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Anime Cels Enter the NFT Marketplace

posted on by Kim Morrissy

A non-fungible token (NFT) is a unit of data stored on the blockchain, which is used to certify a unique transaction. NFTs are popularly used to provide a proof of ownership for a digital asset (separate from copyright), although they can also be used to represent physical collections in a digital format. In Japan, a new company, called Rakuza, has begun applying anime cels to the NFT marketplace. The "Rakuza Market Place" had its pre-open in May and its "grand opening" at the start of July.

The company's About page explains that historically, anime cels were given away or disposed of once production was finished at the studio. As anime production shifted to digital compositing, however, traditional hand-painted cels are becoming more scarce. Because they were distributed in large quantities in the market, they are not suited for long-term storage. Therefore, the company has elected to use blockchain technology in order to create data that cannot be copied or tampered with in order to prove the authenticity and ownership of their assets.

Rakuza admits that it has not obtained express permission for the transactions from the copyright owners of these anime cels, saying that "In the future, we hope to further expand and develop with the understanding of the copyright holder." It did not respond to ANN's query regarding how or where the artwork was procured.

Artwork is put up for auction through the Rakuza website. The selection of titles represented include Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, Slam Dunk, My Neighbor Totoro, and Dragon Ball Z. Cels are the main commodity on sale, although sketches and other printed works are also represented. Some works are inappropriately labelled on the website, such as a page from the Death Note manga, which was listed as a Fist of the North Star product.

Source: Rakuza's website, Press Release

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