Cels - Laputa: Castle in the Sky

Cels - Laputa: Castle in the Sky
Wow! This is just superb. I always feel so envious and impressed at all the Ghibli Freaks who have collected production cels. This would be a magnificent find to any collection.

This, of course, is from Laputa: Castle in the Sky, from that terrific scene of the birds on the rooftop. I'm greatly impressed with the composition of the piece, with several hungry birds dropping in on Sheeta to be fed. Here is an excellent example of my mantra for animators - show action with a single pose. This shot moves, it flows. You can see the birds flying in your head, and Sheeta reacting, laughing. This is portrait that comes to life, and a skillful example of what makes Hayao Miyazaki a master of the artform.

As an American, I am also greatly impressed by the naturalism of the moment. The birds are not portrayed as cartoon caricatures, but everyday, ordinary birds. The character designs are iconic and simple enough, but there are plenty of details, both in the textures and the poses. American animation is rooted firmly in caricature, both in the designs and the movement, and while it's useful for some things (like, say a Bugs Bunny cartoon), it's far less effective when working on a more cinematic style. An action-adventure like Castle in the Sky requires that iconic naturalism - it's the element that gives gravity to the emotional, human elements of the story.

This production cel is an excellent example of what makes Ghibli's anime work. Give it some serious study.

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