There is no other film like Katsuhiro Otomo's AKIRA, and there probably never will be again. An obsessively detailed dystopian vision of a post-apocalyptic Japan, AKIRA single-handedly saved the Japanese film industry and changed the way the world viewed animation art forever. Now visitors of the ToonSeum of Pittsburgh will have a one of a kind opportunity to view the largest collection of AKIRA production art ever displayed to the public. Culled from over 10,000 pieces or original production art from the private collection of guest curator Joe Peacock, The Art Of AKIRA promises to be an amazing experience for fanboys and first-timers alike. The historic and artistic significance of AKIRA cannot be denied; it was the pinnacle of cel animation. Complete with a definitive orchestral score and professional voice actors, AKIRA was the most expensive animated film ever made when it was released in 1988. The film is a document of many animation firsts but is especially noteworthy for being one of the last completely hand-drawn cel-animated features produced before the rise of digital technology. A collaboration of thousands of artists and thirteen Japanese production companies, this staggering adaptation has become one of the most universally praised films of all time and has inspired a revolution in animation still apparent over 20 years after its release. The Art Of AKIRA celebrates these incredible achievements by giving viewers a fascinating tour of the making of this landmark film. “Many animated films still incorporate hand-rendered art, but the cost of producing a feature using only cel animation and painted backgrounds has guaranteed that something as complex as AKIRA may never be made by a major studio again,” said ToonSeum executive director Joe Wos. “Digital technology is still trying to catch up to AKIRA. In the end nothing can replace the artistry of that human touch and the focus to detail of the human eye. This is a labor of almost fanatical love.” Comprised of over 350,000 pieces of original artwork, the stunning details of Otomo's world can be seen throughout the exhibit in rare production sketches, notes, cels, and incomparably elaborate backgrounds, several rendered by Otomo himself. Visitors will see minute details of key scenes by exploring the building blocks and complex layering techniques, from storyboard to dramatic cels with details so fine you might want to bring a magnifying glass. “Otomo and his staff obsessed over this artwork,” said Peacock. “Scenes that flash by in half a second are comprised of details so fine they could only have been produced with single-hair brushes. Even if you have no interest in anime, this artwork will still leave you speechless.” (toonseum)
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