2012 – Front Runner – Anno

Originated from forum.evageeks.org (5/16/13)
Translated by 1731298478

H. Anno’s interview in Russian Front Runner newspaper.


— The third part of the four-part “Evangelion: New Theatrical Edition” series will open in theaters on November 17. In contrast with the original film version, where the protagonist was unable to do anything, in the new work he fights desperately to save a girl. Is this a reflection of a change within yourself? 

Anno: Hmmm. It’s probably [just] the era. It’s just, I think, that the way the audience perceives [it] has changed. I can’t change my essential nature.

— In a 2005 interview, you said: “Getting married, a non-otaku-like component has been added onto myself. I want to protect (my wife) with all my might. Always, from now on.” Surely there is a side of you that has changed? 

Anno: That’s there, as far as that goes, but human beings do not change quickly.

— In Eva, there was a criticism of those fans who turned away from reality and escaped to the work. Has that consciousness remained unchanged? 

Anno: In the original Eva, there were many people who took something that I created as a source of amusement beyond those limits and made it into an object of dependence. I wanted to take responsibility for the fact that such people had been so “inflated.” I wanted to bring the work back within the boundaries of entertainment. However, I have now withdrawn from dealing with it [or: from treating it thematically?]. Such people will not change no matter what I say. I now well understand that there is nothing I can do.

Tokusatsu as Culture 

— There are many people who have also become deeply absorbed in the new Eva. What do you think of yourself, as someone who creates works which produce dependence? 

Anno: Nothing. I want the works to be successful, but an excessive response is not my responsibility. I myself am reflected in the works, but I am not creating the works by myself. I am completely distinct from the works. However, the new Eva fans are different in character from the old ones, though I can’t specifically say what the difference is.

— The production cost of the new works has been entirely financed by Studio Khara, without inviting contributions from outside investors. They are so-called “independently produced works.” Why this type of approach? 

Anno: If I accept investments from outsiders, then I face the limitation of having to make a cost-effective work. By using my own money, in all aspects I can take responsibility and do what I want. We have staff for distribution and advertisement as well, but ultimately I am responsible. I don’t want to make excuses like, “the finished work was excellent but the advertising was poor.”

— You are the curator of the Tokusatsu Museum exhibit currently open at the Tokyo Museum of Contemporary Art. It seems you want to preserve tokusatsu as a culture for future generations, but does the existence of tokusatsu mean anything now that computer graphics have developed? 

Anno: One of the early works to use CG, Jurassic Park, had a great impact, but I have not met with anything exceeding the sense of astonishment [Jurassic Park produced]. CG doesn’t produce the feeling of presence where you are looking at something there without mediation. A miniature is something that is actually there, so that even as an image on a screen it produces a feeling of presence. I think that human perception actually grasps this difference. I hear that monster movies have been treated as crude and bizarre works ever since the days when they were made, but Japanese tokusatsu works have been highly regarded overseas. I think that, even more than anime, Japan should first of all be proud of Godzilla.

— When I saw the independent film you made as a student, “The Return of Ultraman,” I was surprised to find that you, playing an unmasked Ultraman, gradually started to seem like a genuine Ultraman. How were you able to do such a thing? 

Anno: We attempted to evoke this feeling that “things impossible in actuality are really there” from multiple aspects, including camera angles, the creation of miniatures, and so on, and this fact connected [the film] to the reality of existence. Anime is just an image, so there is nothing actual. So, since in tokusatsu works at least the drama scenes are performed by real actors, by developing that – if you do it well, the tokusatsu scenes will also seem authentic. Even among tokusatsu films made decades ago there are successful examples of this.

I Want to Show Fear 

— In the film which is being screened at the Tokusatsu Museum exhibit, “The Giant God Warrior Appears in Tokyo,” Tokyo is completely destroyed. In [your] other works, too, there are many scenes of destruction and explosion. Do you have an obsession with destruction? 

Anno: When I was a child, whenever something around me would break I had a sensation like I was happy or this was fun. I don’t think it’s just me – very young children feel this way. There was a period of time when I felt it good to imagine Japan or the whole of modern society being destroyed. But, in becoming an adult, and thinking about it realistically – what would happen to the people living there? – I became unable to find pleasure in it. The images of March 11 were also a great shock. Even if I can enjoy it as a fantasy, I don’t want to see the real thing.

— It seems you have a desire to show images that will be traumatic for children. 

Anno: I want to convey to children the information that there are frightening things in the world. Today, these things are too much concealed from children, including [what is shown on] television. When I was a child my town was filled with frightening things. There was a darkness behind my house. The corpses of cats and dogs had been left abandoned. Even the adults were frightened – because I was around people who had experienced going to war.