2.0 Complete Records Collection [PART 1]

Obtained from gwern.net (5/4/13)
Translated by 1731298478
Edited by Gwern
Japanese interview
[Notes are italicized in brackets.]

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The response to the Break [Evangelion 2.0] preview as the impetus for major changes

— I’d like to ask you about Break. Preproduction for Break – including work on the scenario and the settei[1] – was underway at the same time as Prelude [Evangelion 1.0]. That was because, I think, they were consecutive works, planned to be successively released. That plan was significantly changed. I’d like to hear how it came about that you revised the script that existed at the time of the Prelude premiere. Things changed just following the premiere, right? [1 – Lit. establishment. As far as I understand it, settei refers to all designs, drawings, and information used to establish or flesh out the world of the animation and its characters, and to inform and direct the process of animation itself]

Hideaki Anno: Right. It was from that point that the big changes were made.

— If I was to make a conjecture on the basis of the various [CRC] interviews, during work on Prelude there was a version of the script that did not yet include the most interesting parts. [Shinji] Higuchi-san said that he had drawn storyboards based upon the script at that time.

Anno: Certainly, a script had been written by March 2007, at the same time Prelude was being made. The eleventh draft became the final version of that script. Work on the storyboards was also taking place during Prelude from that earlier version of the script. From the point of view of quantity, I think the first drafts were already completed for about two-thirds of the whole. That’s because we had planned to begin work on Break without any pause or interruption once Prelude was finished. However, I couldn’t live up to it. After the [Prelude] premiere, I decided to look again at the content of the second part, starting from zero.

— Was the highly favorable reaction of the viewers at the premiere a significant reason for that?

Anno: Yeah. It started after I heard the reaction to the preview at the Milano theater in Shinjuku. [Prelude] was a theatrical film, but because I wanted the format to be the same as the TV series, I intended from the beginning to insert a preview [at the end]. The same music would be used. I thought, as service, it would please the viewers of the original work. However, I didn’t expect that big a reaction. Originally, I thought, because there would be a gap until the second part, attaching a preview at the end would increase the viewers’ anticipation. I also expected that, among the viewers, there would be some for whom this [preview] would be the peak of the film. However, this was more than I imagined. In particular, the reaction to the new character was bigger than I expected.

— At the theater I went to, [the crowd] was extremely charged up, even at the very end.

Anno: Right. I didn’t expect that much. The staff who went to see [the film] were also deeply impressed and excited [by the reaction].

In the first version of the plot I thought of, the new character would have a very active role from the third part on. I didn’t think the character would do any more than make an appearance in the second part. Although, because she appeared in the original series, she doesn’t seem much like a new character, Asuka was also a highly important new character who, in the Rebuild films, would appear from the second part on. Because I would surely place emphasis upon [?] Asuka, I didn’t intend to seriously deal with a new character in the second part. However, there was so much anticipation for the new character among the viewers that I felt I had to respond to that. So, I decided to increase the number of the new character’s appearances. It was at that point that I first began the work of reviewing the second part. The strength of the response to the preview, the intensity of the viewers, significantly changed the way I looked at Break. It moved my heart, and the rudder of the work began to significantly shift.

— How did the actual work [process] change?

Anno: There was the content of the film, the script, but I began by looking at how I was making the films.

During the making of the first part, Prelude, I feel like I was half-fixated [?] on reenacting the TV series. Because we had lacked money, workers, and time, I wanted to recreate the old material. I was so fixated on the idea of reenaction that I was making [the film] without deviating from the timing of the [original] timesheets. Half-way through I realized that it was okay to alter the timesheets. Although it might seem strange, despite [the film being] a kind of new, digital satsuei[2] work, I was overly hung up on the initial phrase, film remake. During the initial screening of Prelude, I felt that, if I had gone this far in updating all the images, I could have deviated a bit more from the [original] storyboards. [?] The original conception was that the films would start out from the same place as the TV series, but I felt I was too fixated upon that place. So, from the second part onwards, I intended to abandon those elements fixated on the original series and proceed with the feeling that I was making an entirely new work. I would set out from ground zero. [2 – Lit. “photography” – process of converting cels to film. I believe CG and so on is added at this time.]

To begin with, I naturally thought I would correct my mistake by altering the script. The scripted plot, at that stage, was still developing in accordance with the original work, and with a view to utilizing the genga[3] of the original work, so from that point I decided to make changes. I returned the plot and the outline to their initial state and reexamined things from the beginning. In order to examine the drama and the course of the plot as a whole, and to establish the new character, Mari [Makinami], I held a retreat. This mainly involved scrutinizing the outline with the directorial camp and (Yoji) Enokido-san, who was participating once again [owing to Tsurumaki’s suggestion ?]. It was only men; we shut ourselves up in Atami for three days and two nights. At that point new ideas and drastic amendments to the plot were proposed – for example, Masayuki’s suggestion that, following the main title, the film begin with the graveyard visit, or Enokido-san’s suggestion of a Shinji-Mari Love Love pairing. From that point, a full-scale revision had seriously begun.

— No changes were made to Mari’s appearance in the pre-title sequence itself?

Anno: Right. Mari and the provisional Unit-05, the third angel, and so on – the idea of beginning with this character and this mecha that we’ve never seen before, and this new setting, Bethany Base, outside of Hakone – this remained unchanged from the first draft outline. The plan of the battle, Mari’s dialogue and personality – these sort of things changed, but the course itself, the general course of the story of the pre-title sequence, didn’t change. I wanted it to impact both viewers of the original series and people for whom Break was their first time seeing Eva. I thought that, although people familiar with the original series would be overwhelmed with unfamiliar things [?], because of Kaji, there was a common denominator which could enable them to feel secure for the moment. Starting with English and Russian dialogue with Japanese subtitles was the same. First of all, I wanted to begin the film with the impression of things being different than they have been up until now.

— The provisional Unit-05 was not a familiar EVA with a bipedal form.

Anno: Right. I wanted to introduce an unfamiliar Eva with a form you could immediately identify as different. I also wanted, for the pre-title sequence, to try to create fully CG images, including the angel and the Eva. A fully CG battle was itself, within Eva, an unfamiliar image, [so I wanted to use it] for the pre-title sequence. I also had an experimental intention. To what extent was a fully CG Eva battle possible? I thought it would be good if we could test technical things out or experiment with how things are set up within the work. The form and details were complex, with the four legs, and so on. It would have taken a lot of time and effort to draw by hand; the design is considerably difficult to draw. It was a battle scene where the movement and so on couldn’t be efficiently drawn if we didn’t use CG, so I wanted to take this opportunity to experiment with it. We had also put together a complex design for the angel intended to be rendered in CG. The background animation was also something where its creation was directed with an eye to CG. [?] I figured, in addition, that the pre-title sequence was the beginning of the work, so there was plenty of time left on the production schedule. Even if there were various difficulties with a full CG battle scene, I figured that we had plenty of time to investigate the difficulties using animatics[4] and so on. [4 – An animatic is basically the storyboard set as… not quite an animation, but timed to how the final movie will look. It usually has voice-overs and sometimes sound effects and music. It’s also known as a leica reel. – NAveryW]

However, in the end, for various reasons, we ran out of time. There were cuts that worked well in the animatics, but, to sum things up, they didn’t really go as planned, which was a bit unfortunate. [?] Among other things, we added in hand-drawn effects, and introduced CG explosions. Including the satsuei treatment, we continued experimenting with various things until we almost ran out of time. As an on-screen image, I think the final result paid off. However…

— CG was used in Prelude, but here there is more action, and things have much progressed.

Anno: Yeah. With people who can draw the Eva genga really well being limited, if I wanted to maintain or increase the quality – I thought from the outset that I wanted to replace, as much as possible, elements like walking and running movements, which would originally just get repeated [?], with CG. The angels, as well – since I conceived of the plot I intended to make all the angels mostly CG, excluding Unit-03 (the ninth angel) and the final tenth angel – the opposite of the pattern from Prelude. There, we began with hand-drawn angels, and ended with full CG. I considered the total amount of work to be done and its allocation between hand-drawn and CG parts, and the script reflects that consideration. [?] I always take production-related risks into account, so the number or amount of battle scenes are decided in advance, before starting the script or the script outline.

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