Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Why Akira Matters -

About this project

The ToonSeum is proud to present an exhibition featuring original art from the groundbreaking anime classic Akira.

Katsuhiro Otomo’s anime masterpiece Akira is widely regarded as one of the most groundbreaking and influential films of all time. Based on the artist’s own landmark manga series of the same name, the film not only shattered box office records around the world but has retained a fiercely dedicated audience of animators and aficionados for more than twenty years – and for good reason. Akira revolutionized animation and arguably saved the Japanese film industry, paving the way for a new generation of artists and spawning a worldwide acceptance of animation as high art.

Akira was an epic collaboration and full of animation firsts. Adapted from thousands of pages of manga and pooling resources from several of Japan’s largest entertainment companies, the production cost over $10 million, which in 1988 made it the most expensive animated feature ever made. Akira was the first animated film in Japan to record its voice actor’s performances before principle animation began so that character’s facial expressions and lip movements could be synchronized. An elaborate symphonic score was written and conducted by composer Shoji Yamashiro, a then unheard of indulgence that has become one of the most definable and enduring features of the film.

No other film had ever looked like Akira, it’s stunningly fluid and detailed animation often requiring 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.

In 2010, the historical and artistic significance of Akira cannot be understated. As the popularity and influence of animation continues to expand, the Akira Exhibit gives audiences the unique opportunity to take a deeper look into this unparalleled achievement in filmmaking. Each item in the exhibit has been hand selected by Akira expert Joe Peacock from his unrivaled collection of more than 10, 000 authenticated pieces.

Visitors will be given access to never-before-seen aspects of the film, from fully-displayed backgrounds, sketches and production development layouts, to the layers of cels that made up some of the most astounding scenes in the film.

The Akira Exhibit promises to be an enthralling experience, sure to captivate any fan of animation and graphic storytelling, from anime enthusiast to those witnessing Otomo’s grand vision for the fist time.

We are seeking public support to help present this remarkable exhibition. Your pledge helps pay for the cost of framing, marketing, and educational programing.
Thank you.

Project location: Pittsburgh, PA