September 18, 2011

This was published in an anime magazine a long time ago, but I really enjoyed the "Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind" memoirs by Hideaki Anno.

Hayao Miyazaki and Hideaki Anno are famous for their teacher-disciple relationship.

Recently, they have visited the earthquake stricken areas together and held charity events, but I think the old story about the making of Nausicaä, when they first met, is not so well known.

The text in the image is not so easy to read, so I transcribed it into words.

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Everyone works under a declared state of emergency, just like toys.

Anno: At the first meeting with Mr. Miyazaki, I was so overwhelmed that I couldn't say anything other than, "Yes". I had heard that he was a very strict person, but that was not the true story.

I was at TopCraft (*1) from November 1st to the beginning of February, and I was one of the artists who stuck it out until the very end.

When I joined the company, the "state of emergency" had already been declared, and he was at his desk from 10:00 in the morning until around 1:00 a.m. I thought he was an amazing person indeed.

Anyway, he was really busy and everyone looked like working toys (laughs).

*1) An animation studio established in 1971 by former Toei Animation producer Toru Hara, and located in Tokyo, Japan. It was famous for the production of Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind and for doing animation for hand-drawn animation titles by Rankin/Bass Productions (New York City, USA). The studio went bankrupt and dissolved on June 15, 1985, essentially splitting the studio in half. Hayao Miyazaki, Toshio Suzuki and Isao Takahata bought the studio while laying off most of its animation staff, changing its name to Studio Ghibli. (Wikipedia)

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I drew a few scenes of Ohmu running at the end, and the scene where the Giant God Warriors come out and move.

For the scene where the Giant God Warriors move, if I had to do retakes after the scene was finished, it would have pushed back the schedule by about a week, so I drew a little bit and had he look at it, and we talked about it a lot and kept fixing it.

The Giant God Warriors in the movie do not look like the fossils in the original work, but he seemed to have a hard time grasping the image of them.

I slept at Top Craft while I was working, and when I woke up in the morning and looked at my desk, there was a piece of paper on which he had written today's instructions and complaints about yesterday's drawing (laughs).

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In the beginning, I used to speak to him in honorific speech, but when it was getting close to being up, we forgot about that and argued (laughs), so I don't know about him, but I think I was able to do a satisfactory job with him.

What I felt when working with him was that, in addition to the technical aspects, I was greatly influenced by his way of looking at things, his way of thinking, and his attitude of working with stubborn beliefs. In today's world, there is a tendency to feel that it is somehow embarrassing to clearly feel or say out loud what you like, but in such a situation, he is the one who clearly has his own things and continues to believe in his own sincere feelings and post them.

I got the impression that he made "Nausicaa" in a skipping mood, but I believe that Miyazaki's works are "works with a motor curve that appeals to human emotions and physiology, joy, anger, sorrow and pleasure," words without qualifiers, and the "movement" in them is the secret of their long-lasting popularity.

Interview from the romance album

And here is an interview with Hideaki Anno that appeared in the 1984 "Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind" romantic album.

Anno was still young, so his comments are a bit humble.

--How did you come to work on Nausicaä?

Anno: I'm a fan of Mr. Miyazaki's work, and I really wanted to work on Nausicaä. Mr. Takayama (Fumihiko), the director of Macross, used to work at Top (Craft), and he introduced me to Mr. Sakai, the director of the department. I had an audition, and after he saw my original drawings and DAICON video, he offered me the job.

--I heard that you were in charge of the Giant God Warriors scene.

Anno: Yes, I was. But at first, I was shown a storyboard for the aerial battle at the beginning of part B, and was asked if I wanted to do something like that. But then I was told that no one wanted to do the Giant God Warriors scene, so I asked if I could do it, and I said I'd do anything if they'd let me (laughs). Mr. Miyazaki is a good storyteller, so he makes things sound really interesting. First of all, he drew an illustration of the image on the layout paper and showed me, "Giant God Warriors will move slowly while melting into mush, emit smoky steam here and there, and shoot out rays of light twice! There are also explosions! It sounds very interesting when you hear about it. It was only after I started working on it that I realized how hard it was to cut! (laughs).

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--How many cuts were you in charge of in total?

Anno: I think there were 35 cuts in total. The last scene with the Giant God Warriors, and the scene where Kurotowa talks to the Giant God Warriors as they grow up in the castle in the Valley of the Winds.

--Did you have a specific design in mind for Giant God Warriors?

Anno: No, I didn't. There were some simple ones, but in the end I designed them myself. But I couldn't draw the people, so I asked Mr. Miyazaki to draw all of them for me (laughs). It was tough, but I would like to work with him again. I couldn't be of much help to him at the time. But I'm afraid he might say, "No, thanks!" (laughs).

Interview from Schizo Evangelion, 1997

A long interview with director Anno. In "Schizo Evangelion," he talks about Mr. Miyazaki.

Anno: For Mr. Miyazaki, this was a great opportunity. There were no animators to draw Giant God Warriors. Just when he was wondering who he could get to do such a difficult job, a young guy showed up.

--It's the most spectacular climax of the film. It's a very important scene, isn't it?

Anno: Yeah, I wondered how he could have let such an amateur do it. When I asked someone who knew him about it later, he said, "How could you let him do it? He wouldn't have let someone with no experience in animation do the original drawings out of the blue". I guess he was really short on staff. They didn't have much time, and I think I was lucky.

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--So, there are many stories about it. I heard that you had to do a lot of redrawing from Director Miyazaki.

Anno: Yeah. He said it never crossed his mind that I couldn't draw people.

--I heard that Kushana's part next to Giant God Warriors didn't quite work out.

Anno: Right. I couldn't draw people at all. I specialized in mecha and effects. He didn't think that there was really a type of person who could draw mechanisms but not people. At first, he let me draw all the characters together, but then he started saying things like, "You're not very good at drawing people.", "You're terrible at drawing people.", "You never draw people.", "That's enough. Just draw the symbol! I'll do the rest.", "You're too inexperienced!"(laughs).

In the end, I drew all the Giant God Warriors, tanks, explosions, etc., and only drew rough symbols for the characters. Then he drew the second original. I was super cocky for a rookie (laughs). I was so nervous in front of him in the beginning, but I quit using honorifics in the middle. I guess he liked that I was so stupid and cocky. On the contrary, I was befriended by him.

--Then what did you think when you saw this person, Mr. Miyazaki?

Anno: He's an amazing person for sure. He's my second mentor.

--What do you like most about him?

Anno: It's everything. He's amazing. As an animator, he' s a genius. He has speed, ideas, and technique. He's also amazing in the sense of thought.

--The thought aspect is amazing?

Anno: Yes. Starting from the way of making things and the way of thinking, to the technical aspects. I've been greatly influenced by him.

--Are there any words he said to you that have stayed with you to this day?

Anno: I think it was a quote by Mao Zedong.I think it was Mao Zedong who said that the three conditions for accomplishment are being young, being poor, and being unknown.

He said that if you have all three, you can do it.When we made "Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honnêamise", he supported us in that sense. He said it was a good thing that young people were doing such things.

Interview from Where the Wind Returns

Hayao Miyazaki also commented on Anno in his book "Where the Wind Returns".

This interview was conducted when Anno was a playing around with live action movies.

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Miyazaki: I had a huge desire to punish people, but I thought that meant I wanted to become a god. I thought that was a bad idea.

Also, I think "Evangelion" is a typical example of this, in that they don't like people other than the ones they know, and they don't want them to exist, so they don't show them on screen. We have a lot of these elements in ourselves.

If you make a film without letting go of that kind of mood that is brought about by the times and the situation, it will be a terrible film. Rather, I thought that if we don't have a clear focus on people who aren't popular at all, and if we don't question what people are doing, we'll end up in trouble.

That's the difference between Anno and me, I guess. I don't know if it's because I'm getting older or because of my Anpo Protests generation (*2).

*2) A series of massive protests in Japan from 1959 to 1960, and again in 1970, against the US-Japan Security Treaty, which is the treaty that allows the United States to maintain military bases on Japanese soil. (Wikipedia)

(omitted)

--I read on the website that there are "Evangelion" freaks in Ghibli as well.

Miyazaki: Well, of course there are. There are also "Ghost in the Shell" freaks. I tell them that they are silly. I say, "You should go to that animation studio" (laughs). Yes, there are. Like Disneyland fans.

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--How about, your disciple, Hideaki Anno's "Evangelion", from your point of view, Mr. Miyazaki?

Miyazaki: I can't watch it for more than three minutes. It's unbearable to watch.

--It's interesting, isn't it?

Miyazaki: I don't need that kind of thing anymore. Just by looking at the first storyboard, I thought, 'What the hell has he started? (laughs) When I heard the name "Angel", I thought, "This is a terrible place to go into", but I'm glad it's over.

--But according to the website, it said something like "Anno also makes his movies in two parts, poor guy".

Miyazaki: That's because I heard that from Anno himself. He told me about what he went through during the TV series. He was really in trouble, so I told him, "Run away!". He said, "I really don't want to do this," so I told him, "Don't make a movie.".

I know from my own experience what it's like when you've given it all you've got, and then you have to keep doing it for business reasons, so if you really want to keep making things, you should run away.

(omitted)

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Miyazaki: Anno is in trouble, isn't he? Even if you start digging a well of self-consciousness, it's just like a snail scurrying around inside a shell, and you already know that once you get to the end, there's nothing there. We already know that there is nothing at the end of the line, so why go around again?

Before making the film "Shikijitsu", we had talked about making an animation here, and we had talked about it a few times, but Anno was about to make the second version of "Evangelion" or die here, and he was thirty-nine years old at the time. And I told him it would be cool to die at 39 after Evangelion.

I said, "If you want to live long enough to enter your forties, you'll have to choose one of two paths: continue making "Evangelion 2" or not, and make a film for someone else.

Then, he ran away to live-action, that bastard. That was just an escape, you know.

Hayao Miyazaki and Hideaki Anno Talk in Sahara

After the match-up between "Princess Mononoke" and "Evangelion the Movie" in 1997, a conversation between Hayao Miyazaki and Hideaki Anno took place.

Director Anno made a surprise appearance while Miyazaki was traveling in the Sahara.

The conversation was broadcasted on TV.

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Miyazaki: For me, I don't think it's easy to say what Anno will do in the future, but I feel your greatest strength is to being honest.

Anno: Yeah? (laughs).

Miyazaki: Like how you created "Evangelion", an honest work. You created something that didn't deviate from your personality.

Anno: Yeah, it's ridiculously honest.

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Miyazaki: I don't want to dismiss it as something about the "encephalized society" (*3) or the youth of today.

I think it's a good thing that Anno was successful with "Evangelion" because it gives him more opportunities to work and have a say.

Now he just needs to get rid of the ghost of "Evangelion" as soon as possible. It would be unbearable if people kept saying, "Mr. Anno from 'Evangelion'" for the next 10 to 20 years.

*3) The mechanism of all artifacts is a projection of the mechanism of the brain. People try to cover the world with artifacts in order to free themselves from nature that does not allow them to do as they wish. The world that has been created in this way is the brain society. Its characteristics are as follows.

  • Establishment of artificial space

  • Establishment of virtual space

  • Elimination of nature

Anno: That's right.

Miyazaki: That's why I don't think you should deal with "Evangelion" at all in the future.

Anno: Don't worry about that. I've already come to my senses from my crazy state and regained my identity. So for now, I'm going to do a shoujo manga (laughs).

Miyazaki: You're on the same path as me.

Anno: That's right. I didn't like it when I realized it later.

Miyazaki: That's not very creative (laughs).

Anno: Yeah (laughs).

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In a recent interview with Mr. Miyazaki in this year's September issue of Cut, he talks about his conversation with Director Anno on the occasion of the earthquake.

I'm sure that the next one will be the last one for Mr. Miyazaki. Before that, Anno's "Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo" will be released.

I'm looking forward to seeing what kind of stimulation it will give him, what he will say about it, and how he will reflect it in his own work. Perhaps that will be the last time we see the both of them are directors.

<Original JP site: https://ghibli.jpn.org/report/anno_nausica/>