Please note that this article contains descriptions of the development of the film.

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Don't be impressed by NHK's sloppy work! Here's what's wrong with the Professional Work Style "Anno Hideaki Special"

OTAKING explains _Hideaki Anno

2021/03/30

This is the translation of the free part of Okada Toshio's Seminar on March 30th.

On March 22, Professional Work Style "Anno Hideaki Special" was broadcasted. I was able to see various production scenes, but I had the impression that something was not quite right. I'll try to supplement it with some explanations of what was going on, using the pictures as reference material. Was there a God Killer? Can he reach Master's back, the "shelf of the heart"(*1)? Please enjoy.

*1) "Make a shelf in your heart": A line uttered by Saburo Ibuki in the manga "The Flame Transfer Student" by Kazuhiko Shimamoto, Volume 6, Episode 3, "The Reward of Betrayal".

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As you see in a comment, NHK is no longer making programs for people who really look at the images and think.

The narrator uses voice over to tell us how we should perceive the images. It's not a documentary anymore.

(on screen)

Professional Work Style "Anno Hideaki Special" Supplemental Project for Busy NHK

Producer: Toshio Okada

I watched Professional Work Style "Anno Hideaki Special" too.

There was a lot of talk about layout and composition, which I explained in the seminar on March 14. In the documentary, Anno used the word "angle" to describe it.

I'd like to talk about the scene that made me say " Wow". This is the scene that made me shout out.

I didn't see many people reacting to it, but it was the scene of the miniature of the third village. The third village is probably made of thin wood here. I think everything here is made of wood. The reason why I think it is wood is because when you get a close-up, the surface of the cross section is a little black. That's a phenomenon that occurred when the laser cutter was used to cut it, so I think the entire building was created using 3D data, and then the digital data was scanned by the leather cutter, and the parts were cut out and assembled. I think they decided on the angles by actually taking pictures with a smartphone or something in the miniature set of this place. It's pretty amazing.

I'd like to talk about the things that I thought, "Wow, I didn't know that" or "I didn't notice that." I don't know if many people noticed it, but I didn't recognize it at all while watching the film. But when I saw this model in the documentary, I realized that there is a building at the edge. This is the Ube New Station (thought to be a mistake of Ube Shinkawa Station).There's a platform a little to the left of Ube New Station here. This is, well, I don't know, the platform that Kaworu and Rei were on. In other words, in the last scene Shinji is on the platform of Ube New Station, and he is looking at the platform in the center, which is a little far away.

That means the front side from Ube New Station is the real world, and the other side is the third village. This was the composition. In this miniature, you can see where the third village is located in Ube, Yamaguchi Prefecture. It's a very interesting structure. That's why, in the last scene, when you see an aerial shot of Ube in Yamaguchi Prefecture, it's a real scene, but at first you don't know if it's real. In fact, everything from the railroad tracks to the other side was drawn with CGI. So the moving train is CGI. However, when the camera panned around to show the real Ube, the bicycles and cars moving there were all real materials. They were real. So I thought to myself, "Ah, the characters in the anime are really there in the CGI world."

The thing is, Anno doesn't see anime and reality as something separate. Everything is inside his mind. In his mind, the world of animation, or the fictional world, and the world of live-action, or the real world, are worlds that are next to each other, worlds that are separated only by his own feelings. So he says that he has come back to this world. Shin Godzilla is about fiction versus reality, while EVANGELION: 3.0+1.0 THRICE UPON A TIME is about how fiction and reality are both real to you. I realized that it had a good ending.

So when I saw the miniature set, I thought, "Wow". I'm sure that in the near future, studio khara or Grand Works will release a book of EVANGELION:3.0+1.0 setting materials at a regular price of, I don't know, $500, $800, or $1K. I'm sure I'll buy it when it comes out, so I'll talk about it again after I check it out.

It's such a large miniature set. I don't know, maybe it's more than 2 meters wide, maybe even 3 meters. Since it's made of panels, it's probably a multiple of 90 centimeters, so it's probably about 7.2 meters wide by 2.7 meters long. The railroad is made of o-gauge rails. I thought it would be expensive to make a miniature, but it's the opposite. I later realized that it was cheaper. Why, considering the character of Hideaki Anno, he would have wanted to build a full-scale open set. He wanted to build a full-scale open set, shoot in it, and decide the composition, but he was reluctant to do so. He wants to build a full-scale open set. If that wasn't possible, he would have wanted to build the entire set in CGI and have the actors act in it, but that was not possible due to budget or schedule reasons, so he compromised and went with miniatures. So it was a rather good use of money. It's not that Hideaki Anno is being wasteful or extravagant, but on the contrary, it's a scene where he succeeded in reducing costs.

Seeing how it was made reminded me of something. NHK documentaries are full of, well, I don't know, lies or mistakes. It's not the first time this kind of method was used, there was an animation called Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honnêamise that was released in 1987. I participated in producing it, and we used the same method for that one.

The building of the Space Force headquarters was a very complicated structure, so we ordered a very large model. It was about 1.5 meters by 1.5 meters. We ordered one large building. We used it to explore the best angles. We didn't have smartphones or cell phones at the time, so we brought, or rather prepared, the smallest camera possible, and the staff took pictures from various angles with the camera inside the building. We discovered that we could take this composition and that composition. These discoveries helped us to determine the actual angles.

I also felt that the NHK staff didn't notice this either. It's an interesting scene. This is the scene of the Previsualization shooting. At first, the actors are greeting each other, and you can see that they are wearing full-body tights and have pointers and markers on them. This is a scene inside Toji's house. In the scene where he is having dinner with his family, there is a wooden frame around the house, and there is a string attached to it. This is something so that you can see that there is a pillar in this position and a fusuma line in this position. It is a string to show where the pillars are, where the low table is, where the low furniture is, and so on. It's a piece of wood to show that the pillars are standing around here. With this, I don't know, it can be used as a location marker. And they're taking pictures in this.

This method of making anime is also familiar to me. Why? When we made "The Wings of Honnêamise", Yamaga, the director, said that he didn't like the idea of building the layout in the animator's mind. If an artist drew the composition in his mind, it would end up being a good picture for the artist. He didn't want to do that, he wanted to get the composition correct. So he had the animators do the acting. So, actually more than half of the cuts in "The Wings of Honnêamise" are acted out by the animators themselves using a video camera. For example, there is a scene where Riquinni's arm is pulled. The scene where the female heroine, Riquinni, is about to go and someone says, "Hey," and pulls her hand, and her arm stretches a little. And the scene where she opens the door. For all of these scenes, we didn't build a set, but we prepared tables, chairs, and doors in GAINAX and had the animators act there. We shot a video of it and decided the composition based on it. The composition, acting, and timing of the movements were all decided based on that. Well, we didn't manage to do that for all of the cuts, but we did it as much as we could. I think that was probably the first previsualization in Japan.

In Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi, they used a technique called "Previsualization", and although there was no word for it yet, I knew about it, and Yamaga heard about it. We tried to create an anti-Hayao Miyazaki approach to making a new anime. I, Yamaga, and Anno all love Miyazaki's anime. But we thought that if we followed Hayao Miyazaki's method of making animation, we would end up copying his works. To make a new anime, we had to do something new in the way we made it, which led us to making miniatures and having the animators act. There were a lot of animators who were very resistant to this new way of creating animation. In particular, the more experienced and talented animators insisted, "I can draw movement without acting. I know exactly what it is." But Yamaga repeatedly begged and persuaded them to do so. When the animators didn't participate, the production staff had to do the acting instead of them and videotape it.

EVANGELION:3.0+1.0 is actually a very complete version of what Yamaga did with The Wings of Honnêamise more than 40 years ago, as I found out from the NHK documentary. Anyway, it's the same with The Wings of Honnêamise, we searched for actual historical footage and materials. At that time, the slogan was, "There is no better creation than the truth." We bought a lot of foreign photo books and back issues of Life magazine. When we were creating a scene for The Wings of Honnêamise, we first looked for a composition that existed in the real world. We were very strict about starting from there. For example, the famous rocket separation scene. In the scene where the rocket is detached in space, we made a perfect trace of the scene where the Apollo Saturn rocket detaches its second stage rocket.

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