Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Anno hearts Asuka

Going around my weekly Evangelion internet haunts, I stumbled upon this old interview from 96 in which Hideki Anno, in round table format answers fans questions. Some of the things he answers on here are surprising because he is usually guarded about these subjects in other interviews. Maybe he gave Americans a free pass, because I've seen a lot of interviews in Japanese where he hates talking about the actual characters in his show in a light hearted manner.

My personal favorite part, obviously, is at the end when he is asked his favorite character and says, Asuka, and also explains why Japanese men like Rei as opposed to Misato and Asuka. Of course a lot has changed in over ten years.

Reprinted Interview:

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.


ADDITIONAL CAPTIONS:

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.