When you first consider buying production cels you do not think of it as being to complicated. But those bits of plastic with paint can come in many forms. Hopefully this guide will help sort things out a little.
What exactually is an Anime Cel?
Production cels are used to make shows such as Rugrats, Street Fighter, Disney shows and many other Animated cartoons. Anime cels are production cels from Japanese animation shows, such as Pokemon and Card Captor Sakura.
The following are some terms that you might come across and may need to know.
Registration holes - These are the holes at the top of the cel and are on all production cels, unless the studio has cropped them.
Cel/Sequence Number - At the top right there is a number for each cel. These are the sequence numbers for the particular cel.
Reproduction Cel - These are not Original cels used for the making of the show. These cels should not cost as much as an original cel.
Matching Sketch - All cels have sketches which they are made from. Most of the time your cel will come with the sketch, but sometimes they can get damaged or go missing. Sometimes a seller may include an 'Unmatching Sketch'. This is a sketch that will not match your cel.
Key Cel and Sketch - These are drawn by the Lead Animator of the series and can be quite high in price. The sketches alone are amazing.
End Cel - These are one of a kind. They are the end cel in a sequence and can also be high in price.
Pan/oversized Cel - These are much larger in size than ordinary cels and are also higher in price. They are rectangular in shape.
Background - Cels do not usually come with backgrounds and if they do then you can add on $10 in price easily. Sometimes a cel might come with a 'Matching Background' which is the background used with the cel. Or you might get an 'UnMatching background', which is just a background with the cel.
Book Cel - This has a few elements to it. The cel stuck between a background and a foreground. These can also fetch a high price and are uncommon.
Line Fading - This is very common. The outlines of the character will eventually fade over time and some of the older cels have minimal to heavy line fading.
Douga - This is another name for a sketch.
Genga - These are a set of sketches used to create a scene in a show.
Alot of these terms you may not come across but it does not hurt to know a little about these.
What to look for
Depending on how popular the anime is will help you figure out how much the cel might go for. For example - Sailor Moon cels have alot of competition and really lovely cels can go for quite a bit of money, where as cels from GTO can go for as little as $10.
The price will depend the quality of the cel. Does it have line fading, is it a Key or End cel, is ther a matching sketch?
Ultimately the final price will depend on demand for the character and the quality of the cel.
You pay for what you want.
For first time Buyers
I recomend buying a cheaper cel to get you acquainted with your new found hobby. If you have a favourite series then find a cel from that show. Try not to find a high-end cel first, because they can be expensive, unless you are willing to pay the price. Make sure you type in the word 'Cel' in your searches to narrow down the results. For example you might search for -
Searching for 'Anime Cel's in general might get a few too many results so try narrowing your search down to your favourite show. For example -
One other thing that you might like to do is search worldwide. There are plenty of cels available overseas and you might find more variety too.
Once you have your first cel then it will become easier to understand all the terms and what exactually you will want next time around. I wish you luck with you searches and hope you find something that you will like.