Examples of Anime’s Cel to Digital Conversion

Though much less frequent these days as the anime industry has all but completely converted to using digital means to animate shows (Sazae-san I believe is an exception which still uses cels), it wasn’t so long ago that debates about the merits of cel animation vs digital animation were a common sight among certain groups of otaku. Those on the side of cels would accuse digital animation of lacking life and energy, those on the side of digital would ask the cel supporters why they liked having dust on their animation frames so much. These days, I think it’s fair to say that much like 2d vs 3d animation, or drawing with paper vs drawing with a tablet, each has its own merits.

It can be difficult to compare digital to cel in the sense that usually entire shows have been done one way or the other, but there are a few which were made during that transitional period between cel and digital, and so they too are transitional. A brief list follows, if you want to take a closer look.

1) The Big O

Season 1 was done with cel animation, the Cartoon Network-sponsored Season 2 was done entirely digitally. Some will say that the second season lacked something the first had in terms of visuals, possibly that everything feels too “clean.” Judge for yourself.

2) Galaxy Angel

Again, Season 1 was all cel while for Season 2 Broccoli decided to go digital. They also decided to cover up Forte Stollen’s cleavage but that’s a discussion for another time.

3) JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure (Stardust Crusaders)

In an odd twist, the later parts of the manga were animated in the 90s while the earlier parts were animated in the 2000s. Watching this show in chronological order can be very unusual.

4) Gaogaigar Final

Now this was really meant to be a big budget OVA and it shows. Gaogaigar Final began production in 1999 (with the first episode out in 2000), and ended in 2003. Being an OVA, there was a long period between each episode, so the jump to digital is rather sudden when watched side to side. This is probably the one that best exemplifies the power of both cel and digital animation.

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Understanding the “Emotionless” Anime Girl

I’ve heard it all before, about how otaku like the quiet, blue-haired anime girls because they’re empty dolls onto which fans can imprint any sort of fantasy on them. It’s supposed to be a selfish fantasy that speaks nothing of REAL women.

And this is wrong.

The first step to understanding the “emotionless” anime girl is to realize that they’re not emotionless at all. More important than the quiet distance that they usually provide is the evidence of emotion that appears. Because they are so quiet all the time, any actions they take are that much more significant. They may even say that they’re unable to feel anything, but when evidence proves otherwise, it fascinates the viewer, who gets a brief glimpse at what the character may really be all about.

Ayanami Rei’s stern reaction to Shinji holding that pair of broken glasses.

Eureka’s simple comment that Renton is “interesting.”

Nagato Yuki contributing to the defeat of the Computer Club.

Vanilla H’s anything and everything.

And of course, Hoshino Ruri discovering her childhood.

If someone wants a blank slate to fantasize over, the truth is that any character will do. But fans who love the “emotionless” type do not do it out of some desire for an everywoman, they do it out of the desire to see what this specific girl is all about. More important than imprinting an image onto the character is striving to find out what the character is all about.

PS: As I’ve said in a previous post, I don’t count Kawazoe Tamaki in this category. She’s just a quiet girl who wears her heart on her sleeve.