Tag Archives: collecting

Japanese Ink Stamps: Not Just For Craft Nerds!

7 Jan

One of the more unusual items that I have a passion for collecting are anime-themed rubber stamps. Unlike stickers, ink stamps last “forever” and can be used again and again on letters, cards and other documents. My obsession originated from swapping letters with my penpal, Vanima. She has quite a talent for papercraft and her letters are always exquisitely (yet tastefully) decorated with glitter, stickers and of course, anime stamps. Inspired by her creativity, I started to build up my own collection of anime character stamps as well in order to make my letters more visually stimulating!


Drawer #1 contains some roller stamps (Kare Kano and Cardcaptor Sakura), plastic-mounted stamps (Inu Yasha gashapon, Prince of Tennis), foam rubber-mounted stamps (Fruits Basket) and wood-mounted stamps (Sentimental Graffiti, Seraphim Call, Naruto, Saiyuuki, Tokimeki Memorial, Wolf’s Rain). There’s also 4 hand-carved stamps which were made by luvmegabyte on deviantArt.


Drawer #2 contains many of my miniature stamps. The little square ones scattered about are San-X Nyan Nyan Nyanko stamps. The cylindrical ones all along the bottom are self-inking Fullmetal Alchemist stamps. There’s also wood-mounted miniature stamps from Gundam Wing, Fushigi Yuugi and Tonari no Totoro. The larger, self-inking Magic Knight Rayearth stamps are very cheaply made and I imagine they were sold as gashapon or at convenience stores. I love them nonetheless. There’s a little group of 3 Marmalade Boy character stamps mounted on cardboard that Vanima gifted to me. I adore them! I imagine they were given as a furoku in a phonebook manga to be mounted on cardboard.


Drawer #3 mostly contains Di Gi Charat stamps, if you can’t tell. There are even more Di Gi Charat stamps that were produced that I really want and cannot find anywhere. (Help me find them?!) I got 8 of them from Anime Gamers’ U.S. store website when it was functional. The top 3 Ah Megami-sama stamps came with a limited edition video game in Japan. I bought them off of my friend Dave since he never used them. Then there’s that creepy Dokodemo Issho cat thing.


Drawer #4 contains a few stamps I feel really lucky to have gotten. I got a good deal on all of the culinary Slayers stamps from someone on LiveJournal who was selling their anime collection. Unfortunately, the set was missing Lina Inverse, so she’s on my list of stamps to find someday. The Tamahome and Miaka roller stamp (which is mounted on top of a mechanical pencil) was acquired on eBay and Totoro was a gift from my boyfriend. The Summon Nights stamps are actually 2 different sets (I should have opened them to photograph!) that I purchased from Animaxis along with the Howl’s Moving Castle set. The Jiji and his GF stamp says “Taihenyoku dekimashita!”, and it is one of many Ghibli stamps I’ve acquired from J-List. (The only anime shop that seems to sell stamps anymore… orz)


Drawer #5 has a Korean Doremi set, a really gorgeous Tonari no Totoro set in a wooden box, Fullmetal Alchemist, Kyou Kara Maoh!, Tsubasa and more Saiyuuki. The Doremi stamps often meld themselves into the bottom of their little box and are very difficult to remove. -_-;


Drawer #6 contains Pokemon and Hello Kitty Rollers, a set of Candidate for Goddess and a number of hand-carved stamps. While these stamps are difficult to show you because of how they are made, they are undoubtedly some of the most beautiful and treasured that I own. I discovered them on eBay one day and I ended up purchasing almost every stamp listed by the seller at the time because I was so impressed with them. I have since made friends with the stamp artist, Yoshito, and I plan to commission him to create some stamps of my favorite characters in the future as well. They are so exquisitely and professionally carved, you would not believe it. The stamps I have here by him are of Belldandy (Ah Megami-sama!), Horo (Spice and Wolf), Konata and Kagami (Lucky Star), Cloud (FFVII) and Sephiroth (FFVII). They are amazing! If you ever wish to have a handmade stamp, I will refer you to Yoshito. He is very happy to have new customers and is a remarkably friendly fellow!


Drawer #7 is the last drawer (for now) and it contains a very old set of Hello Kitty stamps as well as a set of katakana (I love this!) and a kawaii girl themed Western Zodiac set. I’d like to get my mitts on a hiragana set (I know there is one!) but I have yet to find it for sale.

In case you are wondering about the “drawer” thing, my stamps are kept in a very sturdy wooden set of drawers that I purchased a number of years ago at The Container Store for around $40. They are long and deep, and could not be more perfect for storing my collection!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this little look into my rubber stamp world. You can actually find much more detailed descriptions of each stamp, along with translations of the Japanese ones, in my Japanese Stamp Collection gallery on Flickr. Unfortunately, my collecting of anime stamps has slowed to a near halt because of the sheer fact that anime stamps are rarely produced anymore, save for those by Studio Ghibli. While the Ghibli stamps are of remarkable quality, they are also very expensive and continuing to order every set of them would likely take away from the variety in my collection. It seems that from now on, my stamp collecting will end up being limited to searching for rare out of production stamps from the ’90s on eBay and Yahoo Japan auctions.

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The Dying Art of Cel Collecting

4 Nov

It all started with the Allen Schezar cel above. For $50, I acquired an actual piece of one of my all-time favorite animations, Tenkuu no Escaflowne. Little did I know that it would spawn a collecting addiction that would last for years. The only thing that would stop me, in the end, was the animation industry’s ceasing of using cels to create animation altogether. You could say I was broken-hearted when animation switched over to full CG, but in the long run I was a lot better off. Cel collecting is a habit that really broke the bank, but if I could go back and do it all over again, I would. Nothing quite compared to the high of acquiring an actual piece of your favorite moment of your favorite show while knowing it was one of a kind. I also made a lot of good friends while collecting cels who I still keep in contact with to this day. Lets consider this post my ode to the dying art of collecting animation cels.

 

My favorite anime at the time was far and away “Fushigi Yuugi”. It was also the show from which I focused my cel collecting. The same year that I got the Allen Schezar cel, I found this Tamahome cel online and asked my dad to get it for me for Christmas. I eagerly awaited the holiday and when it finally came, Tamahome was mine! I couldn’t have been happier. After that, I began to scour the web for sites that sold cels and also discovered a cel forum where I would eventually come to make a lot of good friends. I built up a very respectable collection of FY cels.

 

There’s no doubt that the pinnacle of my cel-collecting “career” was aquiring this opening sequence cel of Tamahome and Miaka. For a cel collector, owning part of the most re-used sequence of your favorite show – the opening – is a special thing, indeed.

 

Many dollars, cels and years later, one of my final purchases was this shot of Nuriko. While far from ideal, it is possibly my personal favorite cel for a variety of reasons. One of them perhaps being that Nuriko was far and away the most popular, rare, and expensive character to collect cels of. The harder it became for me to get ahold of a Nuriko cel, the more I wanted one. At the time, it became an obsession. I ended up landing a few “better” shots of Nuriko, but nothing topped this one for me. Nuriko looked his best by far in this episode, and he is wearing my favorite of his costumes, which I would later sew from scratch for cosplay. This cel has so much sentimental value to me, that if I could, I would purchase a better cel from the sequence if I had the chance, even though I no longer collect cels. Another image from this sequence belongs to my good friend Jody of Mind Eclipse Cels, so check out her gallery.

 

Fushigi Yuugi certainly was not the only show I collected cels from, but it was the most special to me. Over the years I acquired some stunning pieces of the show and even now I would have a horribly difficult time selling them if I was strapped for cash. The fact that they are one of a kind is perhaps what made collecting cels so incredibly alluring to me and to many others. Over the years I was fortunate enough to get several cels autographed by Watase Yuu and even one by Midorikawa Hikaru, making them even more special and unique.

 

While I am content no longer being able to collect cels, I certainly don’t regret the time that I did and I still greatly treasure my collection.  I am thankful for the friends I made who shared my hobby (most especially Ryouko, LadyBrick and Trebuchet) and the help they gave me in finding the scenes I loved. As an avid fan of animation, I can honestly say that it was an incredibly exciting and fulfilling hobby, and I will always look back upon it with happiness in my heart. While it is unfortunate that cels are no longer used in creating animation, it only makes the ones that still exist that much more extraordinary.

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