Starting things off with a bang!

27 02 2010

In the summer of 2003, I began collecting anime cels.  In particular my favorite series was Dragon Ball Z.  I spent many years buying and selling, and through all of that time I have seen many many cels.  Some I tried to get through private collectors, some I tried to bid on through Yahoo! Japan and others I actually managed to get! haha.  But through that entire time I happened to save nearly every cel I came across that was worthwhile.  At least worth a passing glance, that is.  I have a fascination with animation and the entire process, so I have all kinds of images from 2003 to now saved on my computer.  Thousands!  So why keep them all to myself?  Some of these cels may never be posted online again, the one below in particular hasn’t been seen since July 2003.  So what to do with all these images?  Well I thought I’d just start posting them online for whoever is interested to check out!  Some have a story, some don’t.  When applicable I guess I’ll talk about it.

Gohan transforming into SSJ2 for the first time and in tears!

This cel went for around $3,400 US or 403,000 yen!

The one above is a biggie though.  So let’s start things off with a bang shall we?  The one above popped up on Yahoo! Japan a few months after I started collecting.  It, as you may know, is from a very famous scene where Gohan transforms into Super Saiyan 2 for the very first time.  It is missing the tears layer, the vide of course features Gohan crying, but otherwise it’s in very fine condition.  If you’re not familiar with how cels are created, they usually sketch them out on pieces of paper called Genga and then use a process similar to Xerox to transfer the image to clear acetate.  Then they are painted from behind so that the color/paint appears smooth from the front.  Unfortunately, this is a process that makes it cheaper to animate the shows and TOEI Animation who created Dragon Ball Z was one of the many studios who used it.  This causes the black lines, if exposed to too much UV light to fade into an orage color.  If not taken care of they can completely disappear.  I think I have an image of one like that.

This is what happens when you don't take care of a cel.

As you can see, this cel in particular has faded to a point where almost no lines are present.  Unfortunately.  It appears lighter colors affect this too.  I’m not sure why this is, maybe it has something to do with how lighter colors reflect light or who knows.  But I’ve noticed, white and yellow in particular faded more than lines surrounded by black.  Even though I believe black absorbs light, but then maybe that’s why.  Anyway that’s not the cel we want to focus on.

The SSJ2 Gohan is!  And boy what a cel too.  To date, I think it has sold for more than any other DB/Z/GT cel I’ve come across in the past 7 years.  Somewhere in the neighborhood of 403,000 yen or $3,400 at the time (based on the exchange rate back then).

I placed a bid on it, but I won’t say how much!  It was dwarfed by the final price!  As you can see it’s still in good shape even though it has a little line fading!  Still has pretty much all the layers!  And if you pay attention, it is marked as an “END cel” which if you don’t know, means it was drawn by a key animator.  Key cels are usually of better quality than the others who are done by “inbetweeners.”  The very first, last and “key” frames of an animation are usually done this way.  This is the last or end cel.  This makes it’s value go up even more.

Not to mention the pivotal scene this is from, check it out in this video.

(Japanese)

(English Dub).

For those interested there’s actually a version somewhere out there that combines the music from the Japanese with the English dub version.   After discovering that Gohan has a hidden power in him that can only come out when provoked, Cell pushes him as far as he can to try and bring it out.   At first Gohan isn’t sure of why his dad would let him take his place in the fight against Cell, after all Gohan sees his dad as the most powerful warrior in the entire universe.  And at that point he is, but Goku saw the dormant power lying inside of Gohan while they trained for the Cell Games and when Gohan figures out Goku’s plan he explains it to Cell.  Big mistake.  Cell tortures his friends and kills Android 16 by stepping on his head and smashing it.  For the Dragon Ball enthusiasts you already know that in Japan he is really a cyborg so that’s why there is blood present in the Japanese clip.  Anyway, this cyborg’s death pushes him to the limit and in a huge explosion of anger and tears Gohan transforms, being the first to pass the SSJ2 mark.

Gohan is pissed!

The cel was not won by an American bidder, it was won by someone who was native to Japan.  Fun fact, a lot of auctions on Yahoo! Japan will not ship outside of Japan because they don’t want these cels going to anyone else.  This isn’t always the case, of course, but some collectors there believe it’s supposed to stay in the hands of the Japanese since it’s a Japanese anime.  Which is fine.  A lot of collector’s have to bid through a sort of middle-man service like Celga.com.  Anyway, it stays in Japan and I haven’t seen this pop up in any fan gallery since.  So I saved the image and for those interested, here it is!  There’s the story behind it!  And so begins my silly Dragon Ball Cel Collecting blog!

Maybe next time I’ll show you a cel from another famous SSJ2 Gohan related scene!

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