This Japanese Anime Commercial May Be the Last Cel Animation

A long time ago, every piece of anime was hand drawn on cels. This laborious technique required every single frame (including those goofy in-between frames) to be created without digital art.

Shirobako

Every cel was then painted, sometimes by a separate team. Since everything was done by human hands, this could lead to minor inconsistencies in coloring and line quality. Cels also could attract dust or show paper grain, but all of these flaws are known as “charm” amongst oldheads.

Cel animation has been dead since digital became the norm around 2005. In fact, a 2013 episode of Sazae-san is commonly regarded as the last cel-animated anime — until know.

Kyoei Forging Works manufactures engine parts, farming equipment, and conveyor belts. The blue-collar company commissioned an anime commercial to raise awareness to their existence — and it’s working!

The mecha-focused spot features high-flying action, poppin’ explosions, and crisp animation. It’s also 100% hand drawn on cels, just like the old days. Kyoei asked Yoshihiro Kanno to work on the project — you may have seen his work on Dragon Ball Z: Battle of GodsParasyte -the maxim-, and the upcoming Sword Art Online: Alicization.

Kyoei may not lead a cel animation revival movement, but it’s still a cool technique to see in action.

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