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ToonSeum Takes Fundraising to the Fans with the Art of Akira

Pittsburgh--In spring of 2010, the ToonSeum will present an exhibition of original art from the anime masterpiece Akira, a groundbreaking and widely influential work that revolutionized animation. Katsuhiro Otomo's epic film revitalized the Japanese film industry and inspired a new generation of international artists and fervent fandom.

In a unique approach to increasing the scope of the Akira exhibition, the ToonSeum is reaching out directly to this devout fan-base for assistance. In an attempt to raise the funds needed to ensure the exhibit's success, the ToonSeum is asking Akira enthusiasts to pledge sponsorship through Kickstarter.com, a new website that raises funding for unique projects.

“The comic and cartoon arts are a unique pop art form with extremely dedicated and knowledgable fans,” said ToonSeum Executive Director Joe Wos. “There are entire clubs and conventions built around Anime, comics, and more. Akira is revered within this community as a true masterpiece.”

“This is a rare opportunity for that fanbase to directly be a part of what will be one of the largest exhibitions of the art of Akira. We're very excited about what an organization like Kickstarter can do for a small museum like the ToonSeum.”

Akira was an epic collaboration and full of animation firsts. Upon its release in 1988, Akira was the most expensive animated feature ever made, pooling resources from several of Japan's largest entertainment companies to complete the production. An elaborate symphonic score was written for the film and all voice actors where recorded before principle animation began for authentic lip syncing. The stunningly fluid and detailed animation required up to nine separate cel layers, demanding over 160,000 hand-produced cels and almost as many backgrounds.

“There is a lot about Akira that reinforces the egalitarian appeal of cartoons,” said John Mattie, ToonSeum gallery manager. “Over 15 Japanese companies contributed to the making of the film employing hundreds of artists, each insisting that Otomo's vision be realized. Our thinking in utilizing Kickstarter.com for this project is that all of these fans can show their love and support of the film and help spread the awareness of the cartoon arts. Cartoon fan or cineast, this film is essential.”

In 2010, the historical and artistic significance of Akira cannot be understated. As the popularity and influence of animation continues to expand, the Akira Exhibit gives audiences the unique opportunity to take a deeper look into this achievement in filmmaking. Each item in the exhibit has been hand selected by Akira expert Joe Peacock from his unrivaled collection of more than 10,000 authenticated pieces. Visitors will be given access to never-before-seen aspects of the film, from fully-displayed backgrounds, sketches and production development layouts, to the layers of cels that made up some of the most astounding scenes in the film.

The Akira Exhibit promises to captivate any fan of animation and graphic storytelling, from anime enthusiast to those witnessing Otomo's grand vision for the fist time.

For information on sponsorships and other opportunities
Please visit:


Contact: Joe Wos, executive director
Tel: 412-232-0199
Email: joe (at toonseum.com)

The Art of Akira
When: April through June, 2010
Where: The ToonSeum,
945 Liberty Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15222

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