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I read an article recently that states:

"Akira" rewrote every rule for animation. It was filmed at 24 frames per second, in full Cinemascope aspect, using 312 colors in the palette (the richest palette for any hand-done animation ever).

Based on this article, it seems Akira was the first anime (or perhaps animation) to be filmed at 24fps. Is it the only anime to do so, or did others do this later on as well?

5 Answers 5

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From what I can tell (according to this):

Practically all hand-drawn animation is designed to be played at 24 FPS. Actually hand-drawing 24 unique frames per second ("1's") is costly. Even in big budget films usually hand-draw animation shooting on "2's" (one hand-drawn frame is shown twice, so only 12 unique frames per second)[6] and some animation is even drawn on "4's" (one hand-drawn frame is shown four times, so only six unique frames per second).

Other sources (of varying degrees of reliability) say:

Japanimation runs at an average of 24 frames per second, with main objects animated at 8 to 12 fps and background objects as low as 6 to 8 fps.

(Source)

Decent/high quality animation in general is done at the 24 frames/second rate (this also includes animation in other mediums, such as claymation and CG'd work). Now, depending on the 'look' and 'feel' they are aiming for--all of those 24 frames may be slightly different (in succession) than each other, to give 'movement' to the object on the screen (as in, none of the frames look exactly alike. There are slight variations between all frames), or only 12 of them may be different from each other--every other frame (in succession with each other) being varied, with an exact copy of the last frame before it acting as the ‘filler’ frame. So it's like 12 pairs of different frames--the first frame in each set varied from the last and its copy behind it to lengthen the time the image is on the screen.

(Source)

A general consensus, from the little that I can find, is that most anime now seem to have a frame rate of 24, but they often are 2s, which means that every frame is doubled so there are 12 unique frames per second. For example, a torrent site for Claymore lists the frame rate as 23.9, which is really 24 fps. So to conclude, Akira is not the only anime to be produced at 24fps.

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  • This is a good answer, but I wonder: Did your research tell you anything about how common the (costly) "1s" are? I didn't realize the difference in terminology, but that's more what I was getting at in my question (since I think Akira was shot in "1s").
    – Cattua
    Commented May 19, 2013 at 18:45
  • I can't find exactly how common it is to animate in "1s", but one thing I found said that sometimes they switch back to "1s" from "2s" within a scene/show to show quick movements such as action scenes because "2s" are too slow.
    – kuwaly
    Commented May 19, 2013 at 19:21
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As can probably be seen by the response, the way the question is made can lead to misleading answers.

Akira was filmed completely using 24 distinct images per second to achieve 24 frames per second. This is normally called "shooting on ones", where no frames are repeated consecutively.

Most animation is done "on twos", which mean 12 distinct images per second are used to achieve 24 frames per second, by repeating as necessary.

Most Anime is done from 2 to 12 distinct images per second to achieve 24 frames per second, by repeating as necessary.

High-Quality studios usually use a mix, having some animation running on ones but the majority of the feature running on twos (Ghibly, for example, does this a lot, usually it's very obvious in the smoothness of the animation).

Akira is the most famous animated full feature done in "true" 24fps for the whole length of the movie. I'd argue the other most famous one is the unreleased "The Thief and the Cobbler", partly due to its bizarre history and partly because when talking about the fact that it's done "on ones" is always mentioned.

So the answer to your question is, if taken literally, that no, it's not the only one "filmed" at 24fps (most, if not all, are).

The answer to your actual question is "yes", as it's the only full-length anime production animated on ones, at the full 24fps.

Depending on whether you want to consider "The Thief and the Cobbler" (being as it is unreleased), it is the only "modern" (post-1950) full-length animated feature animated on ones.

I would've given the willfully obtuse answer to your literal question instead of your intended question, but I see that's been done already :)

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    Akira was shot mostly on 2s (12 distinct cels per second), as you can check for yourself by frame-stepping through it. There are many clips on YouTube. I don't know where the rumor that it was shot on 1s came from, but it's not true.
    – benrg
    Commented Apr 27, 2023 at 22:33
  • I question why many US DVDs and even some Blu-ray releases of anime have them at 30fps rather than their native 24fps or even 60fps (because interlacing is actually 60, but some discs still do 30...). Were some TV shows done in 2s at 15fps?
    – Sawtaytoes
    Commented Jan 27 at 5:41
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Most anime today would be running at 24fps or higher, I don't know the specifics, but the animation in itself is mostly animated on the 3s (8 drawings per second), and rarely animated on the 2s (12 drawings per second), and even more rarely on the 1s (24 pictures per second / a picture a frame). Stuff like CGI, which you would find is more recent anime, are mostly running at 24fps.

When it comes to Akira on the other hand, there is a common misconception that it is all animated on 1s. That is not true, not even The Thief and the Cobbler was animated on 1s, though Richard Williams was known for always insisting on animating on ones, there are some scenes animated on the twos.

You've probably heard this before, but animation is a tedious and long process, and there is no reason for a studio to ever spend so much time and effort and money on animating on the ones.

There are even moments where animating on the ones is the wrong way to go, slower scenes that aren't as energetic are much better animated on the twos as it creates a much more natural movement (natural isn't smooth), and there aren't enough skilled inbetweeners to work on a two-hour picture animated on the ones, Akira wouldn't look as good if it was.

Akira is mostly animated on the 2s and 3s, and it has a few bits animated on the 1s, but still way more than most anime which would usually be animated on the 3s. Most of the ultra-smooth scenes that you think are on the 1s are probably on the 2s.

I'm not trying to say that I'm better than people, but there are a lot of YouTubers feeding this misinformation when giving their analysis/ essays. There are so many documentaries on the making of Akira where they say it's mostly animated on 2s and 3s. If you don't believe me then at least give this video a watch, he kinda clears things out. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YtYpif-dLjI

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I'm late to answer but most answers here have some misunderstanding and approved answer is wrong so here is some explanation

  1. Akira is not on 1s and probably there is no any other movie or TV series on 1s. Look about Akira here Some explanation
  2. All cartoons have the same framrate or fps of 24 which is standart TV framerate
  3. To make animation cheaper the same frame is often shown several times. So if you show the same frame 2 times you need only 12 frames to draw. If you show it 3 times you need 8 frames to draw. This is called on 1s, on 2s on 3s
  4. Most 2d animation are either on 2s or 3s including Disney, Ghibly etc. Big movies are usually on 2s. TV series are often on 3s
  5. 3d animation is usually on 1s as frames are interpolated by software. "cutout" animation made in AfterEffects or similar software could be done on 1s too.
  6. There is probably no 2d drawn movies or tv-series made totally on 1s. The closest example was unfinished "The Thief and the Cobbler" but even it wasn't fully on 1s.
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Most western animation is mostly done on 2s both slow and fast movements are done on 2s, while the very fast movements would be on 1s on particular occasions. Anime is usually done on 3s , even though Akira is 24fps, so it's animated both on 3s and 2s in some scenes, even Anime is mostly done 3s, it's rarely animated on 2s. Billy Plympton's shorts would be done 4s, 5s and 6s, because that's really peculiar for animator like him to make animation like that since most animators do animation in 1s and 2s, and most Japanese animators do animation in 3s. YouTubers make a lot documentaries and video essays about the 24 fps myth about Akira.

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    Please include relevant sources/references to support your answer.
    – W. Are
    Commented Jan 4, 2021 at 12:19

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