Difference between revisions of "Statements by Evangelion Staff"

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==Hideaki Anno: Disability Shapes Taste for the Imperfect==
*'''Points of interest:''' Anno speaks about his father's disability and how that influenced his works
*'''Source:''' Asahi Evening News, Sunday 10/3/1999
*'''Reliability level:''' Solid [[What Is Canon?|Tier 2 canon]].
My father has only one leg. While working at a lumber mill he had his left leg seriously injured with an electric saw. He was 16 years old at the time. He wears an artificial leg below the thigh. He has trouble walking, so he used to stay at home.
He was running a tailor's shop with his wife in Ube, Yamaguchi Prefecture. He became a tailor because he could work sitting on a chair. He had no trouble pedaling the sewing machine.
Father had an operation at a local hospital, but the surgeon did a poor job. I often saw an edge of the bone still peeking out of the flesh. And he felt pain befcause his artificial leg didn't fit. After walking for a long time, he would take off the device and massage his thigh. So about the only time I went out with him was when there was a festival in town.
In my boyhood, father was melancholy. I often overheard him complaining to mother, "I wouldn't lose out to anybody if I had two healthy legs." As a small child I could understand how he felt about his handicap.
I think he was emotionally unstable. Maybe that's why he beat and kicked me when I did something wrong. Sometimes mother came to my rescue and ran away holding me in her arms. Father also said something very cruel to me, though I don't remember exactly what he said. It had the same connotation as what a frustrated mother might say to her unwanted child - "I wish you were not here."
When I was in senior high school, low-priced ready-made suits hit the market, and father couldn't make a living just running a tailor shop. So he began delivering newspapers. He made his rounds in the town on a bicycle. Maybe he wanted to show he could work like anybody else.
I think something in him changed after that. He stopped complaining around that time. He got a driver's license and often made a short trip with my mother.
Father says nothing about my productions. Maybe he does not understand animations. I meet him perhaps once every two or three years. I feel distant from my family.
But there is no doubt that I have been influened by father's physical handicap. I cannot love anything perfect. To me, robots without a hand or leg look better. In my animation "Tetsujin 28-go" (iron man No. 28), the robot loses his arm. I love that scene.
While in elementary school I would draw a robot in my notebook or in a blank space of the textbook, and then I would rub out a part of the body and show something that looks like a bone.
The robots that appear in my productions usually get injured in battle and end up in bad shape with a part of the body broken.
Something broken of deficient comes more naturally to me. Sometimes that thing is the body. Sometimes it is the mind.

Revision as of 18:05, 13 September 2019

The format of the entries should be something like

  • Title (or some combination of who-what-where, if a straightforward title is not available)
  • Points of interest
  • Quotations?
  • Primary source and its availability; this would usually mean the original Japanese text
  • Secondary sources and their availability; these would be usually translations
  • Reliability level of the sources and related disclaimers (staff statements would usually be Tier 2 canon)

For a much more comprehensive list see http://www.gwern.net/otaku.


Reliable and well-known sources

Hideaki Anno: What were we trying to make here?

  • Points of interest: An insightful view of what Anno had in mind before the start of the TV series. (Please expand)
  • Quotations?
  • Primary source: Neon Genesis Evangelion Vol. 1 (Needs better release info!)
  • Translation: available here. Mari Morimoto and Fred Burke
  • Reliability level: Solid Tier 2 canon.

The year: 2015. A world where, fifteen years before, over half the human population perished. A world that has been miraculously revived: its economy, the production, circulation, consumption of material goods, so that even the shelves of convenience stores are filled. A world where the people have gotten used to the ressurrection-yet still feel the end of the world is destined to come. A world where the number of children, the future leaders of the world, is few. A world where Japan saw the original Tokyo destroyed, discarded and forgotten, and built a new capital in Nagano Prefecture. They constructed a new capital, Tokyo-2, then left it to be a decoy-then constructed another new capital, Tokyo-3, and tried to make it safe from attack. A world where some completely unknown enemy called the "Angels" comes to ravage the cities.

This is roughly the world-view for Neon Genesis Evangelion. This is a world-view drenched in a vision of pessimism. A world-view where the story starts only after any traces of optimism have been removed.

And in that world, a 14-year-old boy shrinks from human contact. And he tries to live in a closed world where his behavior dooms him, and he has abandoned the attempt to understand himself. A cowardly young man who feels that his father has abandoned him, and so he has convinced himself that he is a completely unnecessary person, so much so that he cannot even commit suicide.

And there is a 29-year-old woman who lives life so lightly as to barely allow the possibility of a human touch. She protects herself by having surface level relationships, and running away.

Both are extremely afraid of being hurt. Both are unsuitable-lacking the positive attitude-for what people call heroes of an adventure. But in any case, they are the heroes of this story.

They say, "To live is to change." I started this production with the wish that once the production complete, the world, and the heroes would change. That was my "true" desire. I tried to include everything of myself in Neon Genesis Evangelion-myself, a broken man who could do nothing for four years. A man who ran away for four years, one who was simply not dead. Then one thought. "You can't run away," came to me, and I restarted this production. It is a production where my only thought was to burn my feelings into film. I know my behavior was thoughtless, troublesome, and arrogant. But I tried. I don't know what the result will be. That is because within me, the story is not yet finished. I don't know what will happen to Shinji, Misato or Rei. I don't know where life will take them. Because I don't know where life is taking the staff of the production. I feel that I am being irresponsible. But... But it's only natural that we should synchronize ourselves with the world within the production. I've taken on a risk: "It's just an imitation." And for now I can only write this explanation. But perhaps our "original" lies somewhere within there.

July 17, 1995,
In the studio, a cloudy, rainy day.


By the way, Shinji's name came from a friend of mine. Misato's name came from the hero of a manga. The name Ritsuko came from a friend of mine in middle school. I borrowed from everywhere. Even names that have no bearing on anything actually came from the countless rules that govern these things. It might be fun if someone with free time could research them.

Hideaki Anno: Ghibli ga Ippai Liner Notes

Anno Hideaki. Director, producer. Born 1960, Yamaguchi Prefecture, Uto City. As an animator, participated in works including "Superdimensional Fortress Macross", "Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind". Afterwards, established the shared stock company Gainax for the production of "Royal Space Force - the Wings of Honneamise". Also acted as Animation Director for that work. Later, as director he worked on "Aim for the Top!", "Nadia of the Mysterious Seas", "Neon Genesis Evangelion", and others.

There are too many painful things for people to go on living in reality. Thus, humans run and hide in dreams. They watch films as entertainment. Animation, as a means to enjoy everything in a pure, fake world, is a realization of dreams and has become entrenched in film. In short, it is a thing where even coincidences are arranged and everything judged cinematically unnecessary can be excized. The negative feelings of the real world are no exception. If the director so desires, even malice toward others could be introduced straight into film. I guess that's one of the attractive things about anime. Changing the tribulation of reality into dreams and conveying that to the people... is that what our work is? For the sake of people who forget reality until the bill comes due, who want to devote themselves to happy fallacies. I guess that's our job in the entertainment and service sector.

One of the distinctive features of Studio Ghibli's works is that, even if there are obsessive actions, there are things which appear to have not forfeited their goal. Forfeiting one's goal leads to despair, and is a sickness that can prove fatal. I wonder if Miya-san and his people are familiar with that feeling of despair. Perhaps they don't want to show that anguish to other people. I think they specifically don't want to display the negative things called self-loathing and complexes to others. That's why Studio Ghibli's works can't show anything but superficial happiness and a reproduction of reality with all the dirty things omitted. A fiction that imitates reality, and nothing more than a single dream. I suppose that is the governance of entertainment. And I think that that is one of the reasons that Studio Ghibli's works are safely watchable, brand name creations.

I have no intention of denying that. All of Studio Ghibli's works are top level creations. But, I can't help but feel that something is missing. This is because, although the technique is there, I can no longer feel "blood", the "blood" that is surely flowing within everyone. I wonder when that happened? Studio Ghibli's works have, for me, become things that doesn't possess the image of "Anime", but rather of the so-called Japanese cinema, in other words, the Japanese movies that have now lost all their energy. That may be the reason that I feel that something is missing.

By the way, Mr. Miyazaki Hayao and Mr. Itano Ichirou are those I consider my teachers. I brag and say that I'm probably the only one in the world with that combination. I was greatly influenced, not just in the technical points of the animation craft, but in the mental portion of filmmaking. My posture on filmmaking is nothing more than an attempt to hang on to the things I learned from the two of them. I have nothing but words of gratitude for both of them.

When I helped out as an animator for "Nausicaa", there's something that Miya-san often told me. It seems to have come from a Chinese sage, but "There are three conditions for accomplishing something. Those are: Being young, Being poor, and Being unknown." And, "No matter what, make friends." So I was taught. This was more than 12 years ago. Yes, I've known Miya-san approximately 12 years. In that time, I think Miya-san has achieved various things. However, he also lost many things.

I think supporting a studio, that is, fighting to protect the organization against ruin, is painful as it piles up. A staff that strongly depends on you is also a double-edged sword. The height of the brand-name image and weight of the pressure from the world which prevents you from announcing even a short film without hiding your head under the excuse of it being an "experiment".

However, I feel that he is still trying to obtain something new. Is that trying to throw away the past? But could that be the fate of those who go on making films? In any case, he is a person of deep craft regarding his desires.

Finally, I'm looking forward to "Mononoke Hime", the latest in the series of seven works stretching from his masterpiece "Nausicaa" (the movie). No, I'm serious.

Postscript. Yesterday, when I was in a state of mental collapse after my latest work had ended, I was moved deep within my heart by an encouraging phone call I received. The words of concern proceeding from the receiver became joy on my end as, with a exaltant face, my whole body was buoyed. In secret, I rejoiced in receiving some recognition for myself. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

My master, the Lord Miyazaki Hayao-sama. From a (self-proclaimed) prodigal son, Anno Hideaki.

Hideaki Anno: Protoculture Addicts #43 (NewType 11/1996)

"Evangelion is my life and I have put everything I know into this work. This is my entire life. My life itself."

"Evangelion is like a puzzle, you know. Any person can see it and give his/her own answer. In other words, we're offering viewers to think by themselves, so that each person can imagine his/her own world. We will never offer the answers, even in the theatrical version. As for many Evangelion viewers, they may expect us to provide the 'all-about Eva' manuals, but there is no such thing. Don't expect to get answers by someone. Don't expect to be catered to all the time. We all have to find our own answers."

Yoshiyuki Sadamoto: Evangelion Manga, Vol 2, Commentary

"The design concept in Eva was that the characters themselves should lean towards a relatively subdued appearance. But the plug suits! Gaudy as hell. Embarassing--I mean, they almost look like, y'know, body paint. Naturally, I thought the cos-players wouldn't even consider attempting it."

"But there were, at the December '95 Comic Market, the February '96 Wonder Festival, at the... You know, I hate crowds, so ordinarily the whole cos-play scene is no more than a distant reality. But this... this, I had to see. Specifically, I had to see the girls in sky-blue wigs, wearing white plugsuits. Mmmm. I had to see it."

Hideaki Anno vs. Kunihiko Ikuhara, What the Avante Gardemen have to say (NewType 12/1998)

Constantly injecting new stories and excitement into the business, Anno Hideaki and Ikuhara Kunihiko discuss the state of anime production. Perfected, only to await collapse?! Amidst such unfavorable circumstances, they discuss their thoughts and hopes as members of the literary avante garde[*0].

"There isn't anyone trying to make 'me-anime' now, is there?" (Anno)


Ikuhara: I know "KareKano" ("Kareshi Kanojo no Jijou") is just about to start, but have you decided on anything like a regular style?
Anno: Regular style?
Ikuhara: Something like a set pattern.
Anno: No, not really. I haven't decided, or should I say, it hasn't come to me yet.
Ikuhara: Did you think of making it at the outset?
Anno: Somehow, nothing but an inkling came to me. There was no epoch-making "That's It!" Although, I _am_ thinking of stopping being limited by the bounds of time and space. (brief silence) Let's see...methodology... For "KareKano", if I try to do interesting things with a methodology that doesn't depend on the number of cels, it'll turn out just like "EVA". I'm tired of reusing cuts and depicting using freeze-frame rhythm. That was how I did "EVA". It's what I did since the "Top (wo Nerai!)" days. But, not counting on the number of frames, the methodology that shows things most effectively is exactly that. It's not a new methodology at all. To put it bluntly, settling into creatorhood may let you stay alive in life, but I just can't stand the thought.
Ikuhara: Can't stand it?
Anno: Yeah, can't stand it. Maybe it's okay for people over 50 to get set in their ways as creators, but I intend to fight it as much as possible. Or so I say, and yet no matter how much I speak of seeking a new methodology, I can't leave the original work to people walking on the street. What I'm talking about is the influential work known as "Macross"[1]. In those days Yamaga (Hiroyuki), me, Sadamoto (Yoshiyuki), and Maeda (Mahiro) all began to get involved with anime because of our student part-time jobs. I could say that was how huge the talent of director Ishiguro (Noboru), who used that kind of unknown youngsters, was; the result of sensibilities drawn from deep within. Creators in those days had substance.
Ikuhara: I agree about the younger generations. It's hard when people don't think of anime as a venture. That's why there aren't any sure-fire aesthetics.
Anno: The reason the game business prospered and grew so fast is because it was a venture. But games have finally tanked too. It happened pretty fast, didn't it? Our generation is naturally a shallow one, and there's noone who's trying to overturn things. There isn't anyone trying to make "me-anime" now, is there?
Ikuhara: I just don't know about the people who'll be getting into the business from here out. This is a generation that loves both cel anime and digital anime. I personally get uncomfortable when the two are mingled.


Anno: The first time I saw "Virtua Fighter"[2], I thought, is this what anime is up against? It was quite a shock. That's when I realized I'd have to level up somewhere other than the visuals, I guess right before I did "EVA". Visual impact is anime's strong point, but since games had followed on anime's heels, it had become a time when a methodology no different from the others just wouldn't cut it. All the cards had already been dealt, so we had no choice but to change the combination, or turn over cards that were thought to be taboo. That's what I mean when I say that "EVA" didn't use even a single new methodology.
Ikuhara: Ah, like what the media talks about as creatorhood when discussing animated works. But that's just an illusion, and actually in the anime business no such thing as a creator is anywhere to be found. All there are are people who were brought along by the founding of the system. The people who devise the form of the anime of today.
Anno: Right.
Ikuhara: The people who accomplished soemthing are all 50 or older. Those people are almost all associated with the early days of Toei Douga or Mushi Pro[3]. The people who came after that are all no good, they haven't done a thing. It's not that they haven't _made_ anything. It's that they didn't build the system at all. They're just riding on it, on the system that the people of the previous generation made.
Anno: Yeah. They can't seem to overturn it.


Ikuhara: Well, there are currently a lot of people who talk about digital as a technique to make the presentation of anime more radical, but I think they're making a horrendous mistake. Wouldn't that just make using digital a technique for overhauling the presentation of cel anime that has taken 30 years to establish? That's no way to change the system of the animation production houses. It's just an attempt to go on riding the system we've already got.
Anno: Oshii (Mamoru)-san says "Now that the pioneers of anime have died, it will die with them." He says the history of anime ended long ago.
Ikuhara: Once there was a time when people were groping, saying "What methodology do we use to express ourselves?" The way things are expressed in modern anime comes from a fixed way of negotiating with the production houses, a way made by working backwards from cost-performance.[6]
Anno: That's limited animation[5] for you.
Ikuhara: Yeah. And what about our aesthetics? The aesthetics of people like us who find shadows fixed on the back side of cels beautiful are being processed through cost-performance. If cost-performance changes, my aesthetics are supposed to change too. Of course, the people who created form in the midst of such groping were the people of the first generation who created Japanese anime.
Anno: The origin was stuff like Disney animation, and we're just extensions.
Ikuhara: Thanks to the impending spread of digital, the aesthetics on screen will change. Because my emotions will get more and more messed up when that happens, I think the emotions that that we now consider beautiful will fall apart.
Anno: No, but, I can't stand CG shadows.
Ikuhara: Oh, really?
Anno: I hate them see...I guess they're just not crisp or something.
Ikuhara: Come again?
Anno: So, with brush shadows, when you make them fluffy, I just can't take it. It's just not manly. (laugh) Girlishness when trying to express aesthetics just sucks. Shadows should be crisp and definitive. "Seaweed" shadows weren't popular in the original robot anime.
Ikuhara: "Seaweed"?
Anno: When depicting the aesthetics of mecha, the wavy shadows.
Ikuhara: But weren't those shadows cutting edge for expression in those days?

"The human body is far better than CG." (Anno)

Anno: Yeah, well, I can stand Sakano (Ichirou)-san[7] and the other guys with good sense using them, but with everybody else they look like nothing more than seaweed. You wouldn't think anything but that the mecha had camouflage markings. Those aren't shadows. When we did "Ouritsu (Uchuugun)", it was totally counter to that. The shadows were crisp, and the highlights[7] did nothing but give the impression of light. If cel anime targets aesthetics it's all over. Both clothing and skin are the same except for color. Just give it up, and go for the gusto in some different area. No matter how hard you struggle, there are just some things you can't fight your way out of. The people who created the system at the outset understood this.
Ikuhara: I guess it's through that trial and error that the anime of today is made.
Anno: Recently I watched some "Kinchuu" ("Kingiyo Chuuihou!")[9]. As research for "KareKano". I thought that perhaps that was what gags and shoujo manga were. But it felt a little old.
Ikuhara: Old? It feels like things are divided into the the time before and after "Sailor Moon". I feel like it really infected the tastes at Comiket.
Anno: Yeah. Whether something's major or not at Comiket amounts to whether or not it gets made into erotic stuff. After all, the sex industry is strong no matter what era it is. As Tsurumaki (Kaguya) said, earnestly value all things equally. Both Hiromatsu Junko and Ayanami Rei. I can't express it in words, but I feel the same chasm within myself.
Ikuhara: I think it's the feeling of antisepticness. The impression that they don't smell like anything is good.
Anno: Yes, yes, exactly.
Ikuhara: Apparently stuff like unnecessary hair, or nose hair, isn't absolute. Of course, in pictures the characters don't actually have nostrils (laugh). I bet everyone would start hating pictures of girls if we drew nostrils on them.
Anno: Cel anime fans are more sterile than that.
Ikuhara: The idols of a decade ago felt really sterile. But recently actresses and TV talents are feeling less remote and more realistic.
Anno: Does that include us, by any chance? It's an existence where courage and familiarity seem to be draining away.
Ikuhara: If so, the place that the people who recognize the feeling of sterility are carrying with them in their thoughts will disappear.
Anno: That's why I'm going with the cel anime system.
Ikuhara: There's somewhere where we'll give up, isn't there. We're trying to fulfill our own ambitions virtually. I suppose if we were doing it for real we should be trying to make more properly ideal cities and better human relations. I can't really say it in anything but pedestrian terms, but, like with things like the Aum[*1] incident, I can understand the feelings of the people who want to reorganize the world.
Anno: In order to see a made-up drama, there are even people who neglect their real lives, right? That kind of person does things like become a seiyuu fan.
Ikuhara: I bet what they really wanted was to touch an anime character.
Anno: For something that could connect the virtual and the real, I too turned to the seiyuu. But that was a mistake. That's why I tried to show something different in "KareKano". But altering the existing system is tough.


Ikuhara: On this point, Anno-san and I differ in our way of creating. I'm not trying to connect anime and voice that much. But if I have a sentiment close to that, I think it's the complex about the body. I have moments where I think that, not just anime, but _nothing_ can win against the human body. A while ago I was watching the Nagano Olympics on TV. There was this girl who was nothing special during her interview, but who became sublime when she started skating. It was only for instant while she was doing it, but I felt like God was dwelling in her body. A moment when I thought there was nothing more beautiful in the whole world. And it's not like her body changed, either. It's that kind of complex towards the human body that I've got. Even though my work is in anime, I have moments when I doubt we matter compared to a real body. When counting on the actors to do something, I wonder if what I'm actually looking for is corporeality.
Anno: Yeah, that happens.
Ikuhara: Could it be that what I'm seeking in the middle of a production is not the show, but the corporeality itself?

"I have moments where I think that nothing can win agains the human body." (Ikuhara)

Anno: Yeah. This past New Year's there was a part at Higuchi (Masatsugu)'s[10] place. We watched some American specials, and in _every_ case the CG was an utter bore. This special on the lives of stuntmen was more interesting. The human body is by far better than CG.
Ikuhara: I guess the reason Anno-san has been expressing an interest in the little theater recently and why I've been saying the same for a while, is because of this feeling of demanding corporeality. When I feel a real body right before my eyes, I feel like, it's all over, time to throw in the towel.
Anno: Yeah, that's right.
Ikuhara: Now this beauty of the physical body only exists at infrequent moments. Only for the moment of the drama is one an actor - after it's over one is someone else.
Anno: The first time I realized that was with Noda (Hideki)'s[11] drama. I thought, this is the real thing! Before that, within myself I felt that the only thing that gave the feeling of corporeality in the anime dimension were the seiyuu. That's why I kept on trying to express life. But I was deluding myself.
Ikuhara: Hahahahaha. Well, not only is that the case for Anno-san, but also in the so-called little theater boom of the 70's. A renovation right down to the roots. The couldn't touch anything with their hands, the people of that generation. Their path was pre-made, and they couldn't create anything by themselves. It was the first virtual generation.
Anno: Miyazaki (Hayao)-san said that we're the "first generation to value the the virtual and actual equally", but I say "What about you?".
Ikuhara: He may not be a generation, but he's certainly foremost among it. (laugh)


Ikuhara: I'll state up front that all Japanese fictional works, even for the little theater, are all manga.
Anno: Yeah. It's the manga-ization[*2] of the nation. Dramas are the same, nothing but either manga with an extremely tenuous grasp on reality or documentary-like variety shows.
Ikuhara: I can't say precisely what I mean by manga-like, but for one thing, such works can only show the totally familiar or the astoundingly distant. Aren't all popular songs that way? They can't speak to anything but minutae like someone's dress shirt, or about things like the edge of the universe that are so far away they can't be spoken of except in the imagination. They don't speak at all to the yawning gap in between. That's how I feel the world of manga is.
Anno: Perhaps we can be at ease in a fake world because we know it's a lie from the outset. That's how the creators of manga where you'd think "There wouldn't really be a teacher like that" make drama. That's how works like "Denpa Shounen", where you never know what's going to happen next, work.
Ikuhara: I read the feeling of seeking variety and such as wanting to seek corporeality.
Anno: Yes, a world where something is done with the body alone. Nothing else befits a documentary. A world that shows nothing of creation.
Ikuhara: Take "Utena" and "EVA". They take a fragment of our work and talk about us introducing impact into our animation, saying it's like Terayama Shushi[12]'s work or something. It's nothing that narrow, is it? I think that what appears in our works is the complex about the body that people who make made-up anime feel.
Anno: I use the word "lifelike-ness". Compred to that, cel anime is pretty and virtual. Because I feel a sense of thwarted life in current cel anime, I want to try to peek at it from a slightly different direction. Like trying not to use any of the established seiyuu.
Ikuhara: There are times when I want to stay away from impactful stuff and deal with the illusion. Saying one thing after another, I think everyone's deluded. Directors, animators, seiyuu, the audience, everyone is deluded while making and watching anime. I wonder if things aren't just fine that way? I don't want to brood over it. The first time I saw Terayama, I really loved it. My country bumpkin complex and my intelligencia complex give me my drive. Now that I think about it, that delusion was a godsend (laugh).
Anno: In the old days, I had never seen anything like real impact, and thought the whole thing was absurd.
Ikuhara: That's how it usually is.
Anno: Adjusting a set in real life was such a pain. Anime and movies are much cooler.
Ikuhara: That's why people quit doing theater when movies were invented. And that was precisely why I was so shocked when I saw Terayama. The pleasure of corporeality being possible. The pleasure of fiction. The kind of pleasure that makes strip-tease more engrossing than pornography.
Anno: In real life, bad things happen, like rowdy neighbors at a shop, but impact isn't virtual, is it?
Ikuhara: Movies are recordings, whereas the stage is a sort of "incident".
Anno: Just like the difference between a war you're in and a war you see on TV.
Ikuhara: It seems we can't savor the interest of becoming the people on the scene.
Anno: That's because impact is tough stuff. Movies can't offer anything more than a pseudo-experience.
Ikuhara: What propelled the 70's little theater boom was the feeling of wanting to be in the middle of things, wasn't it. How much of being in the middle of things is left these days? People worry about things that aren't yet firm and solid.
Anno: I thought of a lot of different stuff for "KareKano", but it seems impossible to do impactfully under the current system. All the same, starting around episode 9 a lot of inexperienced kids appear, the kind for whom it's their first time in front of a mic. We'll see what happens.
Ikuhara: That could be interesting.
Anno: Kuni-chan, you should come on too, as a teacher or something.
Ikuhara: I've gotten used to doing things halfway, but can I really? (laugh)
Anno: Ah, I don't need anyone who only does things halfway. (laugh)


[1] Superdimensional Fortress Macross ('82). With Mikimoto Haruhiko's characters, Kawamori Shouji's mecha and such, the talent of the young animators became evident and started a boom. Afterwards OVAs, movies, and toys were created.
[2] Virtua Fighter ('94). Sega's fighting game. With polygon images and real-life shots, it became a major hit. Not stopping at arcade sales, it's also availble in a home version for the Sega Saturn.
[3] Toei Douga. Established in '57. The mighty anime creation house that gave us such things as "Dragonball" and "Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon". Mushi Productions, established in '63 by Techou Daimushi. Created such things as "Tetsuwan Atom".
[4] Oshii Mamoru. Anime director. Specializes in nonsensical worlds and visual expression that tries to dismantle fiction. Major works include "Urusei Yatsura Beautiful Dreamer" and the "Mobile Police Patlabor" series.
[5] Limited Animation. Anime that, for economic and time-related reasons, must skimp on use of "commas". A second of animated film is made from 24 commas. Full animation would use a different image each comma, but limited animation might keep a frame before the eyes for 2-3 commas. To the human eye, that sort of trick still looks sufficiently like motion.
[6] A way made by working backward from cost-performance. Methods used today in Japan's anime industry, such as using cels to merely slide a character a step or two at a time to produce the effect of motion, reuse of commas (limited animation), and reusing cels in other shows (the bank system).
[7] Sakano Ichirou. An animator known as "Sakano Circus" who depicted speedy and frequently moving mecha action. Principle work is "Superdimensional Fortress Macross".
[8] Highlights. Transparent lighting.
[9] "Kingyou Chuuihou" ('91). TV anime. Product of Toei Douga. Anime taken from the shoujo manga serialized in "Monthly Nakayoshi". The series director was Satou Junichi.
[10] Higuchi Masatsugu. Special Effects director for the "Gamera" series. Assisted with the visual continuity for "Fushigi no Umi no Nadia" and "Neon Genesis Evangelion".
[11] Noda Hideki. Musician, producer, actor. Was interviewed along with Anno in the May issue of this magazine. Principle works: "Kill", "Rolling Stone" (for the stage).
[12] Terayama Shushi. Musician, author, poet, movie director, and so on, he was a many-faceted multicreator. In high demand, he not only did drama on stage, he did street theater and participated in experimental drama. Principle works include "Kegawa no Marie", "Shintokumaru" (theatrical), "Cast Off Books! Return to the City!" (movie). Died in '83. J.A. Seazar, who contributed to the music for "Shoujo Kakumei Utena", worked in Terayama's Theater Observatory "Ceiling Gallery".


Anno Hideaki. Born '60 in Yamaguchi Prefecture. Producer, director. As a member of GAINAX, has been involved in numerous anime. "Neon Genesis Evangelion" became a runaway hit. In his new work starting in October, he tackles shoujo manga.

Ikuhara Kunihiko. Born '64 in Hiroshima Prefecture. Director. Was involved in the production of such things as "Kingyo Chuuihou!" and "Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon" at Toei Douga. Founder of the production company Be-PaPas. His latest work, "Shoujo Kakumei Utena", is heading toward a spring '99 theatrical release.

Translator's Notes

[*0] The word I translated as "avante gardesmen" is "gesakusha". Kyoko Selden, Senior Lecturer in Modern Languages at Cornell University, offers the following commentary on the meaning of "gesaku":

"It literally means 'playful writing,' but what I was trying to say was its implication differs from age to age. Takizawa Bakin first comes to mind when I think of late Edo gesaku (not that he was so playful but he is thought of as having been content with 'romance' rather than seeking to discover a more serious genre). In Meiji, of course there are the works of Narushima Ryuuhoku and others, as well as Tsubouchi Shouyou's cricitisms of gesaku as opposed to the Realist modern novel (and Bakin was one of his prime targets). Then there is the return to, or rediscovery of, gesaku in the recent decades. So I couldn't think of a single word that fits all cases. The term parodist occurred to me because I was thinking of Inoue Hisashi who claims himself as such. If there is an element that is common to all those authors, after all it must be the attitude of playfulness, whether expressed in comedy-of- manners type satire, literary or social parody, or aversion from the idea of modern novel. I'm aware that some use 'light literature' or 'cheap literature' as a translation of gesaku, but I wonder if either is best. I don't have a good single word definition, but the brief discussion with you this afternoon led me to think that gesaku, from Meiji on at least, has the connotation of posed, pretended, or deliberate playfulness as a tool of social criticism and/or of literary or stylistic flourish. It always comes with a gesture, a pose, a persona."

[*1] Ikuhara is referring to the release of sarin gas in a Tokyo subway station on March 20, 1995 by terrorists belonging to the Aum Shinri-Ki, under the leadership of Asahara Shoko.

[*2] Anno uses the phrase "ichioku sou-manga" here, in imitation of a famous phrase about the "idiotization" of the Japanese nation ("ichioku sou- hakuchi-ka") coined by Hanamori Yasuji, sharp-tongued critic and editor of the "Kurashi no Techou". Another corruption of this phrase likens the hard-working Japanese population to a beehive: "ichi-oku sou-hatarakibachi".

Hideaki Anno: Disability Shapes Taste for the Imperfect

  • Points of interest: Anno speaks about his father's disability and how that influenced his works
  • Source: Asahi Evening News, Sunday 10/3/1999
  • Reliability level: Solid Tier 2 canon.

My father has only one leg. While working at a lumber mill he had his left leg seriously injured with an electric saw. He was 16 years old at the time. He wears an artificial leg below the thigh. He has trouble walking, so he used to stay at home.

He was running a tailor's shop with his wife in Ube, Yamaguchi Prefecture. He became a tailor because he could work sitting on a chair. He had no trouble pedaling the sewing machine.

Father had an operation at a local hospital, but the surgeon did a poor job. I often saw an edge of the bone still peeking out of the flesh. And he felt pain befcause his artificial leg didn't fit. After walking for a long time, he would take off the device and massage his thigh. So about the only time I went out with him was when there was a festival in town.

In my boyhood, father was melancholy. I often overheard him complaining to mother, "I wouldn't lose out to anybody if I had two healthy legs." As a small child I could understand how he felt about his handicap.

I think he was emotionally unstable. Maybe that's why he beat and kicked me when I did something wrong. Sometimes mother came to my rescue and ran away holding me in her arms. Father also said something very cruel to me, though I don't remember exactly what he said. It had the same connotation as what a frustrated mother might say to her unwanted child - "I wish you were not here."

When I was in senior high school, low-priced ready-made suits hit the market, and father couldn't make a living just running a tailor shop. So he began delivering newspapers. He made his rounds in the town on a bicycle. Maybe he wanted to show he could work like anybody else.

I think something in him changed after that. He stopped complaining around that time. He got a driver's license and often made a short trip with my mother.

Father says nothing about my productions. Maybe he does not understand animations. I meet him perhaps once every two or three years. I feel distant from my family.

But there is no doubt that I have been influened by father's physical handicap. I cannot love anything perfect. To me, robots without a hand or leg look better. In my animation "Tetsujin 28-go" (iron man No. 28), the robot loses his arm. I love that scene.

While in elementary school I would draw a robot in my notebook or in a blank space of the textbook, and then I would rub out a part of the body and show something that looks like a bone.

The robots that appear in my productions usually get injured in battle and end up in bad shape with a part of the body broken.

Something broken of deficient comes more naturally to me. Sometimes that thing is the body. Sometimes it is the mind.

Yoshiyuki Sadamoto: Interview with Yoshiyuki Sadamoto (Der Mond)

The Initial Title was Alcion (Arushion)

In the first place, just what kind of story was Evangelion in the initial stages?

When the very first meeting was held before the title had even been decided, Anno had already provided the theme of "a battle between gods and humans". Both Anno and I -- our generation -- was influenced by Go Nagai, so making something on a grand scale meant it ended up like "Devilman". The character design request from Anno was that "the lead character is a girl, and has an older-sister type figure like Coach next to her," so it was structurally similar to "Gunbuster". So I first designed an Asuka-type girl as the lead character, but after "Gunbuster" and "Nadia" I felt some resistance to making the lead character a girl again. I mean a robot should be piloted by a trained person, and if that person just happens to be a girl then that is fine, but I couldn't see why a young girl would pilot a robot... So I remember saying to Anno, "It's a robot story, so let's make the lead character a boy." And just about that time, I was watching the NHK [public TV channel] program "Brain and Heart" and learned about the existence of the A10 nerve, and I told Anno about the idea that popped into my head at that time. That was the idea where "the dead mother is inside the robot, which is operated by mental/psychical bonding with the child. Moreover, parent-child relations are parched/strained due to the death of the mother at a young age." As soon as I had this idea I was filled with confidence that "This will work!" and I just whipped out a setting drawing. That setting drawing became the character chart for the Planning Papers.

What points did you take care for with that character chart?

An easily recognizable silhouette is also important, but I designed the characters so that their personalities could be more or less understood at a glance. For example, even the color and length of the hair expresses personality. I thought that Asuka would occupy the position of an "idol" in the Eva world, and that [Asuka and] Shinji should be just like the relationship between Nadia and Jean. And then I set Rei as the opposing "Ying" portion. It was my idea to have her wrapped in bandages. The most difficult was Misato. So I thought it would be interesting to have someone like the older girl next door as a military person. I really wanted to make her a character who changed her clothes constantly, but I have no fashion sense so I wasn't able to do it. (laugh) I imagined Misato as a looser girl who, taken to the extreme, would be sleeping with all the men at Nerv and so on. Furthermore, she would not think too seriously about all of that... Gendo and Fuyutsuki were modeled after Commander Ed Staker and Col. Alec Freeman from the TV series "UFO".

Were there any title proposals other than "Evangelion"?

One of the names proposed by Anno was "Alcion (Arushion)". But a robot story title that doesn't have a voiced consonant sound in it just isn't catching. So I pushed "Evangelion", which had been rejected once, as sounding stronger. We had talked a lot in the beginning about wanting a title like "Space Runaway Ideon (Legendary Giant God Ideon)", so I think I did push that. And to tell the truth, the story composition is also similar. For example, Nerv can be considered the same as the Solo Ship fighting a lonely battle against both humankind and the Buff Clan, and then there are the incomprehensible robots that can only communicate with children and tend to geo berserk, etc. It might not be an exaggeration to say that if you add "Ideon" and "Devilman" together and divide by two, you get "Evangelion". (laugh)At that time the media venue also had not been decided yet, but I really wanted to do it as a TV series or movie instead of as an OVA. Sure, you can do higher quality with an OVA, but I felt that OVAs were a minor media compared to TV, so it was out of self- gratification [that I wanted to do it as a TV series]. When you are in Tokyo and constantly reading the anime magazines, you succumb to the illusion that OVAs are a major media. But when you live in the provinces like me, the anime selection at the video rental shops isn't that great, so you think of it as a more minor world.

Hideaki Anno: Celebrating the Revival of Gundam as Tale

  • Essay that was included in the first volume of the Aizouban edition of Yoshikazu Yasuhiko’s Gundam: The Origin manga in 2005, as well as the North American edition that was released in 2013.
  • translated by Melissa Tanaka

The world of Gundam, drawn once again as a Tale –that, I believe, is the greatest significance of this manga. Of course, we also have here Mr. Yasuhiko’s distinctive art, the indescribable charm woven by his gentle, delicate lines, the characters and mobile suits in particular. Yet I feel the greatest pleasure of this “Yasuhiko Gundam” lies in the resuscitation of a Tale lost among our memories of First Gundam.

It has already been twenty-five years since the broadcast of First Gundam. I’m afraid the legacy of Gundam dwindled down to the mobile suits, in the form of plastic models as a business and military hobbyism. Even these mobile suits were summarized down to the protagonist mecha, Gundam, so that friend and foe alike were all uniformly Gundams. One could say this was inevitable: the pivotal creation that made Gundam a classic and drives the franchise expansion to this day is, of course, the mobile suit, represented by the RX-78 Gundam, a weapon bearing the elements of a character; and the way of the world is that characters are what ultimately remain with the audience. It’s not a bad thing. I simply find it unfortunate that the Tale that enveloped the worldview and ideas on war presented in First Gundam ceased to function as anything more than a device for the mobile suit fantasy.

In recent years, in the world of anime and manga too, the hollowing out of mainstream culture and the putative rise of subculture severely diluted and eroded the standing of the Tale. Audiences have come to need only a work only as an escape from reality, as a comfortable dream, judging everything on the criterion of moe, while creators’ intellectual paucity and the jumble of trivial touches have encouraged that structure. At the same time, TV-type mass consumption, which prizes instant gratification and simplistic results, laid the improverished grounds of contemporary Japanese entertainment, giving rise to masses that can only respond with praise for superficial details and technical proficiency; with tears, laughter, fear, or some outpouring of simple emotions ; or with identifying and particularism. And here we are, in this stagnant state of affairs. I am stuck here myself. It’s embarrassing and frustrating, and I also regret that I contributed to it. I want it fixed. The sooner, the better.

That is why I am so glad that Gundam, the animation brand with the largest market in the industry, is showing us here a true Tale through the medium of manga. I want as many people as possible to reconfirm and savor the essence and allure of Tales. I want this work’s readers’ receptivity to grow more fertile, more embodied. Only Mr. Yasuhiko, I think, could have accomplished the task of reviving the Tale that is there in First Gundam. I think this because I sense a certain equipoise--in that Yoshikazu Yasuhiko, the author who seconded diverging with the masses and business, who abandoned the anime industry and, as solitary manga artist, gazed at and depicted the livelihood of individuals and state society historically, finally returns to Gundam after steering clear of it for over twenty years. And I sense a certain good grace. He decides to draw Gundam—well-known to the masses as a premier franchise of the plastic model and anime industries—not from weariness, not as expiation, nor to return to his roots, but in earnest, as a work of his own. That is why we are able to sense from the work a Tale that is both true and distinct from the first Gundam anime’s. I think that’s fantastic. I thank anew that I am able to read Mr. Yasuhiko’s Gundam.

Finally, dear reader, holding this book, I urge you to pick up Mr. Yasuhiko’s other works as well. I sincerely wish for you to know better what Tales are to you, to touch and feel them again. As for me, I’ll do my best so that my next project will come across as a Tale.

Hideaki Anno, Gundam Fan April 10, 2005

Toshmichi Otsuki: NewType USA December 2006

Anime's new baby

In the recent years, Hideaki Anno has been focusing more on live-action than anime, so his decision to make another Eva anime surprised many. Otsuki has a theory, though.

"Twelve years is enough time for you to be able to look back on earlier works obvjectively", he explains. "Shortly before we started this project, Anno had a big Eva marathon where he watched the whole series in one go. The first thing he said when he finished watching was, 'This show really is interesting, isn't it? I never realized how interesting it was'. That comment really shook me."

The new project was started as an affirmation of the value of Anno's past work. "He and his team have gained a lot of experience since then," Otsuki adds. "They've matured as animators and as people. I think you'll be able to see that growth in this production.

Despite all the changes in everyone's lives, having the old staff together again made for a very nostalgic mood on the production site. "Everyone was completely burned out during the second half of the original TV run and the movies, but now they're fresh and enthustiastic again. They've gotten older, but they're still full of energy. It's almost like watching kids prepare for a holiday celebration. The staff will also include a bunch of younger twenty-somethings who decided to join the anime industry after watching Eva and being inspired.

This show has been loved by a lot of people over the years." Indeed it has. The new movies also reflect the staff's feelings about the state of the anime industry. It's even suggested that this project is a rejection of current anime production philosophy.

"It's true that Eva was a huge hit," Otsuki says. "But its success spawned a great deal of confusion and misunderstanding in the in the industry, the end result being a bunch of mass-produced junk. That mindset has persisted for ten years, but now we're in a position to prove it wrong. We're determined to close the door on the post-Eva era for good.

Not your daddy's Eva

When the shocking news first broke, it sent anime fans around the world into a frenzy: Neon Genesis Evangelion, widely regarded as one of the best anime series ever made, was being adapted[into] four brand-new films! Who would've ever thought we'd see another Evangelion? In the dozen or so years since its debut, the series spawned numerous video games and even saw a "renewal" reissue with touched-up art and new voiceovers, but until now there hasn't been a smallest whisper of a new series. What can we possibly expect?

"The new story takes place in the same period as the 1995 TV series, but the plot is completely different," producer Toshimichi Otsuki elaborates. "This isn't a remake or a quick fix. It's a totally new production."

Being a new production means GAINAX is taking a different approach than what SUNRISE did with the recent Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam movies, which were essentially a three-part summary of the TV series. In contrast, the new Eva movies call for massive modifications to the setting and the concepts.

"It'll be something viewers can enjoy if they've never seen the TV series," Otsuki continues. "I want everyone--from hardcore fans of the original work to people who only know it because of the licensed stuff--to look at it as a standalone film series.

The complexity has been somewhat lessened to make it more accesible to newbies, but it'll still take a bit of thought to understand." Otsuki adds that they're removing much of the deliberate obfuscation that made Eva infamous: "Filling works with difficult words and concepts in order to create confusion among viewers was a good technique 12 years ago, but not anymore, and one of our primary goals for this project is to turn everyone's expectations upside down."

The core creative team from the TV series has reunited, with original director Hideaki Anno (Gunbuster) overseeing the production. Kazuya Tsurumaki (FLCL) is taking on the mechanical design. Anno himself came up with the storyline for the first installment, while fellow GAINAX co-founder Shinji Higuchi is responsible for storyboarding. A number of new staff members will also be brought on as the production advances.

Hideaki Anno: Statement about New Evangelion Movies

Many different desires are motivating us to create the new "Evangelion" film.

The desire to portray my sincere feelings on film.
The desire to share, with an audience, the embodiment of image, the diversity of expressions, and the detailed portrayal of emotions that animation offers.
The desire to connect today's exhausted Japanese animation [industry] to the future.
The desire to fight the continuing trend of stagnation in anime.
The desire to support the strength of heart that exists in the world.

Finally, the desire to have these wishes be realized.

For these purposes, we used the best methods available to us to make another Evangelion film.
Many times we wondered, "It's a title that's more than 10 years old. Why now?"
"Eva is too old", we felt.
However, over the past 12 years, there has been no anime newer than Eva.

Specifically, among the stagnant mood of the present day, it is the portrayal of will - not technology - that is most important.
To support the fans that support animation, we felt that a work that would appeal to middle and high school-aged men, who quickly grow away from Anime, was necessary.
When we decided that we wanted to something to support the anime [industry] of today, the determination to return to this title was strong.

As the creator of this project, [I assure you that] a very new-feeling Evangelion world has beeen constructed.
For this purpose, we are not returning to our roots at Gainax. I have set up a production company and studio, and it is in this new setting that we will start again.
Without looking back, without admiration for the circumstances, we aim to walk towards the future.
Thankfully, we have gathered staff from the old series, new staff, and many other fantastic staff to work on this series.
We realize that we are creating something that will be better than the last series.

”Eva" is a story that repeats.
It is a story where the main character witnesses many horrors with his own eyes, but still tries to stand up again.
It is a story of will; a story of moving forward, if only just a little.
It is a story of fear, where someone who must face indefinite solitude fears reaching out to others, but still wants to try.
We hope that you look forward to the 4 new retellings of this story.

In closing, it is also our job to provide a service to our customers.
Although it seems obvious, we aim to create a form of entertainment that anyone can look forward to; one that people who have never seen Evangelion can easily adjust to, one that can engage audiences as a movie for theatres, and one that produces a new understanding of the world.

This fall, we hope you can join us.

Creator/General Director, Anno Hideaki

Kazuya Tsurumaki: NewType USA, March 2007

Recapturing the look and feel

Kazuya Tsurumaki, one of the directors for the new Evangelion films, has strong words for naysayers who dismiss the project as a mere remake. "Nothing could be further from the truth!", he says. "This isn't about putting the same old story with slightly better animation techniques or touched-up footage. When we use the word "rebuild", we mean an honest-to-goodness rebuild, from the ground up. It's a fact that there were things we wanted to do in the original TV series that just weren't feasible at the time, and one of our goals in doing this is to find a way to put some of the ideas back in. Operation Yashima is a perfect example. It's something we really wanted to do right this time, and getting the chance to do that was one of my main reasons for accepting the role of director. But rehashing past efforts isn't the whole story--not by a long shot. There are plenty of sides to this story which I want to bring out that are very different from what you saw in the TV version."

Tsurumaki goes on to explain that in the calculus of Eva-world, merely increasing the pixel count doesn't automatically translate into better production: "The Evangelion story is both simplistic and deep. The ideas are densely packed, like in a haiku. But that doesn't mean it needs to follow the Hollywood pattern of overproduction ad infinitum. We've all gotten used to that style of moviemaking, but if we're going to do Eva the way it should be done, then we need to return to the look and feel of the age. And I think we can do even more amazing things with that look and feel by incorporating modern-day animation technology."

While Tsurumaki freely admits that the first of the four film installments--slated to hit theaters in Japan sometime mid-2007--will run like a digest of the TV series, employing key scenes to bring viewers up to speed on the basic story and setting, no one is very willing to speculate on the content of the second, third, or final films.

"Frankly, it just got too chaotic," Tsurumaki comments on the brainstorming sessions that were initially meant to provide an overall plot outline and final resolution to the story. "We're all working from the assumption that we weren't able to reach our destination with the original TV series, but the exact nature of that "destination" is still unclear to everyone on the staff. Since we're going to all the trouble of making these new productions, we'd at least like to take the story as far as we took it back then, but it's been an uphill struggle so far. I get the feeling this project is going to be a very unstable project--in a lot of ways." Unstable, maybe. But brilliant, almost certainly. We're come to expect nothing less from Evangelion.

Yoshiyuki Sadamoto Answers All (Omake)

Q: How long have you been with GAINAX?
A: Over 20 years now!
Q: What was the biggest thing that happened to you while there?
A: Getting my manga published! It's still going strong...
Q: What's your favorite Anime quote?
A: In Honneamise, where Lieutenant Colonel Marty says he believes he's capable of existing only because the people around him need him to.
Q: What's the longest you ever stayed at the office without going home?
A: Three days!
Q: Fill in the blank: "GAINAX, ____ Forever!"
A: GAINAX, an otaku's friend forever! (OK, I know it's corny...)

Hideaki Anno Answers All (Omake)

Q: How long have you been with GAINAX?
A: I'm into my third decade now.
Q: What was the biggest thing that happened to you while there?
A: The company managing to stay together after the production of Honneamise. Also, resisting the urge to resign from my job even after the Aoki Uru project [a sequel to Honneamise, conceived in 1993] was put on indefinite hold.
Q: What's your favorite Anime quote?
A: Umm...
Q: What's the longest you ever stayed at the office without going home?
A: I dunno...A few years?
Q: Fill in the blank: "GAINAX, ____ Forever!"
A: GAINAX, there's no such thing as forever!

Hideaki Anno: "Let's Die Together", Atlantic Magazine, May 2007

“Rei is someone who is aware of the fact that even if she dies, there’ll be another to replace her, so she doesn’t value her life very highly,” Anno explains, slouching ever-deeper into the couch. “Her presence, her existence—ostensible existence—is ephemeral. She’s a very sad girl. She only has the barest minimum of what she needs to have. She’s damaged in some way; she hurts herself. She doesn’t need friends.”

Anno understands the Japanese national attraction to characters like Rei as the product of a stunted imaginative landscape born of Japan’s defeat in the Second World War. “Japan lost the war to the Americans,” he explains, seeming interested in his own words for the first time during our interview. “Since that time, the education we received is not one that creates adults. Even for us, people in their 40s, and for the generation older than me, in their 50s and 60s, there’s no reasonable model of what an adult should be like.” The theory that Japan’s defeat stripped the country of its independence and led to the creation of a nation of permanent children, weaklings forced to live under the protection of the American Big Daddy, is widely shared by artists and intellectuals in Japan. It is also a staple of popular cartoons, many of which feature a well-meaning government that turns out to be a facade concealing sinister and more powerful forces.

Anno pauses for a moment, and gives a dark-browed stare out the window. “I don’t see any adults here in Japan,” he says, with a shrug. “The fact that you see salarymen reading manga and pornography on the trains and being unafraid, unashamed or anything, is something you wouldn’t have seen 30 years ago, with people who grew up under a different system of government. They would have been far too embarrassed to open a book of cartoons or dirty pictures on a train. But that’s what we have now in Japan. We are a country of children.”

Ikuto Yamashita: NewType USA, September 2007

Ikuto Yamashita is the man responsible for taking the giant-robot concept and giving it a radical organic treatment in Evangelion. Now he's taking the opportunity of the new theatrical release to remake many of his core designs from the Eva series. Yamashita first heard news of the new movies from director Hideaki Anno, but at the time, he didn't realize what a monumental task was in front of him. "Anno only mentioned it very briefly in passing, at the very end of a presentation about a bunch of new projects.", he says. "I'd already heard that we were going to be collecting material from the TV series to reuse in a movie, so the announcement didn't surprise me much at all. The real shock came later, once I was already wrapped up in the production."

Yep, you guessed it--Yamashita was asked to completely rework many of the key designs from the show. "But it's probably more accurate to say that we returned to our original designs.", he adds. "Back when we were doing the TV series, the production was so tight that we had to drop all the fine details that might cause animation errors or delays. This time, the director's letting us do it the right way from the beginning."

As you may have guessed, Yamashita's influence is all over the look of the new movie, from the color schemes of the Eva units to their new weapon configurations--even the new NERV logo. In fact, the entire Eva arsenal (including the Positron Rifle, Progressive Knife and Shield) has been completely redesigned.

"When we were doing the TV series, the director was really into the idea of the Eva equipment being actual real-life weapons, scaled up to Eva-size," Yamashita notes. "This time he's basically saying 'Just make it different from what we used before,' so that's what I'm doing with my redesign."What excited Yamashita the most about working on the Rebuild of Evangelion? "How it's crammed with so many new ideas!" he sounded half-exhausted, but there was plenty of pride in his voice--we can't wait to see his work for ourselves.

Megumi Hayashibra: NewType USA, October 2007

Sometime in April, at a certain studio and without any particular fanfare, recording quietly began on it. You know--the new Evangelion movie. Honestly, I was pretty worried about it--after all, I'd parted ways with Rei Ayanami ten years ago--so in order to find the character again, I hauled out my old videos and immediately started turning the lines over and over in my head. There were famous ones from the show, of course, but there was also the flood of random game and figurine-related voice work that came afterward--I remember trying to do every line as seriously as I could, even if I didn't think it was the kind of thing that Rei would say. Revisiting the old stuff wore me out, and when I went to the first recording session for the new movie, I wasn't particularly looking forward to it. The feeling nagged at me until I walked into the studio, said, "Good morning" and saw the old, familiar cast again. It took me right back to 1995.

Rei's first appearance is when she comes out on a stretcher, all bandaged up. As soon I performed the first groan for that scene, the Rei that had been sleeping within me all along came rushing to the surface, and before I knew it, I was 100 percent her. "Yes, this is where Rei and I started," I thought. It was like once I heard Shinji's and Gendo's voices, all my misgivings vanished. Such is the power of the recording booth! Anno himself was directing, and we rolled right through scene after scene. (Okay, so we did at least five takes for each. We wanted to be sure we weren't compromising on quality.) A whole bunch of scenes from the TV series and original movies had been rewritten and reanimated, and the lines were subtly different, too. But in the midst of all that change, one thing's for sure: The Rei I know is and love is definitely back.

Reasonably reliable sources with limited availability

Interview with Hideaki Anno and Kihachi Okamoto (Writer/Director)

Okamoto said that he watched Evangelion twice though he watched the ending first. He said the reference material he received along with the video has "controversial" written in it. He did not understand at first but later knew why once he watched the whole series.

Okamoto - Gun Busters is easier to understand. The final episode in the second video is black-and-white. I think it might be done to make it stand out - I mean the "Okarinasai" at the end.
Anno - My generation was the age when black and white moved to color. I would like people living now to see how great to have color lol. That was 35 monochrome.
Okamoto - I love black and white. Perhaps nearly half of my works are black and white?
Anno - Recently there are more black and white CM on TV. Poster too. Somehow it is getting popular.
Okamoto - And then there is partial coloring.
Anno - "Part Color"... Everyone is now so familiar with beautiful full color, so on the contrary they see that as ununsual.
Okamoto - But development cost is high. In the past development solution for black-and-white was always available. Now you need to order it first and then they make the development solution.
Anno - If it's color development can be done in the same day. For black and white, they told me to give them 2 days and it became a problem to me schedule-wise. If there is a rush, they would not get it done unless they have 2 days.
Okamoto - But that thing does not fade. Print is easy to fade as time passes by.
Anno - It becomes reddish...

Then some talk about Okamoto's Nikudan. Anno watched it twice and Okamoto said it's more than enough...Anno said he still remembered a lot of the scenes and how they are edited and linked.

But the ones he watched most are "The longest day of Japan" and "Okinawa Battle". He even played it as BGV when he was doing storyboarding at one time, and then slowly his attention was drawn to the video and ended up spending 3 hours watching it.

Then Okamoto talked about his filming Okinawa Battle in Okinawa and the problem with lack of manpower and resource, ended up doing one of the characters.

Then Anno said it's easier in anime -- if one more character is needed just draw him. But Anno said anime and real life both have aspects that the other side may envy. For example in anime, the camera does not move, and the shadow and body motion needs to be made realistic. Even with CG it has become easier, it still has that CG feel. Anno then said for anime the main work is still about fixing the motion. Scrolling and wrapping the background is particularly inefficient. Then more flattery from Anno about how Okamoto's tempo and scene cutting is suitable for anime. And then Anno talked about frame aspect ratio -- love Cinescope and miss its disappearance. Hate standard ratio and also not like Vista. He loves the way when Cinescope aspect is used audience have to follow the scene by moving their heads which is something not possible with TV watching.

Skipped the part that talks about "Blood and Sand" and "Sengoku yarou", and use of long shots. Except that Anno mentioned the fun thing with anime is that the photographer doubles as the actor in anime and in real-life you never see cameraman doubles as actor.

Very technical talk about how many frames of films to use for one blink. Anno said 6-7 frames, if he does not want the scene to get noticed, he put 6, if he wants to make sure it gets noticed he put at least 9 frames. And he said that if it is familar and static scene, even 2 frames can leave an impression. 3 frames may already make it too slow. But if it is fighting it needs 7-8 frames. Took 12 frames in film, cut may be 5-6, depending on how the pictures look. And of course in dialogue how to cut is already predetermined. He said he spent 12 hours to cut 20 min of animation. The longest time took him 24 hours.

Skipped the part about talking with the audience.

About line of eye sight:
Anno - In the case of anime, the acting and performance usually does not take that much into account. One reason could be the character design. The eyes of the characters usually stress on the details of the eyes and this make it difficult to put acting by using line of sight. However, in Eva the char design is comparatively easier to do such acting, so I put some effort into that. Like where the character is looking at in that scene, or whether the audience are going to see the eyes or not...
Because it is so fundamental I took great care about it. So unusually I put instructions in the storyboard like "Eyes are looking here". As I am influenced by director Okamoto, I used camera line of sight more than usual
Okamoto - if possible, line of sight should be on somewhere close. And on direction, A would look at B and then speak, and B would look back at A in reaction. It has to be like that...
Anno - for me, camera line of sight is often on the front. The drawing staff usually hates it. Drawing frontal face is more diffcult and often it could not be done well. But if the line of sight goes the other way, it becomes hard to use it to act.
Okamoto - There is power if the guy's sight is close to you
Anno - yes, that's it. That has energy in it.
Anno - I don't like switching between front and side. It is easier to frame the position of eyes of the characters if it is a front to front exchanges between the lines of sights of two persons. Anime is at the end a 2D thing so the amount of information is limited. When it is cut to a new scene, the audience will try to search for something to focus, and if it is a face, it will be the eyes they look first. So when the eyes have expressed the information, you can cut to another scene already. In tv anime, static scenes are many. I think this is the proper way to go. Although I think acting by eyes is very important it is also very tedious. I don't mind putting effort into doing it but somehow when I look at it later I have a feeling that it won't get noticed, or nobody cares. And then I get a bit irritated.
Okamoto - Perhaps because eyes in anime characters are so big...
Anno - That has many physical reasons. If we do not make the eyes big and treat it as a symbol for the characters, it will become difficult for many to draw.
Okamoto - but one can act just by eyes. Like the position of the iris...
Anno - true, but as the end we only have the drawings to fall back on. If we overdo that kind of serious acting, it carries a risk of looking ridiculous. Character Design is a difficult thing.

About Director:
Skipped the part about old time directors and struggles with studio about rights to edit, except Anno said that for anime sometimes it needs to do editing without having all drawings. But he thinks editing is fun. Gather extra cuts and then try to experiment by switching the cuts or rearranging order and that is interesting. And even the question of whether to cut 2 frames or not can make a difference.

About Storyboarding:
More flattery from Anno about watching "Ghost Train" and Okamoto said because of AD'S mistake he once needed to take 140-150 cuts in one day.
Anno - for movies, consensus is impossible
Okamoto - Director must be a dictator
Anno - He is a despot. Nothing can move forward if we have to wait until someone else makes a decision and approves. Also the personal character would not come out. In anime, a overall design called storyboard is made from the very beginning. And the production system is based on that design, so it is easier to unify opinions.

On the other hand, there is an image that the director's job is over once the storyboard is decided.
Okamoto - since we are on it, in Gunbuster and Eva last episode, there are parts in black and white, that flashback, that kind of stood out. It used quite a bit of sketch like drawings. Did the storyboard also cover that?
Anno - It was put in there.
Okamoto - Oh, those sketches were interesting. It somehow feels it's moving.

Anime vs real-life film:
Okamoto said real-life is not necessarily better. Anno said many anime directors want to do real-life. Many simply put drawings in place of real-life images and they seem to want to push anime to look closer to real life film. And both think it is not a good idea.

Final comment by Anno - Animation is a kind of static world, but there is a yearn for thrill when it switches from one static world to antoher static world and that cut to new scene is a most efficient way to get such thrill. And he thinks Okamoto's style of film cutting has similar effect
Anno - in a tv anime, 30 min of video has a limit of 3500 pictures. So the images cannot move as much as I want. And how to squeeze out the best from the image in such lack of motion, it is all in the cutting.

Hideaki Anno's Roundtable Discussion

Excerpts from a roundtable disccussion with Hideaki Anno at the Anime Expo '96 convention. From Animerica vol.4, no.9. Source: http://masterwork.animemedia.com/Evangelion/anno.html

On the unique appearance of the Evangelion Units...

ANNO: There is a monster in Japan called the oni, which has two horns sticking out of its head, and the overall image of the EVA is based on that. I wanted also to have an image that beneath the image of that robot monster is a human. It's not really a robot, but a giant human, so it's different from other robot mecha such as those in Gundam.

On Gunbuster's alternate future -- is it dominated by Russia?

ANNO: There's a Japanese Empire. In the year 2000, the U.S. and Japan had a war, and Japan occupied Hawaii. Sorry.

On the decision to have the final episode of Gunbuster in black-and-white...

ANNO: When you have color, you have an extra dimension of information. Color would have gotten in the way of the sense of scale we wanted to portray with the black hole bomb. Also -- no one had ever done it before.

On the date 2015 which figures in both Gunbuster and Evangelion...

ANNO: The date is from an old show I liked as a kid, and it was also the year in which Tetsuwan Atom took place.

On his favorite American animation...

ANNO: Tex Avery, Tom and Jerry. I don't like Disney.

On anime creators who inspired him...

ANNO: Outside of my staff, Mr. Yoshiyuki Tomino. Tomino's Mobile Suit Gundam and Space Runaway Ideon are my favorite anime besides Yamato. Hayao Miyazaki, with whom I worked on Nausicaa, animating the scene where the God-Soldier fires, was also a mentor to me.

On computer games...

ANNO: I myself have no interest in them; however, I am interested in computer graphics for animation.

On how the protagonist of Evangelion reflects Anno himself...

ANNO: Shinji does reflect my character, both in conscious and unconscious part. In the process of making Evangelion, I found out what kind of person I am. I acknowledged that I'm a fool.

On his religious beliefs...

ANNO: I don't belong to any kind of organized religion, so I guess I could be considered agnostic. Japanese spiritualism holds that there is kami (spirit) in everything, and that's closer to my own beliefs.

On whether he is a vegetarian like Nadia and Rei ...

ANNO: I like tofu. I just don't want to eat meat or fish. It's not for religious reasons.

On expressing himself through animation...

ANNO: Animation makes sense to people in the process of their seeing it. So when people get confused by my themes, or cannot get the overall message, the connection is not really going through, because it didn't satisfy that person. So there would be less meaning for that individual. There has to be a relationship that comes into being between the person watching and what the character's saying in the animation itself.

On what he thought of Patlabor 2 and Ghost in the Shell...

ANNO: I haven't seen Ghost yet, but I think that Patlabor is really good. I liked the scenes better in the second film.

On Evangelion's success...

ANNO: As for all the merchandising, it's just a matter of economics. It's strange that Evangelion has been a hit. Everyone in it is sick!

On his next project...

ANNO: Another TV show, probably some kind of space adventure.

On The Wings of Honneamise...

ANNO: The director of Honneamise, Hiroyuki Yamaga, is pretty serious as a matter of character, certainly -- so he doesn't really think of compromising with the audiences. Therefore it wasn't a radical film from Yamaga's perspective. There's something like a sequel planned, but it's been stopped for now. Yamaga wants to make it 'the final anime of this century'. He wants to make it happen.

On the future of the anime industry...

ANNO: The creators have to change their frame of mind for the field to advance. And it doesn't look too hopeful in today's Japan. It's in a critical condition right now. I don't think there's any bright future. That's because the people who are producing it are not doing well. But there's also problems in the people who are watching it. The people who make it, and the people who want it, they're always wanting the same things. They've been making only similar things for the past ten years, with no sense of urgency. To get it going once more, you need to force people to go outside, to go out again.

On recent attempts to adapt anime from novels...

ANNO: There are many novels written today which are made with the intention that they will be animated -- so it's not that big a step. I think that Legend of the Galactic Heroes was well done, but then, it was that kind of a novel.

On his feelings about the current trend toward Japanese historical content in manga and anime...

ANNO: I have no interest in it; they are searching for a theme.

On his hobbies and interests...

ANNO: My hobby is scuba diving, and besides science fiction, I like to read romance novels written by women. Since I'm a male, I don't really know the emotions of women. And because I want to understand their feelings, and create more realistic female characters, this is something I have to pursue.

To an American fan who boasted of having spent all his schoolbook money on anime goods...

ANNO: You're a fool. Study harder. If I could go back in time and tell my college-age self something, I would tell him to study harder, too.

On where he would like to travel...

ANNO: I want to see the universe, outer space -- it's one of the places I want to go while I'm still living. When I was a child... I thought that it would be possible to go out into space when I grew up. And that's not possible now. But I'd like to go to the moon, or ride on the space shuttle.

On getting into the anime industry...

ANNO: If you want to get into anime, my best advice to you as a creator is to please have diverse interests in things besides animation. Look outward, first of all. Most anime makers are basically autistic. They have to try and reach out, and truly communicate with others. I would guess that the greatest thing anime has ever achieved is the fact that we're holding a dialogue right here and now.

On his favorite Evangelion character...

ANNO: Asuka , because she's cute.

When told that the American audience favors Misato ...

ANNO: I'm surprised. In Japan, the overwhelming favorite is Rei . They can't handle strong women such as Misato and Asuka .

On Evangelion's last two episodes , which upset many fans...

ANNO: I have no problem with them. If there's a problem, it's all with you guys. Too bad.

Toshio Okada: Return of the Otaking

Anime America 1996 was a voice actor's convention, illustrating that such a phenomenon is growing in the United States. Toby Proctor ('Tuxedo Mask,' Sailor Moon) drew crowds, as did Viz's own Matt Hill ('Laocorn,' Fatal Fury), Jason Gray-Stanford ('Godai,' Maison Ikkoku), Paul Dobson ('Happosai,' Ranma 1/2), Janyse Jaud ('Akemi,' Maison Ikkoku),and Cathy Weseluck ('Shampoo,' Ranma 1/2). Of Japanese guests, there was but one--a man not famous as an actor, animator, character designer, or director.Yet the significance of Toshio Okada, the founder and ex-president of Studio Gainax, was well-known to many attendees.

The story of how Okada and a group of fans with 8mm cameras founded Gainax, the 'super-otaku' anime studio, has passed into legend through Otaku no Video, the self-parody and study of fandom. Okada himself (who appears loosely disguised in the film) is known as the super-otaku, the Otaking, alternately out of ridicule and respect. During Okada's time, Gainax's features ranged from the girls-and-mecha OAVs Top o Nerae! (Gunbuster), to the Miyazaki-esque adventure Nadia, to the visionary alternate civilization depicted in Wings of Honneamise. In 1992 Okada left the company, which has since produced Neon Genesis Evangelion and an increasing number of CD-ROM games such as the Princess Maker series. He is now a university lecturer--even though he himself entered college only to join a science fiction club, dropping out after he did.

In two separate sessions Okada, whose frankness and humor stand out among people associated with the industry, spoke to fans and press. In English, and occasionally in Japanese with translation, he answered questions from anime fans who remembered the days of the late '80s when Gainax was the studio every garage animator aspired to be -- and from fans for whom A.D. Vision's Evangelion release will be their first look at the studio Okada began. Fandom has changed a lot since he, dressed in a Char Aznable suit, first sold fanzines at Daicon...but, conversational with strange questions and accessible with unexpected answers, Okada still knows just what it's changed to.


The Toshio Okada panel took place as a large public forum in the main upstairs ballroom of Anime America. About 80 people were present to hear and talk to Okada.

PANEL: So, uh, sir, um, what--what's going on now? As a producer, as a president--former president, excuse me--what progress have you made as a creative force?

OKADA: Well, basically, I started off as an otaku, and I jumped from being an amateur to a pro--I'm really not sure when that happened; it was sort of in the early '80s, or perhaps 1984 or 1985. In 1981 I made the "Daicon III Opening Animation"--that was only an 8mm, five-minute film. In 1983 I made the "Daicon IV Opening Animation;" that was also an 8mm, five-minute film. And after that, my staff wanted to become professionals, because all of that had cost me, they were all volunteers, and we had already spent much money and much time...So, and then, we had already quit our universities and colleges, or most of us had lost our jobs, so we must make money doing something, so we went to Tokyo and became professional film-makers.

PANEL: My personal favorite of all your work is OTAKU NO VIDEO, just because it's a very universal story, with situations I think many people can relate to if they're fans of something, the culture is very universal--Did you see yourself investing a lot of emotion into making OTAKU NO VIDEO as a fun thing, as your experience, as the experiences of your friends?

OKADA: I had a lot of fun making making GUNBUSTER, but I didn't have that burning sensation when I made OTAKU NO VIDEO. It was something that I lightly made. I made it that way because I thought the people who watched it were like the people in the live-action portion--not the people who made it. 1983 was the turning point for myself and my friends. Basically what I wanted to do was set the stage for 1983 because that was when everything was changing; I wanted to show people what it was like during that period back in 1983, how we lived, basically, what our life was as otaku. [TO AUDIENCE MEMBER] You're hiding your finger with the flash, so you probably didn't get a picture.

AUDIENCE: Arigato.

PANEL: I'd like one more question, and then I'm going to open it up to everybody: There are many themes...I go back to OTAKU NO VIDEO--you talk a lot about, and it seems like you predicted in that film, a lot of the commercialization and product management that is now very, very common in the animation industry. Do you feel more strongly now about the way things have to be processed, and managed, and shoved out the door--you see all around you the selling of creativity?

OKADA: That world we made in OTAKU NO VIDEO, it was not a prediction: it was an otaku's dream. Maybe we can be more major, or a bigger group, or maybe we can make our own theme parks! But in these days, I can't believe all of the things that are happening--our otaku's dreams are beginning to become a reality in the United States. I am very surprised, and very glad.

AUDIENCE: I understand that you teach at Todai (Tokyo University) now?


AUDIENCE: People often say that there's an interesting story behind your interesting employment. I was wondering if there is an interesting story behind how you got to teach at Todai?

OKADA: Are you asking what I'm teaching at Tokyo University, or how do I teach there...? Of course, most of you do not know about Tokyo University--it is the top university in Japan. It's like Harvard or M.I.T. in the United States. Most of the of the executive people are from Tokyo University--the most powerful Japanese business executives, or political and government people--all of them are educated at Tokyo University. And I thought, "Maybe, I can teach at Tokyo University, so I can control the top Japanese people" [LAUGHS]. So, it is very good for us otaku. Not *them* [LAUGHS]. So, I had a very dirty plan in my head. Sorry, I can't talk about it [LAUGHS]. It's not so illegal--but, it's almost legal, so--

AUDIENCE: Stop the camera, stop the camera.

OKADA: --I've also been telling the teachers at Tokyo University a little lie: [AUTHORITATIVE VOICE] "There are many otaku in the United States. Right now, most U.S. executive people are otaku, watching animated films." And Tokyo University teachers believe it [LAUGHS]. So I go at Tokyo University. But it's a secret (puts finger to lips) [LAUGHS].

AUDIENCE: Do you have any other plans in the future to create an anime?

OKADA: Not in this century.

AUDIENCE: I have one question about GUNBUSTER. A lot of people in America don't know whether to consider it a serious story, or just a frivilous story, or a serious parody of space anime. How was GUNBUSTER treated in your mind when you made it?

OKADA: The confusion is not only in the United States. Most of the Japanese otaku who saw it are confused about whether it's a parody, or whether it's meant as serious--whether the staff is serious, or just saying some bad jokes, but--basically what it was, when I made it, I found that every other science fiction plot was taken [LAUGHS]. The only thing I could find to make a real space science-fiction was to make a parody film. So basically, what I'm saying, is that if someone goes into space, you could take it two ways: you can make it, one, the story of a hero--or you can make a parody of it. To travel into space, that's a moment of history, and you could make it in a truthful style, a hero's story--or a parody, and it just basically depends on the viewer's side--of how to take the truth of that historical event--as a parody, or a hero's story. There are two components to GUNBUSTER: one, it's a robot animation where a girl goes out into space and destroys monsters; the other story is that it holds the concept that it's *impossible* for a girl to pilot a robot of that size, and then destroy all these monsters with kicks and punches. There are two impules that arise when you make animation: one, "This is a real, true story--it's got a plot, it's just not animation." But then that calms down, and that idealism turns cold, and it turns just into, "Oh, it's just anime, it's just animation--it's not something with a real plot." So, what I wanted to do in GUNBUSTER was combine those two elements: while you're watching a parody, and relaxing, you're thinking, "Oh, well, this is a parody," and then at the same time, with the plot, you see, you get the feeling, "It's great that I'm watching animation."

AUDIENCE: I'd like to ask the *sensei* if he's going to be using the medium of computer animation more often.

OKADA: Mr. Miyazaki's new movie, MONONOKE-HIME, is going to be using 80 cuts of computer graphics in it. If there were more opportunity, time, or availability, he would have wanted to use 120 cuts in it. So Mr. Miyazaki is also one of the people starting to use computer graphics, too. And, also, Mr. Miyazaki says, "If we'd had a computer system when we made LAPUTA, there's half of it I'd like to remake." So there's great possibilities with computer graphics. And Mr. Anno has said, in remaking the last two episodes of EVANGELION, he's going to Studio Ghibli to study Mr. Miyazaki's system. And that studio has a big system for computer-graphics images. I've heard they've got five, or seven, Silicon Graphics workstations. What Anno wants to make is a "snow world"-- the Eva units fighting the enemy amidst a world of snow, on a snow- covered mountain. But it's very difficult to portray snow falling and piling, and the robots walking through the snow--it's very difficult to draw by the human hand. Mr. Anno wants to make a masterful scene of a battle amongst the snow. Computer graphics are very expensive, and very difficult to use, but they have great possibilities. I've heard that James Cameron went to Production I.G., the studio that made GHOST IN THE SHELL, and asked the president of Production I.G. for five of his animators, because he wants to make a full computer- graphics film. But Production I.G. said no, because Cameron's offer was very bad. Bad, because Mr. Cameron was thinking, "Oh, Japanese animation, it is very low price! So, I think, maybe--ten thousand dollars-- for a thousand dollars for each man, I can get the best animators in Japan!" And he said so; and Mr. Ishikawa, who is the president of Production I.G., said [STERNLY] "No! It is very expensive!" So Mr. Cameron quit.

AUDIENCE: Many Americans believe the line Kubo [OTAKU NO VIDEO] has concerning wanting to become the tyrannical king to be a reference to Nostradamus. We were wondering if it really is, and if Gainax was into other forms of Western occultism, like Masonry, or the Knights of Malta.

OKADA: No, no! (waves dismissively at audience).

PANEL: [TO AUDIENCE MEMBER] You're a bad boy!

OKADA: The setting of 1983 is still the primary focus of OTAKU NO VIDEO, and the characters in that video during the time had seen the movie, NOSTRADAMUS: THE MAN WHO SAW THE FUTURE [narrated by Orson Welles-*ed.*]. Anyway, what it was, is that, their idea--that vision was so strong in their minds that they presented that story. And what I wanted to do was for people to see it, and make that, and say, "Oh, there are still people like this!" or, "Yes, that was the way it was back then."

AUDIENCE: A lot of your films and TV series are very innovative, creative--they bend [sic] the envelope--leaders...NADIA showed a person of color as a main character, a lot of--WINGS OF HONNEAMISE is a very meticulously-crafted film, a very complex film...Is there anything out there now that you see which can be measured as a--pushing the envelope, an intelligent creation, something different?

OKADA: There was a normal standard back then, during those times, and there was one set for normal animation, and Gainax was the one who would make these "weird" animations. But then GHOST IN THE SHELL and MEMORIES came out, so--those are the "weird" ones. So--there's really no purpose, or place to make--there is no "weird" animation any more, as I see it.

AUDIENCE: How well were MEMORIES and GHOST IN THE SHELL received in Japan?

OKADA: Everybody thought it was a big hit in the States, so it was a big hit in Japan [LAUGHS]. Kodansha says, "It's the number one hit in the United States!" and most Japanese believe it. [LAUGHS] So: "Oh, we must see it!" [LAUGHS]

AUDIENCE: Does that mean, sort of, you see a lot of Western-style animation now taking over a lot of the studios--now they're looking towards the West when they create something?

OKADA: Basically, they can't do it, even if they consciously thought about it-- because, if a Japanese company tried to make a T.V. anime show for the U.S., the code of the U.S. T.V. networks is so strict--like, you can't punch or kick somebody, so...what they're thinking is, "We'll make this, so, we'll put it on video in the U.S., so please buy it." Basically what it is, for the producers and presidents of animation companies, all that they can see is that, to make it in American animation, or make it appealing to the American population, is to make the eyes smaller and the chin larger, and so they can do that. And then, to make it a happy ending, with the good guys always winning [LAUGHS].

AUDIENCE: I was wondering as to what your recommendation would be for mid-'70s *sentai* shows. [LAUGHS]

OKADA: SUN VULCAN. Basically, before SUN VULCAN, it was all just--five people go after the evil guy. After than, SUN VULCAN just basically set the standards for movement, and action--and--robots came after that, but it basically that set the standard for things you see today. If you watch SUN VULCAN, and then BATTLE FEVER J, one episode during the middle of the season, and DAI RANGER, then basically you're a veteran [LAUGHS].

AUDIENCE: On American television right now, German car manufacturing company Volkswagen is using what we call SPEED RACER, what we call MACH [MAHA] GO GO GO, in selling German automobiles in the United States. Would you feel happy to see something of your work being used in American T.V. to sell a product?

OKADA: I don't care, as long as the studio gets the money for it so everyone could go on a hot-springs trip. It's fine with me [LAUGHS].

AUDIENCE: Many Japanese intellectuals are Christians. Similarly, the characters in OTAKU NO VIDEO were clearly outcasts. Do you believe that liminality is necessary for creativity? [SOTTO VOCE] Try and translate that one, pal.

PANEL: Are you a psychology major? This is getting too deep for me.


PANEL: [TO AUDIENCE MEMBER] See, you're a bad boy!

OKADA: Maybe you have some secret knowledge of Japan. Maybe you're a Stonecutter [LAUGHS]. One more time, please.

AUDIENCE: O.K....Do you feel it is easier for social outcasts to be creative, to invent original ideas?

OKADA: That's right. Basically, creativity will not come out of happy lives, but from people who become outcasts. There is no reason for you to become *purposely* unhappy. 'Cause everybody who watches anime is happy--the people who watch it who are *not* happy, are the people who make it [LAUGHS]. It's not too good of a thing to make anime. I think a peaceful life is to take anime merchandise cheap from Japan, and then sell it expensively over here and/or work at Viz and make some weird American anime magazine. Very happy! [LAUGHS]

AUDIENCE: Lots of your programs are very contemporary or futuristic. Why have you never made a period film like THE HAKKENDEN, or something else? Are you just forward-thinking, not looking at the past?

OKADA: Because I'm a science-fiction fan. So, I can make just a future, or near-future, or robot, or girl-fights-against-space-monster-and-saves- Galaxy story, that's O.K., but--ninja, or samurai, or sword--Ha? [LAUGHS].

AUDIENCE: They have robot ninja in some films...

OKADA: That's nice [LAUGHS]. Have you ever heard of AKAKAGE? It was a live-action series in Japan, about 30 years ago. The Akakage ninja, red-masked ninja T.V. series. In that T.V. series, there were many monsters, large *kaiju* monsters or mecha, just like Area 45 [?], or these kind of very strange stories. I loved it. So--if you can make some ninja story or ancient Japanese story, maybe I can make some monsters, or some strange mecha, but, normal, fantasy samurai stories, or ninja stories--sorry, I can't make it. There is no motivation in my heart.

AUDIENCE: If you had the chance to do it again, would you do an epilogue to THE WINGS OF HONNEAMISE?

PANEL: I'm guessing, it's because you don't get the ending?

AUDIENCE: No, I get the ending, but--sometimes it leaves you with a feeling of wanting more. Just a little bit more, to see what happens with the characters.

OKADA: In THE WINGS OF HONNEAMISE's story, that planet is six light years from our Earth. So, I told Mr. Yamaga, we should make a continuation story where their spaceship, not interplanetary, but interstellar, arrives here 100 years after the time of HONNEAMISE. So, they come to our Earth, and make contact with Earth. So, it is a continuity of that story. But it is very difficult to make. The plot I want to have, if I am to make a continuation of THE WINGS OF HONNEAMISE, is to have the story of them making their own interstellar ship, And that ship will arrive in our solar system right about the time Earth is able to colonize Mars. Not a warp drive, but an acceleration ship.

AUDIENCE: A long trip.

OKADA: Yes. It would take 30 or 40 years. And then I'd try to show the conflict between the two cultures, the two planets. I would be really enthusiastic were I able to make a war between the two planets.

AUDIENCE: Apparently one of the more difficult aspects of translation is to carry over trivialities of the other culture. Some American anime companies include a pamphlet to explain references to Japanese culture in the films they release. Last year we learned that an American show, THE SIMPSONS, which is based almost completely on American errata, was distributed in Japan. I was wondering how it was received there?

OKADA: It was not popular at all. It was only the hard-core otaku who really watched it. My favorite episode was the one where the Simpsons went to Itchy-and-Scratchy-Land, but no other Japanese understood it. Ha? [LAUGHS] "Very strange animation."

AUDIENCE: You were an ordinary otaku, and then you became the president of one of the most influential anime studios. And then you changed from being president, to some, like, professor. So how would you describe these three different phases of your life, and which phase did you most enjoy?

OKADA: I've had fun in all parts of my life. What it was, is I became an otaku and tried to have as much fun as I could, and when I came to the limit of having fun as an ordinary otaku, I jumped to Gainax. And then when I was in Gainax, I came to the limit of making animation and games, I then jumped to becoming a professor.

PANEL: Our time is almost up. Are there possibly one or two other people who would like to ask Mr. Okada a question?

AUDIENCE: Do you think that there is any difference in being an otaku today, than an otaku in 1983 or 1985? I mean, is it easier, is it harder--do you feel there's any difference the way the otaku are perceived in the eyes of society?

OKADA: The difference I see is that it's becoming merchandise-based. And if they see something wrong with it, they don't have this burning sensation inside of them to basically say, "Well, if I made it like this--" For example, if you watch RANMA 1/2, and say, "Well, there's something wrong here, but if I made it like *this*, it's going to be like this..." But I don't see that burning sensation as much in the United States or Japan as I did back in 1983 or 1985. What I first started learning in my high school years, when I saw STAR BLAZERS, UCHU SENKAN YAMATO, it was like, "If I had made it like this, it would have been like this." So there's not too much of that anymore, so I guess it's like, "Oh, well, then, I guess everybody's happy--that's fine, then."

PANEL: We're going to have two more people--I have them here...and we'll get to them, shortly.

AUDIENCE: Konnichiwa, Okada-sensei. What I would like to know is your relationship to Shigeru Watanabe when you planned out THE WINGS OF HONNEAMISE.

OKADA: Ha! O.K., O.K. Interesting question. You know Shigeru Watanabe?

AUDIENCE: I'm not familiar with him...

OKADA: Right now, he's an executive at Bandai Visual. And he still has a religion: he believes in Mamoru Oshii, just like Jesus Christ [PRAYS TO HEAVEN]. In those days, in 1983 or 1984, he asked of everything to Mr. Oshii: "Is it good, or is it bad?" And if Mr. Oshii said, "Oh, it's good!," so Mr. Watanabe would think, "Oh, it's good, it's good, I must make it, I must make it!" And then I told Mr. Watanabe, "I want to make this film, THE WINGS OF HONNEAMISE," and he thinks, "I think it's a good idea, but I can't decide if it's *really* good. So--just a moment, I must go to Mr. Oshii's house" [RUNS IN PLACE; LAUGHS]. And Mr. Oshii says, "Oh-- it's interesting!" So, he thought, "It's good, it's good, it's good!" [LAUGHS] And it's a very powerful motivation for him, inside. So, he works very hard, and gets a very large budget for our film from the president of Bandai. So Mr. Oshii, he is a very good person for me, or for Studio Gainax, but...but...it is very strange to say, "Maybe it is good, but maybe it is not so good." It was a religion. But just now, Mr. Watanabe, he's come out of his brainwashing. So, he sometimes says: "Maybe...maybe, *maybe*, Mr. Oshii is sometimes wrong." [LAUGHS]

PANEL: We have a last question.

AUDIENCE: Some people say that the late '70s and early 1980s were sort of a golden age of Japanese animation. And some people say that that golden age is over. What do you think?

OKADA: That period, that golden age you're talking about, is when there were variations--a golden age of variations. And then, for expression of other elements, it's the 1980s. For U.S. science-fiction, the 1950s were the golden age of expression, and setting the stage for that were the 1930s. In the same terms, in anime, the time for time for setting up the variations were the 1970s, and the golden age of expressions and new ideas were the 1980s.

PANEL: That's about all the time we have for today, or in this room--I want to thank you very much, Mr. Okada, for coming, and speaking to us. I know you have an autograph session [DOUBLE TAKE]--tomorrow. [LAUGHS]

OKADA: [RELIEVED] I know, I know!


After two days of showings and signings, Okada returned to an early-morning press session. It was 8 a.m., and out of a convention-wearied audience, only a handful of people showed up. (Including transcriber Carl Gustav Horn and several Japanese industry personnel). In an out-of-the-way meeting room, the question-and-answer session began.

AUDIENCE: I wanted to ask: at Otakon, you said that you thought that Gainax was now almost a regular company, that they had control over their work, better control than in the old days--

OKADA: Yeah.

AUDIENCE: --But, I've heard many stories about how on EVANGELION--


AUDIENCE: --there were many problems with budget, and time, so do you think things have changed, really?

OKADA: Not so. It's almost the same, from what I said to you at Otakon. You must remember that EVANGELION is produced at Tatsunoko, so the schedule is out of the control of Gainax--it's the responsibility of Tatsunoko. Tatsunoko almost rules, when it comes to control. So, I think, the responsibility was not with Gainax. People say, "It's the responsibility of Mr. Anno," but they're wrong. Control over schedule is the responsibility of the producer. But Tatsunoko and T.V. Tokyo couldn't handle it. It was out of Gainax's control.

AUDIENCE: I talked to a person from Tatsunoko. He said he does does not blame Mr. Anno, but he blames other people at Gainax, who might be telling Anno about his schedule, and--

OKADA: Oh! I think producers always say that. But I talked with Mr. Anno about this a month ago, and then he said, "I'm *almost* the producer of EVANGELION, but I must be so, because Tatsunoko did not do anything for EVANGELION." See, he is very disappointed with Tatsunoko, and some rumors have said that Tatsunoko lost the film, or cels before they were shot.


OKADA: And I asked Mr. Anno, "Is it the truth?" And he says, in a dark voice, "Yes."

AUDIENCE: Oh, wow.

OKADA: But that was in the middle of the episodes. That wasn't the trouble with the last two episodes, the confusion. It was just Mr. Anno's teleplay. He said to me, "I can make a schedule on my own." At that time, I heard from Mr. Anno about his new plans, so maybe you want to--?

AUDIENCE: Of course.

OKADA: After EVANGELION, his next plan is to make a STAR TREK. Not *that* STAR TREK--a sort of anime like STAR TREK, a crew in a spaceship, who go to every planet, and each planet has its own culture. For example, one planet will have a very democratic culture, and everyone will approve, so they'll board, or they say, "no," and they talk with the crew about everything. And the spaceship crew will sometimes fall in love in some way on the planet, or something will happen--*maybe* some robots fight [LAUGHS]. He wants to make that film, because Mr. Anno thinks it will be a very good experience for the Japanese animation world. But the sponsor says, "It's not so good," because, in Japan these days...of course, you know, several years ago, it was the toy makers, like Bandai, who had a very strong control over the production of anime, and what they would want would be something like, "We need three new robots in this film," and so the anime was made with the three new robots. But right now, it's the record companies, like King, Polydor, or Sony Music Entertainment, who have very strong control over the production of anime. And what *they* want, is, "O.K., we've got two new idol singers, and we want to promote them." And so the anime is made with two new characters.


OKADA: Yes. And these music company executives think Mr. Anno's new project is not so good for selling new idols, or new characters. Not so good. The success of EVANGELION is not so good for Mr. Anno's new project, because now every company's saying, "We want a new show...just like EVANGELION!" That's the same old story when it comes to anime companies.

AUDIENCE: Having a company as large as Gainax, there had to be moments when things went a little bit further than you wanted, or expected them to. Could you tell me about any of those times?

OKADA: Every time. Are you asking about things like budget, or schedule?

AUDIENCE: Mmm, no, more like...like, the marketing department will want to stress this aspect of a particular release, or the accounting department would say, "Don't do this..." Parts of the company would want to make one type of picture, whereas you or one of the other founders would want to make another type of picture. I'm just asking you to talk about some of the instances where things got a little out of control because the company got too big.

OKADA: Right now, I think there's more than fifty people who work at Gainax. Most of these people work on making computer games, and half of them work on making CD-ROMs, such as the CD-ROM featuring Yoshiyuki Sadamoto's artwork. And there's maybe only two or three people who work on anime. The anime part of Gainax, I think, is Mr. Anno and Mr. Suzuki, and one other person. So, the animation department is very, very small. Most of the people in Gainax just now work on artwork CD-ROMs. When they make anime, they must join forces with another studio. It's a bad case of a company that's grown larger and larger--they have to make a lot of money every year, every month, so they have to make and sell a lot of CD-ROMs, because animation *loses* money. The case of EVANGELION, where they're actually *making* money, is something of a miracle, in the opinion of Gainax executives such as Hiroyuki Yamaga and Mr. Sadamoto, and not something they can expect as normal. They want to keep on making anime, but since it's unprofitable, they must make more CD-ROMs and computer games to balance things out. And so the computer game department gets larger and larger, and the animation department gets smaller and smaller. It's not good.

AUDIENCE: Did you ever foresee something like that happening? The animation being slowly phased out, while something you had never even thought of gets phased in? Back when you founded Gainax, you couldn't have forseen how CD-ROMs would take off. I don't suppose you ever imagined that the animation department would be slowly kicked to the side, while CD-ROMs became ascendant.

OKADA: None of us foresaw that it would happen, of course.

AUDIENCE: I wanted to ask, uh--

OKADA: --I was thinking, maybe I'm free, now! [LAUGHS]

AUDIENCE: EVANGELION, of course, is the first Gainax anime that you did not produce. Now that it's all over, and you look back at it, can you say how it would have been different, had you yourself produced it? Would it have been different in style, or mood?

OKADA: I think the style, or mood, of EVANGELION, is not so far, not so different, from the serious side of GUNBUSTER or NADIA. The biggest difference would have been in the style of planning the last episode. My style is to always plan the ending *first,* as I did with GUNBUSTER--everything then follows from that. In NADIA, Mr. Anno couldn't decide on the ending--it wasn't fixed until only three months before the final episode was shown. So subsequently, I was confused about NADIA, and there was a lack of control over the various episodes. EVANGELION is a very great series--I think it's one of the top anime ever made. But--the last scenes were never fixed. When I talked to Mr. Anno a month ago, he said he couldn't decide the ending until the time came. That's his style. So, if I had made EVANGELION with him, I couldn't do such a thing. I'd think I'd have to fix the ending, what would happen with every character. Then, everything would follow: the first episode, the second episode...If I wanted to show a boy's coming-of-age story, a *bildungsroman,* the last scene would show the grown-up man; the first scene, a boy who hates everything about the adult world. That would be the structure; I'm very careful about a regular construction. But Mr. Anno's style on EVANGELION was not so. He wants to put it together episode-by-episode. It's just like the style of a manga. In your typical manga, the artist doesn't have any picture of the last scene, or the last episode. They just think of building up on past episodes. And finally, the manga artist, and his assistants, and editor...[BURIES HEAD IN HANDS], they work out an idea about the last sequence. If it's a good idea, the whole episode is very good. If they can't make a good idea, the whole episode is not so good. It's an unhappy story. And I think that's what happened with the last two episodes of EVANGELION. Mr. Anno and his staff couldn't make a good idea for it. He told an anime magazine in Japan that he couldn't make what he wanted because of schedule or budget. But that's not correct. I talked with Mr. Yamaga and Mr. Anno. They said, "It's not only a problem of schedule or budget. It's a problem of what the ending is going to be." Mr. Anno couldn't decide. Mr. Anno's and my own style of production are very different.

AUDIENCE: At the Expo, many of the fans asked Mr. Anno about episodes #25 and #26. He said, "I don't have a problem about the way it ended. If there's a problem, it's with you guys." Then he grabbed the mic and said, in English, "Too bad."

OKADA: Eh? [LAUGHS] He thinks so. OK: I want to say to every animation fan: don't touch him this year [LAUGHS]. Because many anime and *seiyuu* magazines are asking Mr. Anno that question, and every time his answer changes. It's "confused, confuse-er, confuse-est." He's not happy right now. Maybe you know that back in January, or February, he shaved his head. It's a Japanese gesture of contrition. People said, "Oh, he's feeling a lot of responsibility towards the producer, or T.V. Tokyo, or the sponsor." Not so. He felt a very strong responsibility about *his* stuff. "Sorry, I can't do it!" So he shaved his head. This summer, he hates anime fans. I think he'll feel happier by autumn.

AUDIENCE: Some people I know said they thought the ending was very interesting-- the ending reminded them of OTAKU NO VIDEO, because in the ending episodes you see the set, the script--in other words, they say, "Yes, this is an anime show"--instead of pretending this is a story, they come out and remind you that this is a fantasy, an anime show. And no one's ever seen that before in an anime program.

OKADA: Yeah, maybe that's right. Right now, many anime fans in Japan are fighting each other over whether that ending was good or bad. Some say, "Anno must feel no obligation towards the fans--he must make something true to himself." Many fans are fighting over this. Your question has come up in these debates. In my personal opinion, if he wanted to make such a statement, to say, "this is just fiction, and you should go back to the real world," he could do it a better way. If that's what he wanted to say, it's not necessary to make an anime to do it. But he's still an animator, and he wants to make another anime series. So his true mind does not say, "it's only animation, and I should go back to the real world." So I think Mr. Anno's confused just now.

AUDIENCE: I'd like to hear something about your books.

OKADA: OK...I've already written two books. The second one, the new one, is INTRODUCTION TO OTAKUOLOGY, which answers "what is an otaku, and what is otaku culture, in Japan and in the world?" My first book was OUR BRAINWASHING SOCIETY, was about business, society and the media, and what may happen over the next thirty years. And I think my third book will be about evolution and the human motivation to make culture, politics, and science. I'm very interested in the question of the interaction between society and the media over the next thirty or fifty years. I'd like to write two or three more books--one about otaku outside of Japan. Just like you, or Russian otaku, or Turkish otaku, or Chinese otaku...I want to ask these people what they feel about Japanese otaku culture, or what Japan means to them. I'll write perhaps two books more on otaku and animation culture.

AUDIENCE: If you had the chance to pick a story or manga that's already out there, and turn it into an anime film, which would you like to see done?

OKADA: I'm not interested in taking a manga that's already interesting and turning it into an anime. I'd rather take a manga that's *not* very interesting and make it better as an anime. A good manga is a good manga--if anyone makes an anime based on it, it's not better than the manga, or more than the manga originally was--merely that manga in a different medium. And I think that's a waste of time, opportunity, and money. I sometimes say that RANMA 1/2 is a case like this. Everyone must read Rumiko Takahashi's original manga. But in my opinion, the anime version is not greater than the manga. Some producers want to make good anime from good manga. When you have a good manga to work from, it's easy to attract a sponsor, a studio, and staff. Good manga have the kind of star power that will make animators and character designers say, "Oh, I want to work on that! I love that manga!" So, it's very easy to get your production together. But that's not my style. My style is to look for a good idea, or a good scene, in the midst of a not-so-good manga. If I make it into an anime, maybe it can be better than it was. I heard that Mr. Miyazaki thinks the same way. In FUTURE BOY CONAN, he took the basic novel THE INCREDIBLE TIDE, by Alexander Key--not a very good story, in Mr. Miyazaki's view. But he said, "I can take that story, and make a good anime out of it." He has the power to turn a not-so-good story into a good anime. I think he's a not-so-good person--just like me.

AUDIENCE: I was curious--in your youth, what were the non-anime, non-manga influences that turned you into a science-fiction fan?

OKADA: *Tokusatsu,* and science...In 1970, in Japan, the world Expo was held in Osaka. The theme was human progress. I was only an eleven year-old boy back then, and I thought, science can do everything, and make everything better. Man has gone to the Moon, and he'll go to Mars, and Pluto, and to other solar systems. Everything can happen, and everyone will be happy. And I thought the United States could do anything; everyone there is happy. We Japanese will follow them. So we believed then. Of course I can't say that now, in these confused times, but the 1970 Osaka Expo had a tremendous influence on me then, as a young man--that humanity shall progress towards everything, and progress is good. I don't think so, right now...but deep in my mind, there's still a little voice saying, "Human progress is very good! Trust the United States!" [LAUGHS]

AUDIENCE: I remember, in CYBER COMIX NADIA, there was a story set at Expo '70.

OKADA: Oh, yeah.

AUDIENCE: I was just wondering how come you left Gainax in the first place?

OKADA: At first, all the producers and people who helped me there were weak-- they needed me, my help. But now, they've developed their strengths, and they don't need me any more.Many people ask me this, and I always answer, "Everyone has to graduate." I had to graduate once to making films. But now I'm very interested in the the world of journalism, of writing non-fiction. If I were to go back, and be president of Gainax, I think I could make another good anime. But just *good.* Just good. Not something miraclulous, not something that would change everything. Those days have passed for me, so I left the world of anime and entered the world of writing books and teaching at university. Maybe five or ten years from now, computer graphics will have advanced to a point where maybe I could make one or two more films--but maybe I won't. Right now, I don't know.

Evangelion staff interviews from Schizo/Parano

Mitsunari Oizumi's Introduction to Schizo :

September, 1995. The Aum training facility at Suginami. A sermon being deivered by Fumihiro Joyu.

"At this moment I am researching anime. [The members of] Aum are the so-called 'Newtypes.' The children who watch anime are unconsciously choosing and envisioning the form of their own future. In the future, many people will come to possess psychic powers. Armageddon is coming."

This is what Fumihiro Joyu said.

On October 4, 1995, the anime "Neon Genesis Evangelion" began airing. It was a story of Armageddon.

You will know [the full details] once you read the following interview, but this [is a brief account] of how things came to pass. First of all, my (Oizumi's) wife, who was raising our one-year-old in Hitachi, Ibaraki prefecture, and endlessly checking anime videos [to see if they were suitable for a young child], became obsessed with Eva. Next, she made me get the [Eva] filmbook for her in Tokyo, and I became obsessed with Eva. (At this time Akata-kun - the editor of the magazine Quick Japan, put out by the publisher of this book - told me that if you're buying the filmbook, you're done for.) After the broadcast finished on March 27, 1996, Kentaro Takekuma-san, hearing of the series' reputation, watched the entire thing on video, and became obsessed with it.

Takekuma-san was incredible after that. He spent almost a whole day (I was there too, but...) persuading Akata-kun of the necessity of doing a special feature on Eva [for Quick Japan]. [Then,] at the Takekuma-residence, he held a great screening party that recounted the history of the makers of Eva, Gainax and Hideaki Anno, beginning with their University-era anime works, and finishing with Eva [itself]. He opened my eyes - as someone ignorant of the anime industry - to the history [of Anno and Gainax], and he got Akata-kun to agree to the special issue on Eva.

At the same time Takekuma-san privately contacted Mr. Anno, and laid the groundwork for him to accept the interview.

[A member of] the non-fiction industry, I spent almost all of 1995 gathering information on Aum (especially through interviews and direct experience of their spiritual training), while serializing "The Disappearance of the Mangaka" in Quick Japan; I was a complete stranger to the anime industry. On the other hand, Mr. Anno was someone who had lived his whole life in the anime industry. With the two of us having no point of contact at all aside from being absorbed in Eva, Takekuma-san splendidly served as a translator between the two of us, and exhibited a matchless capability as an interviewer as well. I want to express my gratitude to him in writing. More than anything, I want to express my sincere gratitude to Mr. Hideaki Anno for accepting this interview and opening himself up to us.

Oizumi: I myself have been engaged in gathering information on Aum since around January of last year. Since I had didn't know what kind of organization they were, in the end I joined them, and, collecting information the whole time on what kind of people were attracted by the pull of Shoko Asahara, put [my findings] into a book. When I first saw Evangelion last year, I was shocked, wondering if a show like this should be airing, since [the title] contained the same phrase as Aum's radio program [broadcast] from Russia, "Evangelion Tes Basileias."

Anno: A simultaneous occurrence. I didn't know anything at all [about the radio program].

Oizumi: So that made a strong impression on me. After that there was another thing, the images of a Kabbalistic design in the opening sequence. Asahara had also plunged into a variety of different religions, but he had not gone into Kabbalah (laughing). I relaxed a little because of that.

Takekuma: But it was [still] dangerous enough, since in its later period Aum had gone so far as to steal [elements from] Christianity.

Oizumi: Kabbalah is an esoteric form of Judaism, so it was marginal [to Aum's use of Christianity]. When I first watched Evangelion, I thought that it was based upon Kabbalistic thought.

Anno: That was quite a misconception (laughing).

Takekuma: I heard that the second half of the production of Eva was dreadful in terms of the scheduling...

Anno: That's true. We held out well, I think. I don't think that people outside [of the production] realize this, but it was a miracle that we held out as long as we did. To finish that schedule with so few people. Although [you could] also [say] we did it because we were an elite few. To do something like that, with so few people, in such a short amount of time - in this sense, we did very well. There were many points where I depended upon the passion or the mentality of the staff. But these are things that people outside [of the production] are unable to see. The great majority of people judge only the final result. From my perspective, we did everything that we were able to do. Of course, doing something like this is impossible for someone who won't shed their own blood. People who don't shed their own blood won't be able to understand it at a deep level.

Takekuma: A little while ago you described this sort of work as a service industry, but you carried out something like a betrayal of this [principle of] service (in abandoning the story); didn't you feel that to be a self-contradiction?

Anno: No, that was my service (laughing).

Takekuma: Of course (laughing).

Anno: It may not have looked like service, but it was service. It was service that couldn't be recognized [as such]. One aspect of it was, if [the audience was] going to be angry, then I was really going to make [them] angry. Rather than being angry about the [quality of] animation, it would be cleaner if they had a feeling that made them want to flip over the table in front of them.

Oizumi: My own wife fell splendidly into that [trap].

Takekuma: It was like the work triggered a psychological collapse (laughing).

Anno: I also [thought] it would be a topic of discussion, even after it was finished. A part of it was that, for me, providing that discussion would be [a form of] service. [An] unprecedented [service]. Working assiduously at it, we got that kind of ending. [?]

Oizumi: This has to do with the fact that you ended up spending all your money... From an economic standpoint, it's a well-known story that little money remains to be passed down to the animators, or those occupying the lowest positions [among the staff].

Anno: Right. [What they get] is not at all proportionate to the [amount of] content [they create]. All they get to compensate for that [insufficient amount of money] is something psychological. [I can] only have them be pleased with the fact, when they see the finished work, that it is interesting and they are glad to have worked on it. I could only arrange for them to receive a psychological [form of] remuneration. But that becomes a kind of pressure in its own way, because they may stop working on it if it becomes uninteresting. I always have to provide something interesting. It was a game played in earnest.

Takekuma: What did the other staff members say about the final two episodes?

Anno: There were some who were satisfied with it, and some who thought that it was acceptable.

Takekuma: So there wasn't anyone who was dissatisfied with it?

Anno: Hardly anyone. I didn't feel that I could do the final two episodes any other way. [The lack of dissatisfaction] also had to do with the fact that I said we would "retake" [the final two episodes].

Takekuma: If you [had said you] were unable to "retake" [the final two episodes], the reaction would probably have been a little bit different.

Oizumi: Takekuma-san, you yourself treated [the concept of] Armageddon in the story of "Child Planet," serialized in [the magazine] "Young Sunday."

Takekuma: To be honest, because of that, when I saw Eva, I thought, "I give up!" [And also that] we were of the same generation. I think there were similarities in [both of our] motivations. That was a story I thought of about three years ago.

Oizumi: It's the same case with Aum. It's like the same idea bursting forth at the same time from completely unconnected places.

Takekuma: Lacking an idea of [what it means] to be an adult, [we] have to become adults, but we don't know what kind of adult we should become. In this condition, having reached thirty-six years of age, it's disgraceful to say such a thing, but we have not actually discovered reality. Because of this, I felt that Eva, too, fell into a state of profound sadness. Eva is really the story of Shinji-kun becoming an adult.

Anno: That's the same thing as I [myself] becoming an adult. I'm often asked if Shinji-kun [represents] an old version of myself, but that's not the case. Shinji-kun is my current self (laughing). I act like a fourteen-year-old boy; I'm still childish. No matter how you look at it, in psychological terms, I'm [still] in the Oral Stage. A melancholic oral-dependent type. Well, this is a truth I can't deny; I can't do anything about it. I wanted to move forward from there, but the result was that I ended up regressing back to myself. A dead end.

Takekuma: Then in a certain sense the final episode of Eva is an unhappy ending.

Anno: Right, in a certain sense. If you take moving beyond that as being happy, then it's an unhappy ending. If you think it's fine, then it's a happy ending.

Takekuma: At first glance, it takes the form of a happy ending.

Anno: I made [the idea?] the title of the last song on the soundtrack CD. "Good, or Don't Be." OK, or don't live. Good or bad. [Or] is it both? I revealed a little bit of my feelings there.

However, I believe that we have stopped growing where we are and are going around in circles under a [kind of] moratorium, but one [reason] is that we have lost our [capacity for] modeling. There is nothing original in human beings. If I don't know Japanese at least, I can't communicate. Since my parents spoke this way, that's how I speak. If my parents spoke English I would speak English, even if I was in Japan. If my friends spoke Japanese, and I didn't know what [they were saying], then I would go over to speaking in Japanese. I can't invent the Japanese language myself. I'm only capable of doing things through imitation. At that time I begin to imitate my parents and siblings, those closest to me. I can either honor my parents and succeed them, or rebel and follow a different path from my parents. Either way, if I don't have a model, then I can do neither one.

No matter how much of a genius one is, there is something that awakes inspiration. If, like me, you look at nothing but manga and anime, when you have thought up something and created it, what you have thought up will only be something that you have forgotten; without question there will be some previous source for it. Then you will realize it, and recognize what it was, and feel a little bad. Since that was all you looked at, well, it was inevitable, because you are just unconsciously drawing out those things that have sedimented inside of you. No matter how much of a genius you are, if you are translating the emotions of seeing a [certain] flower into a song or a novel, if you were not really cognizant of that flower, you will not get the novel or the song. Human beings cannot create something out of nothing. With so much information flooding [us], we don't know what we should be modeling. Even if I don't know my classmate's birth date, I'll know on what day Momoe Yamaguchi was born (laughing). I'll know the minute [details of] an idol's profile, like her bust, waist, and hip measurements. It's a world, I think, where you feel closer to Momoe Yamaguchi than to your classmate. Characters on television have a stronger feeling of reality than your classmates who really exist. It's incredible, the awareness that the virtual is higher than the real. Growing up in such an environment, we aren't sure if things that are well done have been created or not. [?] When we get older, even if we recognize that those things are false, we take what the announcer on NHK news says to be true. The Japanese have a strong tendency in this direction.

Oizumi: About the complex you have because of your father's body... you said, for instance, in an interview with Animage that even when drawing a robot you're not satisfied until you've erased some part of it.

Anno: Probably I have an attachment towards deformity. I can't love [something] if it's not broken somewhere. I believe that's [due to] the influence of my father['s condition].

Oizumi: The Evas often got deformed as well (laughing).

Takekuma: Toji lost his leg. Why didn't he die there?

Anno: I couldn't kill him.

Takekuma: Of course.

Anno: No, um, I made a certain promise, though I think now I should have broken it. At the very beginiing, when [we] drew up the plan [for Eva], [I met] with the producer, from King Records, who told me, "I will approve the plan you submit, whatever it is, because I have faith in you. However, there will be two conditions. The first one is that you will remain with me for five years. You cannot, for example, do a film version with another [producer]. The additional condition is that you will not kill any children. The adults can die, but I don't want children dying." Because of that condition I couldn't kill [Toji].

Takekuma: There are people who have argued that Nerv is [a representation of] Studio Ghibli (laughing), but in truth Nerv is [a representation of] Gainax.

Anno: That's so. It's what you would call an amateur group.

Takekuma: You are projected into every one of the characters in your work, but you were in Gendo's position, right? The staff had to follow you anyway, even though [they] didn't know what [you were] thinking.

Anno: I'm in that position as far as my standing is concerned. As to whether I'm projecting that much [into him], I don't really think so. But he is certainly my shadow.

Takekuma: Speaking in terms of the drama, there is this enmity between parent and child, [but] the [actual] struggle [between them] remains unrealized.

Anno: Right. It's vague. I was saving it until the final episode, thinking I would do it then.

Oizumi: What I thought was intersting is that at the outset you kill all of the mothers. Was that a projection of something like your [own] maternal image?

Anno: Yeah.

Takekuma: For me, it was different. For me, it was my father who wasn't there. It's unusual, I think, [for people of] my generation to be confronting their fathers.

Anno: I'm not sure that it's a real father [that Gendo represents]. Well, not a father in the sense of a parent with a blood relation to his child, but more, I think, [in the sense of being] a representative of society or the system. That's why he has that expression.

Takekuma: So, he's kind of amorphous.

Anno: The angels are the same. I made them appear amorphous in that way because, for me, society is unclear, the enemy is unclear.

Takekuma: Gendo is [a representation of] the boundries or the pressure of society itself.

Anno: That might be it. Perhaps Gendo is [a representation of] society itself.

Anno: [Making the last two episodes] it felt like my brain kept on producing all these chemicals. When I saw episode 25 after first putting it together, I thought, “I’m a genius.” However, when I re-edited and re-watched it afterwards, I was crushed. It was no good at all. I was embarrassed my lack of ability. I apologize to the staff.

Takekuma: Well, but, the last scene in the final episode was quite something, where the screen cracks and everyone is applauding and congratulating the main character. Watching that, I felt like I was going crazy. It was like, how far are you going with this…?

Anno: Well, there were a lot of things I was thinking about there. The biggest reason [for that scene], I have no intention of revealing. The heart of it, I won’t tell anyone. The most crucial part of the reason why I made episode 26 like that - I still haven’t revealed that anywhere, including in [this magazine,] Quick Japan. That part at least, I won’t tell anyone.

Oizumi: You mean, some personal, formative experience you can’t tell anyone?

Anno: Something a bit more ideological. In these interviews for Quick Japan, we’ve only gone about as far as the inner moat [of the castle]… Well, that part, I’ll be taking to my grave.

Sadamoto: But I thought that the final two episodes were fine. I thought it was simply a matter of the connecting episode between episodes 24 and 25 being missing. That's why we're doing the original episode 25 (the remake version) now. I think it's just that that episode was missing. I saw the initial script. If the original episode 25 had been there, then there would have been a clear link leading up to the television versions of episodes 25 and 26. Just one episode was missing. So I thought [the ending] was fine.

Masayuki: We know that because we're the people who worked on [the series].

Sadamoto: So in my mind there's a clear link [bridging episode 24 and EoTV]. But the ordinary viewers, although they wanted to see the continuation of episode 24, it was omitted. So, they got mad at it.

Oizumi: That's completely right.

Sadamoto: They couldn't see the relation [between 24 and EoTV].

Tsurumaki: Well, it's because the original episode 25 script was completed [but not used].

Sadamoto: Because I've seen [that script], I thought, [watching EoTV], well, even this much is fine.

Sadamoto: I think that we expected the "grand finale" of the initial planning stages to be more conventional. In the finale, there was going to be a scene with a fight against angels on the surface of the moon. And then, after a number of years had passed, a message would be written on the moon's surface. We discussed something like that, something along the lines of "Gunbuster."

Sadamoto: The truth is that in the initial planning stages, there was a draft outline of the final episode. There were lines in it that were exactly the same as "Nadia." Even the lines were the same - what were the lines?

Sato: "Live!" and so on.

Sadamoto: Right, the father says "live!" and so forth. It was something like that.

Sadamoto: (Kotono Mistuishi) cried reading a script, for example. When Anno-san heard that - guts pose! (laughing)

Masayuki: What episode was that?

Sadamoto: 25.

Takekuma: Misato's voice actress cried reading the script?

Sadamoto: So Anno did a guts pose. The supervisor of the manga also cried [reading it], and when Anno heard that, he did another guts pose (laughing). He was victorious, because two members of society had been reduced to tears. However, after it was finished, people told him various things, and he went into a state of collapse. What happened to the guts pose? (laughing)

Masayuki: When he was making episode 25 he was saying, "I'm a genius." Then after it had broadcast, he came out of his room looking dazed. "Why did I make such a strange thing?" (laughing)

Sato: The last episode was the same, wasn't it?

Masayuki: Well, he didn't say anything about the last episode. Just with episode 25, he seemed to be extremely pleased with it. Then when he saw the broadcast, it was like, "I'm an idiot..." (laughing)

Sato: Afterwards he was looking at the reactions on message boards from a distance (laughing). Although he was saying he was going to ignore them, he was still looking out of the corner of his eye at the monitor. “I’m probably not going to look….” he said. “Right, I’m not going to look.”

Sadamoto: But I thought that the final two episodes were fine. I thought it was simply a matter of the connecting episode between episodes 24 and 25 being missing. That’s why we’re doing the original episode 25 (the remake version) now. I think it’s just that that episode was missing. I saw the initial script. If the original episode 25 had been there, then there would have been a clear link leading up to the television versions of episodes 25 and 26. Just one episode was missing. So I thought [the ending] was fine.

Masayuki: We know that because we’re the people who worked on [the series].

Sadamoto: So in my mind there’s a clear link [bridging episode 24 and 25]. But the ordinary viewers, although they wanted to see the continuation of episode 24, it was omitted. So, they got mad at it.

Oizumi: That’s completely right.

Sadamoto: They couldn’t see the relationship [between 24 and 25].

Tsurumaki: Well, it’s because the original episode 25 script was completed [but not used].

Sadamoto: Because I’ve seen [that script], I thought, [watching the ending], well, even this much is fine.

Oizumi: Since you talked about it [in the previous interview], I recently read Ryu Murakami’s “All Men are Consumable Goods.” Afterwards I met a woman who was a fan of Ryu Murakami. When we discussed what [women] see in [his works], in the end, [it has to do with the fact that] women want to be revered as women. It seems [his works are] very satisfying on that account.

Anno: Ah, I imagine so. He’s a feminist, Ryu Murakami.

Oizumi: I know. So, she said, it brightens her mood when she reads his works.

Anno: On the other hand I often hear of men getting angry when they read “All Men are Consumable Goods.” I feel, basically, that people getting angry at that resembles (fans) hearing what I say [in interviews] and getting angry [at me]. I thought that it was somehow something similar, since Ryu Murukami is a pathetic person as well.

Oizumi: [A similar] patheticness.

Anno: Yeah. In the sequel to “The World Five Minutes From Now” (“Hyuga Virus”), which just came out, we see the methodology of that patheticness, which is good. In Ryu Murakami’s previous novels, he occupies the position of God. In “The Fascism of Love and Illusion,” [he is] the dictator, Toji. He projects himself into a man of absolute strength. Taking into account the fact that he cannot maintain himself [psychologically] if he abandons this sort of conviction, it’s pathetic, [and therefore] good. However, I find in “Hyuga Virus,” with the protagonist, [Murakami] didn’t just depict strength, but also the weakness of people who seek to be strong. So Ryu Murakami finally recognized himself, and stood in his own position. He was honest, I thought.

Oizumi: So you felt that there were points in common between the two of you.

Anno: The fact that [he] sells that patheticness, well, there is a similar atmosphere, I like to think.

Anno: "Ai to Gensou no Fascism." I like "Zero" [from that novel]. He is a highly dependent personality. I think Ryu Murakami and I are the same [as Zero]: empty people. Really pathetic people.

Takekuma: His writing style is very stylish. [His books are] the type you keep reading because of the style.

Anno: In the end, there's nothing else. It's pathetic people trying to maintain themselves, living dependently on women.

Takekuma: So, the character Zero is Murakami's own self-projection.

Anno: He remains unable to reject Zero. That also reveals a pathetic quality; the man himself aims at the opposite, but in the end part of his true feelings come out through Zero. It's an amazingly good novel. I think Murakami is also an "oral stage" dependent type. He is overly fixated on the mother, and overly fixated on women. He is also fixated on the idea of crying into a woman's chest. Finally, he is always thinking of doing away with his father. I think it's a story of the Oedipus Complex.

Takekuma: There's a desire to destroy the system [in Murakami's work].

Anno: Yes. It's a story of the Oedipus Complex, where one kills one's father and violates one's mother. However, when I started [Eva], I thought the same [way]. Because it [was] a story where Shinji kills his father and steals his mother from him.

Takekuma: A mother who has become a giant (laughs).

Anno: There was this replacement by a robot, so the original mother is the robot, but then there is a mother of the same age, Rei Ayanami, by [Shinji's] side. [She is] also by the side of the real father. There is also another father there, Adam, who governs the overall course of events. An Oedipus Complex within these multiple structures; that's what I wanted to do. "Ai to Genso no Fascism." I think there are ideological elements that are the same as those in the novel. [...] The thing that most moved me was [the fact that] when the protagonist, Toji Suzuhara, attempted to kill the current Prime Minister, he felt [the Prime Minister] was very much like a father. He thinks, I will kill my father, and violate my mother, Japan. So, he goes on to destroy Japan. I really like that passage. I like that Ryu Murakami's real feelings come out there. The novel itself is extremely boring, however (laughs).

Takekuma: I see. That’s interesting. There were places where it didn’t seem that way at all.

Anno: Hmm. One reason was that I made a miscalculation. Episode six was too soon.

Takekuma: Episode six was too soon? Ah, the decisive battle in Tokyo-3. There was a level of intensity there like that of a final episode.

Anno: When creating the characters for Eva - in the case of Asuka, [when I had] the lines “Anta Baka!?” and “Chance…”, I thought, ah, this is going to work. In the case of Rei, it was the line in episode six: “You won’t die. I will protect you.” And also at the end, when Rei says, “I don’t know what kind of expression I should have at a time like this,” and Shinji says, “I think you should smile,” and Rei smiles. I felt like, ah, this is going to work. At those two points, Rei’s character was created. However, when I thought about it afterwards, I cursed. I thought, in short, that if she has [already] communicated with Shinji there, then isn’t she over with? At that moment, Rei, for me, was finished, all at once.

Takekuma: You had finished depicting her.

Anno: Right. When she smiled, she was already finished with, this character.

Takekuma: I understand. Because of that, it feels like the human relationships take a step backwards afterwards.

Anno: Yeah. It was the same as in Tsuburaya’s “Return of Ultraman.” [Just] when the relationship between [Hideki] Go and MAT improves, and you think [he] will get on well with other people, then next week things begin again from [a position of] estrangement. At that point something emerges of my mistrust or fear of communication with others.

Oizumi: When I look at Rei Ayanami, I’m reminded of the girls in Aum. In short, they’re all dependent upon their Guru, Asahara.

Takekuma: [She devotes herself] wholeheartedly, with a heart like a hard shell.

Oizumi: Exactly. And, on the topic of substitutions, can we think of Rei Ayanami as being a person like your mother?

Anno: That’s not quite right.

Takekuma: There’s also nothing like the image of a girl you previously dated [in her], right?

Anno: No. Well, Rei is probably [the character] closest to my deep psyche. I don’t really understand her. … The truth is, I have no emotional attachment to her at all.

Takekuma: Huh? Is that right?

Anno: Yeah. I have no emotional attachment to her. Well, Nobita-san wrote [about her] as being a symbol of schizophrenia. There were parts where that was actually what I wanted to do [with her].

Takekuma: But she is the character best received by the fans in the outside world. Even I was drawn in by Rei at the beginning.

Oizumi: That’s right. Megumi Hayashibara’s voice was also incredible.

Anno: But Rei is [the character] I least understand. In addition, I’m not really that interested in her. There were parts where that’s what I was consciously doing, actively trying to put aside my presuppositions, trying to bring out the most primitive, the most core, the purest parts within me.

Oizumi: So Rei is perhaps [something] embedded in your unconscious [that] can’t be expressed in words.

Anno: Even in the midst of making Eva, I suddenly realized I had forgotten her. Her very existence. In episode seven, I remembered, and added a single shot with Rei. I had no emotional attachment to her at all. I think that was fine, because she didn’t appear in episode eight, not even for a single shot.

Anno: [For human beings?], there is no 'original.' ... When those like me, who don't watch anything but anime and manga, suddenly hit upon something, what we discovered will only be something within us we forgot about, there will necessarily be some original [elsewhere]. ... I feel a bit bad [about it].

Anno: Fundamentally, Eva is just my life copied out onto film. I'm [still] alive, so the story hasn't finished.

Anno: The characters of 'Eva' are all composite personalities based around my own personality.

Shinji-kun is the current me

Anno: I think that [one?] has to be more cognizant of that. The fact that we have nothing.

I think [Murakami] is the same as me, an empty person.

Anno: If we assume that an 'original' exists, it's nothing but my life. ... I can't deny that everything else may be counterfeit.

Oizumi: I find that both Anno-san and Takekuma-san [produce] incredibly self-referential works.

Takekuma: Isn’t that the tendency of our generation?

Anno: Well, we want to understand ourselves.

Takekuma: We have indefinite selves without models or norms, so we refer back to our selves [in our works].

Anno: Society is indefinite as well. There are countless indefinite aspects [of our situation]. That indefiniteness disgusts me. Everyone and everything - including anime fans, and even Aum - is hazy and uncertain. It’s the society that sets those values. Even Aum was something hazy and uncertain prior to the incident.

Oizumi: [As part of my research [Oizumi wrote one of the early & still-cited works on Aum]] I’m a member of Aum now, and even now it’s extraordinarily indefinite. Every member is different. [It’s composed of] a variety of different people, but the society has declared it to be this [particular sort of] organization.

Anno: Anime fans and the anime industry are also indefinite. In a manner of speaking all of Japan is indefinite. I hated this, and I wanted to construct a barrier between myself and society. Expressing it in terms of the show, it was an “AT Field,” a pattern [of behavior] where I would tear apart or reject anything that crossed the boundary line between myself and others. Perhaps [that was the] “barrier of the heart.”

Anno: Another [major influence] was the seventh volume of the Nausicaa manga.

Takekuma: That [volume] is incredible. It reversed all the values [that had been in place].

Anno: I felt like it was the same as what I [was doing]. After that I couldn’t help but make [the work into] Nausicaa, to treat the same themes as the seventh volume of Nausicaa.

Oizumi: Nausicaa was unable to live as one of the ancients.

Anno: She rejected coexistence [with them]. She bloodied her hands so that her own people would survive. That was good. This karmic punishment that required [her] to destroy [them] with the abhorred fire of the God Warriors - that was good (laughing). [Good] because the true views of Hayao Miyazaki were expressed, and there, at least, he took off his underwear [and showed himself naked]. In the manga he took off his underwear, and his penis was erect (laughing). I am hoping that he will do the same in Princess Mononoke.

Takekuma: There are people who will not rest satisfied with works [of fiction], but feel they must change reality. Is there something within you that is “Asahara-like,” or are you conscious of something like a desire to change reality?

Anno: I think so.

Oiziumi: Is it that you are trying to do this through the production of anime?

Anno: Mmm. Right. To an extent I was also trying to change the consciousness of the anime industry itself. However, it seems to have been a failure.

Takekuma: Do you mean that people in the industry regard Eva as having been an exceptional case?

Anno: That’s right. [They see] (Gainax) as an exception. So they don’t take [us] as one of their own. And that’s given rise to jealousy, abuse, and slander - to something like an inferiority complex. But there were a few people [on our side]. There were certainly people who tried to understand what it is we were doing, or who understood fairly well. I was happy about that. There were [such] people both in the industry and among the fans. So there was value in doing it, I think.

Takekuma: So you’re not in despair.

Anno: I do feel despair, but that’s where [you] begin from. Everything begins out of despair. In the words of Yukio Mishima, “love is born only out of despair”; “true reformers do not speak of [their] despair.” I think that might be the case.

Takekuma: Have you always felt something like a sense of isolation [from others]?

Anno: A sense of isolation? Well, I wasn’t really aware [of what I was feeling]. It’s probably that I wasn’t all that interested in [other] human beings.

Takekuma: It sounds strange to speak of depersonalization disorder, but there was no reality in your actual relationships with other human beings.

Anno: My actual… well… I probably [just] wasn’t interested in anything other than myself.

Takekuma: Something like narcissism[, then].

Anno: Well, something like that, I think. In the end it was something like not having much interest in the things around me, including my family. The truth was I probably had no [interest]. I didn’t really know [why] myself.

Takekuma: Do you dislike people?

Anno: Umm. Well, before people, I dislike living things. I don’t like animals either. The fact that I don’t eat meat or fish is probably also due to disliking [living things]. I think, how can I eat something so disgusting? [Though] that’s still not a clear answer [to the question].

Oizumi: What about plants?

Anno: Well, I dislike [plants] too. Really.

Takekuma: So, you gravitate towards mecha, for example.

Anno: Well, I think that’s why I like mecha.

Takekuma: Have you been troubled by your dislike for human beings, or your inability to draw images of living things?

Anno: Umm… It causes difficulties, since I can’t do my job [because of it]. Since I have no interest in human beings, of course the hardest thing [for me to do is create] a human drama.

Takekuma: But that’s what you tried to do in Eva, isn’t it?

Anno: I tried, but I was completely unable to do it. I didn’t have the capability. Pathetic, as usual.

Oizumi: You think that you were unable to do it, but others around you, who get worked up with enthusiasm [thinking] about the characters, would be surprised.

Anno: It’s a matter of comparison, I think.

Oziumi: Ah, I see. You mean that other works do even worse (laughing).

Anno: Yeah. Because everyone just says, “I’m making a human drama.” I think, how can they say that?

Takekuma: You’re saying, it’s not that easy.

Anno: A human drama isn’t something you can make that easily. You’re depicting other people, people you don’t understand at all. On top of that, you also have to depict the relationships between them. I don’t think it’s easy. There do exist “human dramas” as patterns: you have typical characters, and [you know that] if they do such-and-such a thing, such-and-such will result; but those are false articles. Well, they are good in their own way, as an artificial world you can watch without concern. For me, this time, [that sort of thing] was no good. [Neither myself] nor the staff would have been satisfied with that level [of work]. Well, in the end, no matter how much I considered it I was unable to do it, so I had no choice but to project myself into the drama. So it only seems to be a human drama.

Takekuma: Ah, that’s what you meant by saying, “all the characters in Eva are me, myself.”

Anno: It’s non-fiction, what I’m making now. It would be completely impossible for me to do it as fiction. I don’t have that kind of ability. I see arrogance in those who think that they could easily create such a work. Arrogance, or else a lack of understanding. Well, in reality Eva is closer to being a documentary than a drama.

Takekuma: What happened with [the sex scene] (in episode 20)?

Otsuki: I didn’t see it when it aired (laughing). I saw it for the first time the other day with Anno-san, as part of some video being edited. “Anno-san,” I said, “I would of course have stopped you if I had known about this” (laughing loudly).

Takekuma: So, you didn’t interfere at all in the work.

Otsuki: I don’t like [involving myself in the creative aspect], so all the conversations [I had] concerning the settei or the contents [of the work] were mostly just at the outset. After it started airing I had no consultations [with Anno about the content] at all; those were exclusively with Tatsunoko’s Ueda-san. When Anno-san met with me, he was basically rage incarnate. “The sakuga isn’t finished,” and so on, [complaining about] this thing and that. And about love (laughing). All kinds of things like that. My role was to listen to his complaints. We also had theoretical or philosophical conversations, about the state of society and so on. In the conversations between the two of us, not even the first syllable of the word “Eva” was pronounced. On the contrary, I felt [that Anno] didn’t want to talk about Eva. [At least] when he was with someone like me.

Takekuma: When he was in conversation with you.

Otsuki: Yeah. Ueda-san was doing it for me, so I [just] decided to stop discussing Eva [with Anno] altogether. Because of that, even now, to be honest - and I have to apologize before everyone for this - I have hardly seen anything [of Eva] from about episode ten to episode nineteen or so. Yesterday, one of the young people working for me was making a promotional TV spot for Eva, and [in the footage he was using] the blue Evangelion was throwing a spear at an angel in the heavens. It was amazing, I thought. I saw it for the first time yesterday (laughing).

Oizumi: Yesterday? That’s a famous scene! (laughing)

Otsuki: It went *whoosh* through the air. And then I still haven’t seen the black Evangelion.

Sato (stunned): That [episode] is already out on LaserDisc. It went on sale last month.

Sadamoto: In the end [the usage of the Dead Sea Scrolls and so on in Eva] is an aftereffect from Nadia. In the final episode there is a scene where Gargoyle, the villain, comes into contact with the light [from the Blue Water] and turns into a pillar of salt. So, in the initial proposal for Eva, the huge explosion that was caused in Antarctica [in the final series] was [instead] an explosion at the Dead Sea.

Tsurumaki: The “Dead Sea Evaporation Incident.”

Sadamoto: It was the “Dead Sea Evaporation Incident,” in the initial proposal. So it was connecting up with the world view of Nadia. I believe that Anno-san was thinking about that.

Sato: [Eva taking place] in a parallel [world].

Takekuma: [Eva would have been] something like a continuation of Nadia, in actuality.

Tsurumaki: Perhaps, at one point, that was the intention. I wonder if [Anno] made [things] intending a world where, for example, there would be accounts preserved of the appearance of UFOs in Paris at the end of the 19th century.

Sadamoto: I believe that [Anno] was thinking of something like that at the beginning. I think [it was going to be] a bit more of a manga-esque world.

[Editor’s Note on Gargoyle: The leader of an organization appearing in Nadia, Neo-Atlantis, which aims to rule the world. Director Anno said at the time that [this character is where] his personality comes out the most. [Gargoyle’s] voice actor, Motomu Kiyokawa, who played a number of villains in tokusatsu works, is much admired by the director.]

Sadamoto: [I first met him when] I worked part-time drawing genga for the Macross television series as a University student. I would help out a little in between attending school. So I think the first [encounter] was when I caught sight of Anno-san at Artland. There was a unit called the “Mecha Squad,” which included (Ichiro) Itano-san among its members, who were all living there [at Artland] (laughing). The story would take some time to recount

Oizumi: No, please tell it at length.

Sadamoto: I was attending the manga studies program at the Tokyo University of Art and Design. Mahiro Maeda was a student there, and he invited me to work together with him on Macross. When Maeda was in high school, (Takami) Akai-san had been an older student [at his school], and [Akai’s later] classmates at the Osaka University of Arts were Hiroyuki Yamaga and Hideaki Anno. In the beginning those three were all working on Macross. Akai-san quickly gave up on it and returned to Osaka, but Yamaga-san and Anno-san remained behind at Artland and helped out with Macross. Yamaga-san was placed in charge of directing an episode for the first time with episode nine…

Sato: The storyboards as well?

Sadamoto: Yeah, he ended up doing the storyboards and the direction, and [saw] he didn’t have enough people. Yamaga-san began searching for talented people in Tokyo, and when he asked Akai-san about it, [Akai] told him to use [an old] schoolmate of his in the manga studies program at the Tokyo University of Art and Design. So Mahiro Maeda, seeming not to want to go by himself, invited me to go with him. I had an interest in animation, so I assisted [on Macross] for about a year. During that period, I would from time to time catch sight of Anno-san. [I noticed,] “there is this tall fellow who sometimes walks around in his bare feet” (laughing).

Takekuma: At that time, he didn’t give off a sense that you could approach him very easily, right?

Sadamoto: I didn’t approach him. Anno-san, he was always talking to himself in a loud voice. You could understand what he was saying even from far away. You would hear this loud voice from the other side of the hallway: “I’ve got it! The timing of Itano’s explosions - !” [the Itano circus] (laughing loudly)

Sato: That’s the same as he is now.

Sadamoto: He would say “I’ve got it!” and suddenly begin drawing, and go to (Shojo) Kawamori-san, or some other director - my own immediate [supervising] director was Fumihiko Takayama-san - he would go to Takayama-san and explain the drawing in minute detail, saying how many frames it should take, and how things were to be arranged, and how it would disappear. So, when, seeing his intensity, I wondered who he was, Mahiro Maeda told me “That’s Anno-san; he worked on Daicon III.” “Ah, I see,” I thought. “He loves to draw mecha.”

Anno: I understood the moment Toji [Suzuhara] felt contempt for his staff. I once had such a moment myself. At that point, I felt like for the first time I understood the position of a director. As I am in the position of both producer and director, my staff have to depend on me. That’s an inevitable part of the system. There’s no other person who can place themselves in my position. Inevitably, a producer/director is a dictator, but [being a dictator] is its own kind of isolation.

Oizumi: At that point Zero alone is in the same position, and [Toji] feels a bond with him.

Anno: Right. To those on the outside, it looks like an illusion, but when it comes down to it I believe that happiness itself is an illusion. Human beings cannot escape from their solitude. All they can do is forget it. At that moment [of forgetfulness], they will be happy. That’s my recent conclusion. In order [to forget], you can watch anime, or sleep with a girl, and if you can escape from your loneliness while doing it, then perhaps you will be happy. If, when I get totally drunk, I feel like I am not alone, that’s an illusion, but it’s happiness.

It’s a work that mirrors the self of each and every person that watches it. That’s because [the show contains] an excessive amount of information, and the projections of the viewers simply return to them. For each person, the appeal [of the show] is also different.

Hiroyuki Yamaga: May 1998 issue of "Evangelion"

On Anno’s severe depression, his “crisis of the soul,” as a motive in the development of Evangelion.

YAMAGA: Well, I think Anno may have appeared in the Japanese media as you suggest; he’s made comments about wanting to die, and so forth, but at least from my perspective, things were never as serious as they appeared in the press. [LAUGHS]

On the reasons for use of Judeo-Christian symbology in Eva

YAMAGA: I don’t know exactly why. I suspect that Mr. Anno may have read some book on it, and there was some thoughts he wanted to express on it. I personally am glad that, rather than Christianity, he didn’t express some obscure Buddhist theme, because then it would have been linked more with Aum Shinri Kyo. [LAUGHS]

On whether Anno and Yamaga are fans of David Lynch, and whether Anno is “the Kurt Cobain of anime.”

YAMAGA: As far as Mr. Anno committing suicide or anything like that [LAUGHS], I’m not really sure how to say this, but, while sometimes he might seem very emotional, when you get to know him, he doesn’t come off like that at all. [LAUGHS] As far as David Lynch is concerned, I don’t dislike David Lynch, but on the other hand, he’s not someone I’m a huge fan of, either. As far as Anno, there have been people who have called Evangelion the anime equivalent of Twin Peaks. [LAUGHS]

Interview with Yoshiyuki Sadamoto, Animerica Vol. 6, No. 8

ANIMERICA: When did you first decide to become a manga artist?

Sadamoto: Right about the time I was in elementary school and middle school, Mazinger Z by Go Nagai, and Leiji Matsumoto's Battlefield manga series were just coming out. About that time I thought it might be nice to become a manga artist.

ANIMERICA: How did you go about designing the characters for The Wings of Honneamise? Did you use real people as reference?

Sadamoto: I designed them from several meetings with the director, Yamaga. Basically, I drew faces that look similar to my friends, but some of the characters were designed using actors as reference. For example, Shirotsugu was designed using Robin Williams (The World According to Garp) and Treat Williams (Hair) as reference, and the director of the Space Force was based on Lee Van Cleef.

ANIMERICA: How did you come up with the unique designs for the clothing and uniforms of Honneamise?

Sadamoto: As you can see in animation and manga, Japanese typically look on Western designs as otherworldly. So to avoid that stereotype, I tried to capture the essence of the oriental world, such as China or India.

ANIMERICA: What were your influences during the time you designed characters for Nadia?

Sadamoto: The basic direction was toward a Jules Verne (20,000 Leagues Under the Sea) style, so I looked toward Disney's movie and a television special on the Wright Brothers for inspiration. However, I didn't want my designs to be confused with Hayao Miyazaki's Castle in the Sky: Laputa.

ANIMERICA: Since Nadia was set in the 19th century, were there any particular impressions you wanted to leave the audience with?

Sadamoto: Of course we were trying for an element of nostalgia, but since this was a world within a dream, we wanted to make sure the audience didn't concentrate too much on realism. We wanted to leave the impression of a world where anything could happen.

ANIMERICA: What made you decide to draw the Evangelion manga?

Sadamoto: It's hard to put into words. All can say is I had a desire to draw it.

ANIMERICA: How did you come up with the characters for Evangelion? Did you design them with actual people in mind?

Sadamoto: It half feels like God came down and guided my right hand. There were some television dramas and specials I used for reference, but mainly I designed them according to my individual preferences.

ANIMERICA: While you were drawing the battle scenes, were there things you noticed, things that were particularly difficult, or things that were particularly interesting?

Sadamoto: I think the battle scenes in the comic can't hold a candle to the scenes in the animation. With that in mind, I made it my motto to make the battle scenes as easy to understand as possible. My heart's desire is to have the time to add more pages to those scenes.

ANIMERICA: How many people are on your production staff? Are the duties clearly divided, like they are with American comics? And how long does it take to turn out one comic installment?

Sadamoto: I use two or three assistants to lay down the screentone, and recently, I've drawn quite a few rough backgrounds and given them to assistants to fill in details. Including the story and pencils, it usually takes about three weeks for one story. Unlike American comics, I do all the basic parts of the comic myself.

ANIMERICA: Why do you think Evangelion has become such a record-breaking hit?

Sadamoto: I think it's a combination of many factors, but simply put, it stumbled upon what the era was looking for. That about sums up my impression.

ANIMERICA: What made its popularity different from that of other productions?

Sadamoto: There's the anime mania; it even drew in adults who would normally never watch an animated show.

ANIMERICA: It's popular in America also. What do you think is the basis of that popularity? And if you have the feeling that people in other countries would be enthusiastic about it also, could you please tell us why?

Sadamoto: I thought only the Japanese would be keyed in to this story. If it's true that it has become popular in many countries, then it means that the whole world feels the same disease of the soul. This isn't something we should be happy about. [LAUGHS]

ANIMERICA: Who is your favorite character? Which character do you have the most fun drawing? Who is the hardest to draw, and why is this so?

Sadamoto: The female characters are the most fun. The main character, Shinji, with his subtle expressions, is the most difficult.

ANIMERICA: Do you like drawing cute animal characters, such as Evangelion's Pen-Pen the penguin or Nadia's lion cub King?

Sadamoto: I love it. But when I'm designing them, I'm actually selling you on the humanity of the pet. More than the cute exterior, I find the essence of the character to be the most important.

ANIMERICA: How are you presently involved with the new game/manga/animation project Blue Uru?

Sadamoto: Presently, I'm working on the game.

ANIMERICA: I've heard your wife is also a manga artist. How are your styles different?

Sadamoto: We're completely different, but I find that I've become somewhat influenced by her tastes as a woman's comic artist. She is very helpful when checking on my n?mu (full-size pencil layouts with dialogue included).

ANIMERICA: You and your wife have also collaborated on projects together. Could you tell us some of the good and bad points of that kind of working relationship?

Sadamoto: Those individual points that could never have come from me are both the best and worst points of collaboration, in comics or animation.

ANIMERICA: Can you tell us what new projects are in the works and what kind of vision you have for the future?

Sadamoto: I really haven't thought of projects that I would do purely on an individual level. I'm involved in Blue Uru and other Gainax productions. I hope you'll enjoy them.

ANIMERICA: As you're both an animator and a character designer - which profession do you prefer?

Sadamoto: I like both, but the work of character designer seems to fit my personality better.

ANIMERICA: What would you say is your fondest memory of working in animation?

Sadamoto: There are so many that I can't pick just one, but I'd say it's all the people I've met and all the strange foreign countries I was able to see while researching projects.

ANIMERICA: How do you spend your days off?

Sadamoto: I tinker with motorcycles or cars, go riding, build models, play with my kids, or when nothing is pressing, I just do nothing.

ANIMERICA: You mentioned motorcycles and cars. What kinds have you ridden in? Do you have any fond memories or ambitions regarding them?

Sadamoto: I'm in love with Italian cars, but because of short availability, presently I have only two English Lotuses and one French Citroen. Basically, I like foreign cars because I feel that through them, I can get an understanding of foreign cultures.

ANIMERICA: Do you have any advice for your American fans who might want to become manga artists?

Sadamoto: I'd say more than the desire to become a manga artist, figure out what you would like to say and pay attention to that. Remember that manga is only one medium in which to present your ideas, and put your best effort into it.

ANIMERICA: Do you have any messages for your English-speaking fans?

Sadamoto: Thank you for following the Gainax productions up until now, and I'll be working on more projects in the future, so I hope I can continue to count on your support!

Kazuya Tsurumaki: Q&A from "Amusing Himself to Death"

  • Article from Akadot by Owen Thomas
  • Amusing Himself to Death: Kazuya Tsurumaki speaks about the logic and illogic that went into creating FLCL. The except is actually from a Q&A at Otakon.
  • Source: page 1, page 2, page 3

When Tsurumaki visited Baltimore to speak to American fans at the recent Otokon Convention, predictably, many of the questions were along the lines of, "Hi, I really loved FLCL [or Evangelion], but could you please explain this part of it to me?"

Tsurumaki answered all questions genially with a self-deprecating and often mischievous sense of humor. For example:

Why does Haruko hit Naota over the head with her guitar?

Kazuya Tsurumaki: Naota is trying to be a normal adult and she belts him to make him rethink his decision.

Why does Evangelion end violently, and somewhat unhappily?

KT: People are accustomed to sweet, contrived, happy endings. We wanted to broaden the genre, and show people an ugly, unhappy ending.

Why is the character of Shinji portrayed as he is?

KT: Shinji was modeled on director Hideki Anno. Shinji was summoned by his father to ride a robot, Anno was summoned by Gainax to direct an animation. Working on Nadia [Nadia: Secret of the Blue Water, one of Anno and Tsurumaki's earlier projects] he wondered if he still wanted to work like this. He thought that working on Eva could help him to change.

Is there any particular reason why so many Gainax series feature very anxious, unhappy young male protagonists with no parents?

KT: Yes, the directors at Gainax are all basically weak, insecure, bitter, young men. So are many anime fans. Many Japanese families, including my own, have workaholic fathers whose kids never get to see them. That may influence the shows I create.

Could you explain the mecha bursting from Naota's head in FLCL?

KT: I use a giant robot being created from the brain to represent FLCL coming from my brain. The robot ravages the town around him, and the more intensely I worked on FLCL the more I destroyed the peaceful atmosphere of Gainax.

Why doesn't FLCL follow one story?

KT: In the third episode Ninamori was almost a main character, a kid who, like Naota, has to act like an adult. After episode three her problem was solved so we wrote her out. She has many fans in Japan and we got plenty of letters about that decision. For FLCL I wanted to portray the entire history of Gainax, and each episode has symbols of what happened behind the scenes on each of Gainax's shows. Episode one has many elements of Karekano; episode two, a lot of Evangelion references, etc.

Where does the title FLCL come from?

KT: I got the idea from a CD in a music magazine with the title Fooly-Cooly. I like the idea of titles that are shortened long English words. Pok?mon for "Pocket-Monsters" for instance, and an old J-pop band called Brilliant Green that was known as "Brilly-Grilly."

Is there any reason why the extra scenes added to Eva for the video release were cut in the first place? Did you think the story would mean something different with them intact?

KT: The scenes that were added to Eva for its video release aren't that important. We added them as an apology for taking so long to get the video out. Maybe they'll help people understand things, because the episodes were done under tough deadlines the first time around.

Can you explain the symbolism of the cross in Evangelion?

KT: There are a lot of giant robot shows in Japan, and we did want our story to have a religious theme to help distinguish us. Because Christianity is an uncommon religion in Japan we thought it would be mysterious. None of the staff who worked on Eva are Christians. There is no actual Christian meaning to the show, we just thought the visual symbols of Christianity look cool. If we had known the show would get distributed in the US and Europe we might have rethought that choice.

Interview with Yuko Miyamura (BS AnimeYAWA)

The commentators, Okada Toshio and Inui Kimiko featured six guests:

Miyamura Yuuko, voice actress of Asuka
Ootsuki Toshimichi, producer of the anime
Karasawa Shunichi, subculture columnist
Kotani Mari, sci-fi and fantasy critic
Takimoto Tatsuhiko, novelist
Fujitsu Ryouta, anime critic

In the 55-minute talk show, they talked about the scenes they like, how this anime should have been evaluated in the field of literature, and so forth. Their favorite scenes are as follows:

Ootsuki: Opening
Miyamori: Shinji and Aska's unison fight against the enemy in episode 9.
Takimoto: Depressed Shinji in episode 4 and the movie.
Kotani: Evangelion eating the Angel in episode 19.

For the first time in ten years, some of them told the private episodes of those days. Producer Ootsuki said he allowed Anno to do whatever he wanted in the anime except for the theme music. Ootsuki was particular about the theme and handled the music staff by himself. No anime staff, even Anno, met the music staff, he said.

Miyamura who played Asuka revealed the movie's final line "Kimochi warui." (Disgusting) was her idea, and it proved the rumor "Asuka's final line was Miyamura’s idea” among the fans was true. She said the final line supposed to had been "Anta nankani korosareru nowa mappira yo!" It can be translated "I'd never want to be killed by you of all men, absolutely not!"

Rough translation of her talk is as follows:

I had been thinking directors should convey their ideal how the show shold be to us. But Anno pitches us questions such as "What do you think for yourself if things went on such and such ways to you?" After recording all lines of the movie, I was called to the studio because the final line needed to be revised. Ogata came there too as it was Asuka and Shinji's scene. Asuka's final line was "Anta nankani korosareru nowa mappira yo!" in the film scenario. Anno didn't live with my line no matter how many times I tried. Ogata and I were at a loss how we should play what Anno wanted to express; she even tried to ride on me and choke me to meet his demand. He must have been pursuing reality. Concerning the final line we adopted, I'm not sure whether I should say about it in fact. At last Anno asked me "Miyamura, just imagine you are sleeping in your bed and a stranger sneaks into your room. He can rape you anytime as you are asleep but he doesn't. Instead, he masturbates looking at you, when you wake up and know what he did to you. What do you think you would say?" I had been thinking he was a strange man, but at that moment I felt disgusting. So I told him that I thought "Disgusting". And then he sighed and said "... thought as much." He said. " I thought as much. "

Interview with Toshmichi Otsuki (Neon Genesis Evangelion producer)

  • (Courtesy of Mainichi News)
  • (Awaiting original source link)
  • (Circa 2006)


'Toshimichi Otsuki, working as producer in tandem with director Hideaki Anno, helped create "Evangelion," a manga that changed the cartoon business in Japan.

Evangelion led the way in forming the foundations of the anime business by pioneering what have become manga marketing staples such as screening on late-night TV, software sales and merchandising.

But, as an interview with Mainichi Manga Town's Kei Watanabe showed, Evangelion has not entirely been a bed of roses for the man who started as a humble producer and is now the managing director of King Records.'



Otsuki: It's probably been a tough 10 years from the point of view of an anime producer.

I'm now 44 and I made Evangelion when I was 34. It's about the time in your career when you start thinking about taking the next big step.

In those 10 years, I've produced works like "Shojo Kakumei Utena" (Revolutionary Girl Utena) and "Sokyu no Fafuna" (Dead Aggressor), but nothing I've done has surpassed Evangelion.


Otsuki: Without doubt, the hardest thing was when we couldn't make the opening deadline for the movie back in 1997.

We couldn't release a complete work and were forced to bring out a movie in both the spring and again in the summer.

We had been working on the movie version while the TV series while still running for the first time, but I knew by the end of 1996 that we weren't going to make the deadline, so I made the decision to create two movies.

Anno-san never apologized, though. The end result was that we got almost the same amount of people in to watch both movies, which made the distributor, Toho, very happy, but it was really tough to make the decision to split up the story.

Even then, we still had to work up until the very last moment to get the second movie out on time. I went home to catch up on some sleep without even watching the movie.

Another difficult matter was the scheduling of the end of the TV series.

I have absolutely no recollection of having seen the rushes before the shows aired. Before I knew it, I was seeing things like (Eva) Unit 03 fighting on the screen and thinking: "What the hell is going on here?"


Otsuki: There have been two major changes in the anime world since Evangelion came out.

The first is that TV networks have expanded their programming to include more manga. There's also more manga being shown on satellite and late-night TV. I think Evangelion proved without a doubt that anime could be a powerful business.

The other transformation Evangelion brought about was changing the face of (the central Tokyo district of) Akihabara.

Up until then, Akihabara had only been a place where people bought household appliances and electronics, but anime gradually began to make its presence felt more and more.

At the time, people could only buy either laser discs or video cassettes, but we still managed to change Akihabara so that it became a place that went from selling appliances to selling software.

Personally, I think the "Evangelion Effect" mainly extends to these two things.


Otsuki: Maybe, but I haven't managed to come up with a hit since Evangelion, which makes looking back at that time a somewhat bitter experience.

What that all adds up to is that I've basically only being doing routine work.

I've got none of the excitement that I had at that time. Of course, I've got some good plans on the drawing board. But, ideally, now would have been a better time of my life to have come up with something like Evangelion.


Otsuki: When Evangelion came out, all I could think about was getting director Hideaki Anno's work out into the world, and getting the idea across to the world about just how good a work it was.

Anno-san concentrated on producing the work itself, while I concentrated on basically every other task associated with it.

It was me who made the orders when we needed to produce more laser disc and CDs and it was me who met with all the sponsors and the TV network people.

I only had one person working under me at the time, and we were constantly unable keep up with production demand for products because they kept selling so quickly.

Looking at the structure of the anime business now and the situation then was unthinkable. You could never work that way now.


Otsuki: I hardly said a word about the actual anime, itself. Up until that time, there had never been an anime about gigantic robots battling these mysterious monsters invading the planet, while at the same time focusing on what was going on in the minds of the main characters. But, Anno-san said that was the type of work he wanted to make, so I told him I would be backing him up while he made it.

In terms of doing something that had never been done before, it was almost as though we were a "pre-Colombian Columbus."

I can still clearly remember going to one advertising agency while on a search for sponsors and doing a presentation about Evangelion.

When I'd finished, one of the agency bigwigs turned to me and said, deadly serious, "If you bungle this project, you're fired."

When I went to the toy manufacturers, the reaction was pretty much the same.

I suppose the idea of a record company executive trying to sell an anime was unprecedented. Everything we did then was unprecedented.

But there was undoubtedly a thrill with every breakthrough we made.


Otsuki: Now, there seems to be an atmosphere of "get whatever you can" and all the talk is about "rights, rights, rights."

Focusing on promoting yourself and your works is not good enough.

You've got to make yourself feel good first by wanting to create a sellable work and a work that will make you satisfied.

When Evangelion was screening, I never once mentioned King Records on any of the LDs or CDs or commercials that were available at the time.

The only thing I ever talked about when I was selling Evangelion was the director, Hideaki Anno. I backed him to the hilt and asked Anno-san to express himself as a director.

And we achieved everything we did because that was all we did when it came to Evangelion. (By Kei Watanabe) [Mainichi Daily News / May 06]

Megumi Ogata on Evangelion voice acting

Nakata: That reminds me, in the old movie version there was a scene where Shinji was masturbating. How was that recorded?

Ogata: Hahaha. It’s obvious but that was my first time doing something like that (laughs). I thought to myself that I can’t get this wrong just because I’m female! So I talked to Tachiki Fumihiko who voices Gendou and said “Dad, this is my first time, I’m not sure if I will be able to do this right. So if I got it wrong, please tell me” (in Shinji voice)

Nakata: Hahaha!

Ogata: After recording ended, we went “How did I do, dad?” “You did well, Shinji” “Yes! I got praised by my dad!”

About the recording for Eva 2.0

Ogata: It was quite difficult. The recording for Eva 2.0 was split up and done over a period of a few days, and the recording on the last day had me basically shouting for the entire time.

Nakata: That much!?

Ogata: In the end I just couldn’t stay standing anymore and collapsed on the studio floor, and while I was sitting on the ground, Director Anno came in and sat on the studio floor with me. While sitting, he said “Thank you very much” and I replied “Thank you, too” and we shook hands (laughs). This was the first time I got praised by Anno.

Nakata: That was the first time!

Ogata: And then he said two things to me which made me really happy. The first was “Thank you, for keeping the character’s feelings unchanged even after 13 years”

Everyone: Ohhh!

Ogata: And second was “On top of that, thank you, for adding 13 years of your own experience to the current Shinji”

Everyone: Ohhhhhh!

Megumi Ogata on fandom and choking Yuko Miyamura

You are probably best known in the US for playing Shinji in "Evangelion." Some of Shinji's speeches sound like they might have been ad-libbed. Did you get to ad-lib and experiment when you were working on "Evangelion?"

MO: I'm delighted that you think I sounded natural as if I was doing ad-libs. I don't remember doing anything experimental. There was a time when I actually pushed Yuko Miyamura to the floor to strangle her during the last scene of the "Evangelion" movie in which Shinji strangles Asuka. I couldn't act very well in playing that scene. I was so agitated that I strangled her too hard, making it impossible for her to say her lines for a while. Of course, I apologized to her for doing that. I almost killed her.

Rumor mill tier

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