A new era of admiring Japan starting with anime cels.

I was mentored by the master animator Ichiro Itano, who worked on various anime titles such as Gundam and ULTRAMAN. I have experience working as a sketch artist and animation director for numerous major anime series and films at leading production studios in Japan. Some of my notable works include "Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba" TV series (sketch animation), "ONE PIECE Film Z" (animation director), and the official animation for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics (sketch animation).

My area of expertise is animation drawing. Starting with a text-based script, I bring characters to life in the form of sketches and design their movements to make them come alive in the anime. Working within 24 frames per second, I determine how each character will move and what expressions they will display, in a way that is tailored to fit the story. Character design is not only about creating the actors for a given production but also directing their movements and performance.

Anime involves various processes where different professionals collaborate to create a single work. However, if the characters lack motion, this process can not begin. As animators, we start from scratch, creating the identity of characters and building their world from a completely blank slate.

While not commonly known, within the genre of anime, there are still many creators who value traditional hand-drawn techniques over digitalization. One of the reasons for this is their focus on "lines" within anime. Digital lines are uniform and lack character, whereas hand-drawn lines display variations in strength, fluctuate, and exhibit a lively quality. As an animator, I give "life" to characters through the outlines I draw on a two-dimensional plane. The quality of these lines is my utmost concern.

I believe this is something deeply rooted within Japanese culture. We have a tradition of writing linguistic characters using brushes for over a thousand years. There have even been times when we drew images solely with ink on paper, using our imaginations for inspiration. We perceive things in a two-dimensional manner, employ outlines to manipulate form, and express subtle nuances through the quality of the lines drawn. These same characteristics can also be found in ukiyo-e prints. The Japanese have long mastered the use of "lines" as a form of art. What's more, the profound expression achieved through the variations and textures of lines has been passed on to the tradition of hand-drawn of cels. That's why I feel that there is still great potential for cel art.

The challenge I hope to take on through this project is to elevate cels from their role in anime to a more refined and contemporary form of art. Just as Van Gogh was captivated by the allure of Japanese design within the flat expressions of ukiyo-e prints, I want to reintroduce the charm of Japonisme to the world through anime. Cel art has the potential to achieve this. When I became an animator, cels were no longer being produced, but I always respected the significant influence they have had throughout the evolution of Japanese anime. That's why I want to learn more about cel art and enhance my skills as an animator through this project.

At CEL LAB, we are embarking on a business venture to design and sell new anime cels. I will be creating the original drawings and providing art direction for this endeavor. Experienced cel animators will share the techniques and expressions they have mastered, while members without experience with anime cels will bring fresh and flexible ideas to the table. We will collaborate with individuals beyond the anime industry, nurturing a new form of Japonisme as art. Together, we will pursue a sophisticated and captivating form of Japanese design that the world will once again admire.