Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

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  Question 1: What are cels?  
Web Resources:  Try these simple resources: An Introduction to Anime Cels and Animation Production Information.
  Question 2: May I borrow your images to use on my site?  
Most Likely, No:  However, I may be willing to listen to whatever reason you have for needing my scans.
  Question 3: Did you notice how blocky some of your images are?  
Color Depth:  If the images appear blocky, please switch your color depth to 32-bit color.  However, there are a few which still may look blocky in 32-bit color but that cannot be helped unless I increase the file size dramatically.
  Question 4: I have a cel that matches one of your backgrounds.  May I buy the background or have a laser copy?  Are the backgrounds real?  

Not For Sale:  No, the backgrounds are definitely not for sale.  However, I may sell non-matching backgrounds if you give me a good offer.

Real Watercolor Backgrounds:  All backgrounds are real, and I usually do not scan laser copy backgrounds (unless it's a studio laser BG).

Background Copies:  For simple backgrounds (1 layer), I can give you a large 300 dpi scan if you have the ftp/web space for it (~15-25MB zipped) and access to a color laser printer.  If you have a CD burner, you can burn the large BG scan to a CD and take it to a copy shop like Kinko's.  For a copy fee and S&H, I can also make a laser copy at a local copy shop.  I will NOT make a copy of complex, multi-layer backgrounds like book cels due to complexity.  Also, dark lighting scheme backgrounds do NOT copy well.

  Question 5: May I purchase this cel for $$$?  Do you have any cels for sale?  

Usually, No:  My response will almost always be NO, unless you offer a ludicrous amount of money.  However, for cels marked with PFS (Possibly For Sale), I may let the cel go if you give me an excellent offer.  This also applies to the cels in the incoming cels page.  I do post cels on eBay from time to time, so you can check my About Me page on eBay's site.

Even though I may run several auctions at a time, please remember that I am NOT a business; I am a private collector.  My main purpose is to collect cels, not sell them.  Otherwise, I would simply put everything on sale/auction.

  Question 6: Why aren't there price tags on the PFS cels?  
Making Offers:  I definitely do not mind keeping the PFS cels, so I will not put a price tag on them.  I only put PFS markings on certain cels when I am low in cash or need to make money to purchase more cels.  As my financial situation improves, the cels will lose their PFS tags.  PFS cels may also go up for auction on eBay.
  Question 7: How do I pay for cels purchased from your site or eBay?  How do you ship your cels?  Are you reliable?  

Payment Methods: There are 3 methods of payment that I accept.

1) Credit card and debit payment via PayPal.  I have a verified premiere account.

2) Postal or BidPay Money Order.  You may also send a money order.  It is recommended that you send a postal money order so that I can cash the money order and send the cel at the same time.  I will send the cel once I receive the money order.

3) Check.  This is the least preferred method.  If you cannot send a cashier's or certified check, then you can send a personal check ONLY if it has both your address AND driver's license number (otherwise, I will return your personal check).  I will send the cel after my bank clears the bank in about 2-5 business days.

Unless you want a different shipping option or vendor, I ship cels in a box via Priority Mail with insurance, delivery confirmation, and bubble wrap.  S&H usually runs about $6 to $8 depending on insurance costs.

Reliability:  I feel that I am reliable when selling cels.  My current eBay rating is at 110+ with zero negatives.

  Question 8: Where do you purchase your cels from?  

Cel Dealer Sites:  I have purchased my cels from professional dealers as well as private collectors.  On my links page, I have only listed the sites where I have bought and received cels from.  I will not list private collectors, unless they have set up their own cel shop.

Auctions:  With regards to auctions, I have purchased cels from eBay, Yahoo! Auctions, and Yahoo! Auctions JAPAN.

Web Sources:  As far as web resources go, is an excellent place to check out.  It even features a Keep-Track service which keeps track of updates by the major cel shop sites.

  Question 9: Since you have purchased cels internationally, can you help me with purchases from Japan?  

Language BarriersI DO NOT KNOW ANY JAPANESE, but I am able to purchase cels overseas through a variety of ways.  Most of the Japanese sites that I have listed on my links page do understand a little English, but some do not.
Note: The list of Japanese sites on my links page is NOT a complete list of all the Japanese sites that understand English.

Babelfish offers free translation services.  This may help (or even further confuse) people navigating Japanese websites.  Please make sure that you have installed a Japanese font for your browser before using these translation sites.

Proxy Bidding Services:  Many Japanese cel shop sites and Yahoo Japan auction sellers do not understand English and will not ship internationally.  In this case, you will need to hire a proxy bidding/purchasing service at Anime Dep.,, Hobby Shop K, Rinkya, or RX78GP02AGUNDAM Deputy Service.  They can handle all transaction aspects for commission.  These sites may also have direct links to specific anime series for cel auctions on Yahoo Japan.

Some Yahoo Japan auction sellers do ship internationally for those who have their own IDs.  I will NOT explain how to get such an ID due to its overwhelming complications, but you can try the auction message board at Anime Chaos: Yahoo Japan & Ebay Auctions.

International Payment:  Only a few international sites support credit card payments, so you will need to send an IPMO (International Postal Money Order) or cash at your own risk.  IPMO's to Japan cost $3.25 and look like normal postal MO's except for the pink color.  There is a $700 maximum on IPMO's.  To send the IPMO, it is recommended to use USPS Global Priority Mail (small envelope).  The small envelope costs $5 and shipping takes 3-5 days.  You will need to fill out a customs form as well.  A few sites also offer bank cable services for large orders, but I have not done this so far.

International Shipping:  As you can expect, almost all Japanese sites ship via EMS.  Yes, it is expensive ($12-15), but highly recommended due to tracking, insurance, and speed (3-5 days).  USPS will even deliver EMS packages on Sundays since it is express mail.  Some sites offer cheaper S&H like basic airmail, but I would not recommend this.  You can trace EMS tracking numbers on the and Japanese postal service sites.

  Question 10: How do I store and protect cels from damage?  

Environmental Concerns:  It is important to keep cels away from direct light (especially sunlight or UV rays), high or rapid changes in humidity (like windows or the bathroom), acidic environments, and bare hands.  Most collectors prefer to keep cels in cel bags that are, in turn, kept in cel books.  Some also like to frame their cels using acid-free/archival mats and UV-resistant glass.  Just remember to replace or recoat the glass every year.

Cel Bags:  There are special cel bags sold in Japan that snugly fit cels, but you can use any clear archival (acid-free, lignen-free, PVC-free, etc. . .) envelope/sleeve made of polypropylene.  If the bag is too big for the cel, simply fold over the edges.

Mylar is NOT recommended for storing cels.  The static cling can remove paint, and the use of tissue paper to back cels in mylar bags is horrible since paper of any kind will stick to cels over time.

One site that sells cel bags: Noriko's Anime Cels.

I personally prefer 3mm thick polypropylene 11" x 14" sleeves (open on both ends with no flaps): IconUSA (see product S19050).  I also cut up these sleeves to make 'bags' for my large pan cels.  In addition, I cut out sheets to place between unstuck cel layers or between a cel and its background.

Heiko Inc. has a US branch that sells 'cel' bags commonly used in Japan.  They do have bags for even the largest of cels (25 5/8" x 31 1/2").

Cel Matting:  As far as mats go, there is one place where I have seen matting & sleeve combos specifically made for cels: IconUSA.

Cel Books:  Almost all collectors keep cels in portfolios (solid covers with clear sleeves) that help to store cels vertically.  It is not a good idea to stack cels.  You could use any archival art portfolio found at local art stores, but Itoya archival portfolios seem to be the most popular and cost effective.  If the portfolio has a handle, then it would be best to hang the portfolio.

Several sites that sell cel books: Aloha Anime, Animanga's Cel Shop, Asylum Anime, Nichibei Anime Club, and Noriko's Anime Cels.

If you are only looking for Itoya archival portfolios, professional art stores are usually the cheapest: Utrecht Online Art Store.

Additional Info:  For more detailed information on care, storage, and framing, try these sites: Cel Info Place, Jenorama, and Nichibei Anime Club.

  Question 11: How do I remove paper, sketches, and backgrounds?  

Freezer Technique:  If you care about the sketch that is stuck, the freezer technique is recommended.  Works best if there are only a few places of adhesion.  Simply place the cel and stuck sketch in the freezer (in a cel bag of course) and wait up to an hour or until you can pry the paper apart without tearing.  The paper may be easier to pull apart if you allow the cel to come back to room temperature.  If you cannot remove all of the paper, refreeze and try again.  You may need to make many attempts over a long period of time for sketches that have many areas of adhesion.  Be careful since it is possible to tear specks of paint away from the cel this way.

You can also try this technique for stuck backgrounds, but this may require many attempts over a long period of time.  This method will also take spots of paint away from the BG.  The BG paper itself should be fine, but the BG will look (very) spotty without the cel in front of it.

Water Technique:  If you don't care about the sketch or paper that is stuck to the cel, then the water technique is recommended.  This method will destroy the paper.  Use a water-soaked paper towel or sponge and dampen the paper until you can peel it off.  This may require a lot of water.  Then use a photo cloth or dry paper towel to pick up any water that got on the cel.  Water should not remove paint from cels, but you should try to dry off the cel as soon as possible to prevent warping.

The water technique is NOT recommended for stuck (non-matching) backgrounds since the watercolors used for the BG can bleed onto the cel.

I have tried both methods myself for stuck paper.  As an example, I collect primarily AIC cels, so I use the water technique since AIC cels almost never have matching sketches.  On the other hand, I would use the freezer technique for Sunrise cels since they often come with matching sketches.  As a reminder, if you intend on keeping the sketch or background, place the cel in its own bag or separate the cel from the sketch or BG with a cut-out sheet of polypropylene to prevent re-adhesion.

Final Comment:  Try these methods AT YOUR OWN RISK.  If you do not feel comfortable trying these methods, don't do it.  If you need practice, try experimenting on cheap cels.