cold that put me down for most of a week. So it was a surprise to find that my gallery counter had gone over 125K sometime during this time.
These counter events aren't the festive events they used to be: part of that was seeing how Google bots made up a lot of the hits when I was about to go over the 100K point, which made that event a lot less to celebrate. Updates too used to occasion a lot more chatter and private mail, but now I'm happy with the couple of kudos that I get over in Beta. Still, I'm pleased that my gallery is still active and still being visited, though more quietly than before.
It does bother me, however, that this blog function isn't being used as often. I'm glad to see it starting to re-emerge in the RS community dynamics -- there was a time when there were no active blogs at all, and the "community" page on that website was a lonely place to visit. Now some of the chatter is springing up, thanks to some persistent curators/collectors.
But I'd be curious to get a sense of what the current RS community might find worth reading and commenting on. I don't want to flog dead horses, or talk shop about animation details that interest me but might be too technical for most visitors. Any suggestions? What about my collection/experience/enthusiasms might passers-by like to hear more about?
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A "New" Cel
last modified: Saturday, November 16, 2013 (12:46:36 PM CST)
Last winter I bought a miscellaneous batch of cels from Sanrio's "Legend of Syrius" aka "The Sea Prince and the Fire Child." Mostly I was interested in a set showing some of the sea creatures, as the film seems a model for Disney's "Little Mermaid" in this regard. But I was puzzled by one cel that came with the batch, an elegant blonde-haired sylph that I assumed was one of Malta's fellow fire-children.
I actually did a special view-through of the film, looking for this character alone, enjoying myself, but, alas, not finding the cel. And yet the character design obviously had the exact same feel as "Syrius," and fit well with the other cels that I got, which I could track down. Perhaps a deleted scene? In the end I put the pretty cel up in the "Syrius" gallery as an "unknown," hoping some visitor would have more information.
But actually I solved the riddle through one of my random trawls through Yahoo Japan. There, in a cel being sold by a dealer (who also was offering a "Syrius" cel) was the same character -- and happily some information on its source.
I could understand my confusion. Sanrio, seeking to develop a bigger market for animated films, released a series of titles in the early 1980s including "Syrius" and the two Unico movies. The last of their projects was a quirky homage to Disney's classic "Fantasia," titled "Yosei Florence." (It was briefly available in North America on a VHS tape titled "A Journey through Fairyland.") This was, according to one filmography report I found in English, some four years in the making, with entirely hand-traced cels and all sorts of special effects. Unfortunately, it failed to be commercially successful in Japan, and its failure essentially ended Sanrio's efforts in making feature animated films. Still, the reviewer says, "Florence has a secure place in anime history as a tour-de-force of full animation."
Cels from this project don't seem common -- I found one other on RS. But I've given this mystery cel its place of honor in my "One or Two of a Kind" gallery, alongside some other "Golden Age" rarities. And I'll certainly look for more from the same film.
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Quirky Tour: 24 CCS Gems
last modified: Saturday, October 05, 2013 (7:50:17 PM CST)
It's been a while since I used this blog function. I'm still collecting, though I'm doing so on a tight budget, so updates are less frequent and less splashy (though I still find them enjoyable to plan and put up).
But I'm settling into a mindset where I expect that more of my work will be devoted to housing what I already own properly and continuing to look for ways to make my gallery easy to explore. I got some good ideas from the Anime-Beta Open House earlier this summer, both from comments and from my exploration of other largish online galleries.
One idea was to call out some "stars" or "gems" from the larger collection and put them in an introductory gallery, with links in the descriptions to the item's main page in its proper gallery. At the time of the Open House, I did a "Quirky Tour" with gems from 24 series that aren't as visited as those from other series (such as Tennimon and CCS). That got good marks from the Open Housers, so I've made that a permanent gallery at the top of my list.
And now I've added a Quirky Tour of CCS gems. It includes some "Top 50 numbers" (how could I leave out "Sakura in the Pink Kitty Suit"?) but also a lot of others that are newer or get fewer hits for some reason. And I planned it so that if you work through the 24, you get to visit every subsection of my diverse CCS holdings.
That will eventually become a permanent gallery, and I'm making plans for a "24 Tennimon Gems" that will join the others (probably in January 2014).
And, as always at the start of the month, I've given the gallery a new banner, background, and color scheme, this one playing with the spectacular sunsets we get in Cephiro at this time of year. Comments are welcomed!
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First update of 2013
last modified: Tuesday, January 15, 2013 (10:51:45 AM CST)
New stuff is up: the most splashy this time is CGI art. "Rozen Maiden" gets just one addition, but an immensely significant one if you know the last episode well (SPOILER!). And there's a new gallery for the likeable Bones series "Ouran High School Host Club," with three engaging roughs. And "Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne" has its Ep. 34 gallery expanded and gets a new Ep. 37 one, thanks to a new trove of art that showed up on auction. SPOILERS! but it's interesting to see runs of art from the same episode and even adjacent scenes. You really begin to get a sense for the individual artists involved in creating that story.
And cels! I'd wanted a really nice cel of "Hyper Police's" hunky werewolf Batanan from the adventure in which he's shrunk back to childhood (puppyhood?), and that came with two other minor but pretty items. And if you are adventurous, look through the grab-bag of cels from the 1980s "Gegege no Kitaro," a fun mix of folklore, horror, and Toei's physical humor.
Plus I've continued to work on the new "architecture" of the gallery, which clusters the galleries into three heads, one dealing with "Golden Age" (pre-1990) series, one with "Classic Cels" (1990-2000) and one with "Contemporary CGI" (2000+) art. I redid the "Quick Gallery Tour" to fit, and hope that this provides a good first move for visitors of what has become a rather daunting home page, full of gallery titles. Reactions welcome!
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A thought from 2006
last modified: Wednesday, December 19, 2012 (8:53:12 AM CST)
Recently, looking for something else, I found a copy of a comment I'd made on Anime-Beta back in December 2006. I began by commenting on how I'd recently expanded my gallery's focus from CLAMP-related titles like CCS and MKR, plus Tenshi ni Narumon, and added new galleries for less familiar titles. These included under-the-radar series like Condition Green, Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne, and the Tree of Palme film. Then I added:
The thing that concerns me is the way this eclecticism has moved me out of the mainstream of Beta conversations. I donít get the visits and feedback that I used to, I think probably because most other collectors generally donít visit galleries of series that they donít know from watching.
The hot series, like [titles of then-popular series snipped out] are pricy and donít interest me as much artistically as art from less-well-known series that I find artistically superior. But not getting the feedback I used to get does bother me.
I guess I have to trust my gut, though, and collect things that it tells me are really compelling as art, rather than to generate more feedback by going with the flow.
Finding that old comment comforted me a little, as I was feeling somewhat down after doing a gigundous amount of work on my recent update (including a reorganization of my home page) and getting just a couple of visits. But I see it's not a new problem. I'm sure that many collectors see the update, look at the titles, mutter "Whatever!" and move on in search of whatever the new hot or old classic title is.
But I still trust my gut. It's led me interesting places, and the last six years have been ones of growth, both in learning about the intriguing and lesser-known history of anime before DBZ and Sailor Moon, and in appreciating art that is eyeworthy regardless of the series it comes from.
And while I don't get very many comments any more, I still get that old excitement when I do an update, even if it's just for my own eyes. And the counter still keeps ticking up (yeah, yeah, bot visits many of them) so there must be people out there who want to know more than the two dozen anime series that everyone knows.
My thanks to my dwindling number of supporters, and my invitation to the random visitors to come in and get yourself lost. You'll find something that you didn't know existed, and I hope you'll come away changed, as I've been changed.
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Mayan Doomsday Update on the way
last modified: Saturday, November 24, 2012 (4:53:56 PM CST)
Somewhat to my surprise, it looks as if I have enough things in the pipeline to justify one more 2012 update, just in time for the "End of the Year/World Review."
(For Newbies, this is an annual event in which I look back over the year's action and name the series or gallery that has seen the strongest growth. Until 2006 Cardcaptor Sakura had the title wrapped up, and then in 2007 Magic Knight Rayearth knocked it off. CCS recouped in 2008, then Tenshi ni Narumon won in 2009, and lately Rozen Maiden has been on top with back-to-back firsts in 2010 and 2011.)
The new items look to upset the competition somewhat: if all goes well there will be another new gallery, plus two unique items in "One or Two of a Kind," some splashy additions to a gallery that has never rated higher than #11 in previous contests, and a major set of acquisitions in another gallery that has not seen any action since Spring 2008.
It looks to be a year for spoilers, as well as justification for keeping the faith and checking the trap line regularly. Many seemingly "finished" collections got expanded in unexpected and pleasing ways, even as "ongoing hunts" sometimes ended with satisfying bags. I haven't made final decisions yet, but it's safe to say that, failing one more spectacular auction win, Rozen Maiden will not make it three in a row. Time for a new king or queen of the hill!
I expect the update to go up sometime before Dec. 21, so everyone can see the new stuff and the review before Nibiru (or is it Nakuru?) smashes Earth into bits. (I have a couple of magical girls' numbers programmed into my Smart phone so I can get my cels and sketches to safety in time.)
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Celebrating Ten Years
last modified: Friday, August 03, 2012 (11:16:47 AM CST)
Today marks the tenth anniversary of Sensei's Anime Gallery. While I did not officially open it until the fifth, so I could clean up all the bugs and typos, I started uploading items on August 3, 2002, beginning with my "Cardcaptor Sakura 01: Episode 01" page.
It's been an interesting and entertaining activity ever since. I can't think of a time when I really neglected it for long (and for no good reason), and around the edges I've been trying to keep it current and fresh-looking ever since. It still amuses me that academic books I've published had press runs of 1500 to 2500 copies, while this gallery is ready to cross its 90K mark on the hits counter. (Yes, yes, inflated a bit by indexer bots, but still good enough to keep it in RS's top ten popular galleries -- thanks to all my followers!)
I've marked it with an update in several areas, both old passions (CCS and TnN) and new ones (Rozen Maiden, Syrius no Densetsu). But if you're interested in history, please have a look at my new "Quirky Tour"
This goes back to that time in August 2002 and looks at some of the cels that I had in my little collection at the time. Putting it together revived some old memories of the anime art collecting scene of the time, back before deputy services became the standard source of new possessions.
It also reminded me of how much chatter there was in forums and in email between collectors. The intensity of that chatter is one thing I enjoyed then and miss now, although I continue to appreciate strong friendships built in the ten years since this gallery's founding. I hope that the community carries on, in a quiet but still supportive way, for another ten years. Certainly I'll be around for a while yet.
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AnimeNEXT, Somerset NJ, June 8-10
last modified: Saturday, June 02, 2012 (1:51:33 PM CST)
Anyone in the New Jersey area is invited to come to AnimeNEXT at the Garden State Exhibit Center, Somerset, New Jersey. (This is very easy to get to from I-287, exit 10.) It's a smallish con, but that makes it easier to meet and hang out with people.
I will be on two (maybe three) panels. One, which is my creation, is a rather serious talk about the ways in which some anime (notably CCS) deals with the developmental issue in which young girls transfer their affection from their fathers to socially lawful partners. Another will talk about the brony phenomenon and ways in which it is similar in many ways to the fan reception of anime.
I'd put in for a panel on "Anime under the Radar," in which I'd planned to talk about series that I discovered while cel collecting, and which I haven't actually been able to screen. (Like Microid S and Maeterlinck's Blue Bird.) But it's actually OFF the radar in the proposed schedule, so it may not come off. (The other panelists had their own slate of anime they wanted to discuss, ranging from Hajime no Ippo to Heat Guy J.)
So no cel/sketch-devoted panels this time, but I'd love to hang out with any collectors who come and could be induced to bring a book or box up with me.
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last modified: Wednesday, May 23, 2012 (7:21:58 PM CST)
Continuing my interest in art from lesser-known anime series, I finished up my "May Madness" with a cel from the 1988 Madhouse single-episode OVA "Yousei-ou."
The series, which translates to "The Fairy King," is a rethinking of Celtic mythology and fairylore in Japanese terms. The protagonist is a human who's invited into the fairy realm by the ancient Irish hero Cuchullain to help defeat the evil Queen Mab, leader of the dark elves.
The cel is intense and well preserved for its age. It not only shows Jack in a tense moment but includes an interesting rethinking of Puck, the well-known trickster/shapeshifter used to good effect by Shakespeare. (This Puck is, from what I can tell, much more like the mischievous animal spirits of Japanese folklore.)
The series comes with strong credentials, being based on a manga by Naoko Yamagishi, since recipient of the Tezuka Cultural Award Grand Prize for her work in the field. Animation direction/character design are by Takuo Noda, an artist with a long list of credentials, ranging from Tiger Mask in the early 70s to the 2011 X-Men anime.
Yousei-ou cels don't seem common: I couldn't find any other held in an online shop or gallery and don't recall ever seeing a previous one come up for sale. It's a pity that the OVA, like other anime series I've found visually attractive, isn't available in English. From the cel and the scattered information I've gleaned on the web, it seems like it would be well worth a watch.
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