Quick Guide to Types of Non-Production Animation Art / Cels

A question that comes up often is, " is this cel/sketch real ?" Most animation art collectors want to buy the art that was actually used to produce the image they see on screen of their favorite movie or show. This becomes tricky though because there is a large amount of unofficial and officially produced art that was created solely for collectible reasons and weren't actually used in production. While these things are still fun to collect they are typically less valuable than production art. Sometimes a seller may not know what they have or may purposely misrepresent/mislabel their items. Use this guide to familiarize yourself with the different types of non-production art out there.

Official Reproduction Cels / 複製

These cels very much resemble a regular cel. They are usually hand-painted on acetate and may have peg-holes and a sequence number. The background is usually a color print out. They were typically made for shows that were CGI so no actual cels were made for the show. Multiple copies of an image or frame were made so they usually aren't too hard to find. Studio Pierrot for example produced many reproduction cels for Naruto. You will often see these repro cels with a colored paper frame on top. Sometimes reproduction Hanken cels were also made. These are usually numbered i.e. 1/100 and made in a limited quantity. 


Studio Pierrot Naruto Reproduction cel with green paper frame.30thAnniversaryGhibli-silkscreen-cel.jpg

This is a limited edition silk-screened Ghibli Reproduction cel produced for their 30th Anniversary.

Rilezu / リレイズ 

Rilezu are a type of reproduction cel but with one important difference. There is only ONE unique cel made from each frame. This makes them more rare and generally more expensive. Sometimes the rilezu may even come with the corresponding douga/genga it was based on.





Example of a Rilezu that comes with it's matching genga and douga from the Anime World Star Shop.



A sericel is a mass produced reproduction cel. They are typically copied/screen-printed rather than hand painted. They also come in non-standard sizes compared to standard production cels. Their quality usually varies and they are usually inexpensive. Ani-Magine Anime created and sold a selection of sericels advertised as "Chroma-cels"


Ad for Chroma-Cels

Fan-Made / Artist-Made / Doujin 同人 Cels

Fan-made cels are cels made by people with no affiliation to the original studios/artists. Production cels are one of kind and can be very expensive so some fans decide to make their own. They are usually hand inked and hand painted onto acetate/transparent plastic. Some images are so iconic they are copied repeatedly.


Screenshot of Rei from Evangelion