Interview & Writing: Ryusuke Hikawa

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Evangelion:1.0 CRC interview, Kazuya Tsurumaki #5 (The highlight is the drawing of EVA)

Balance with the overall impression of Eva

Interviewer

Since you were still working on the film before, I'd like to ask you some additional questions, including your impressions of the finished film. First of all, how do you feel about the finished film frankly?

Tsurumaki

Immediately after the film was completed, I thought, "How did it get done?" In July and August, I was so occupied with just finishing it that I had no idea what kind of evaluation it would get. But as the first film in a trilogy, I think it has cleared a difficult hurdle. I'm glad I did it.

Interviewer

Last time, you said that you were honestly negative about the idea of doing another "Eva" film at first.

Tsurumaki

I've completely cleared that up. After all, when you're making something, you're making something that needs to be made. I guess the experience of "GunBuster 2" has helped me a lot. This is the first sequel to a famous anime in over a decade, and it's also a remake, so I have the impression that we were doing it for the Rebuild of Evangelion.

I was rather nervous just before the release of the film, wondering if the fans would approve of it. The movie business is still a gamble, even in this day and age. You can't just make what you want to make and think it's OK. Especially this time, we were in a situation where we were feeling more closely the risk of gambling with "Khara Inc". For Rebuild of Evangelion, like GunBuster 2, we had a clear goal in mind, and we aimed to create a way to get to that goal. I feel that it was good in a double sense.

Interviewer

The end part of the film was all new, so it was a very passionate film.

Tsurumaki

On the other hand, I felt sorry for Masayuki, who directed the A part. In terms of resources, we would have to focus most of our efforts on the second half of the new work, so the first half would have to be how we would compete with the remaining parts. However, I was able to do the part in episodes 5 and 6 where I wanted to redo "Operation Yakushima" once again, so I was able to achieve my personal goal, and I'm really glad that it was accepted as interesting.

Interviewer

There was a time when I was worried that people would think it was just a compilation until just before it was released. Were you worried about that?

Tsurumaki

I was rather afraid of the reaction of the fans since we have already seen "DEATH & REBIRTH" and "The End of Evangelion". This is a work that has already depicted the end of the world, and I think that fans will feel very half-hearted and uncomfortable if they are forced to watch episodes 1 through 6, which still have a school romantic comedy flavor to them. After this, there will be a middle part and a second part, and I want to say to myself, "That's the end of the first part, so it can't be helped," but the overall impression of "Eva" has already been established, so it's impossible to avoid the feeling of being half-hearted. It was difficult until the end to decide where to go with it. I had to decide if I should build on the impression I had from the last episode or if I should start from the beginning. In the end, I decided to make it more serious than the TV version.

Interviewer

So you didn't have such problems when you started the TV series?

Tsurumaki

In the beginning, we wanted to make a well-done robot animation, and it was intended to be like "Sailor Moon", which Anno liked at the time, and we didn't know what was going to happen in the end while it was on air. Up to the first six episodes of the TV series, you can feel the unique taste of the early days. I tried not to use any of the parts that I had discarded during the making of the TV version of Eva.

Interviewer

Is that what led to the evaluation after the screening that the story had become more mature?

Tsurumaki

I think it was more mature in the script stage. On the contrary, there were some things that we took back a bit. For example, the TV scenes of Misato drinking beer in her apartment are still left, but the depiction of Misato as a childlike adult and in a fun atmosphere is gradually lost. I thought that would make Misato look too much like a boring adult, like a serious teacher, so I tried to incorporate comical acting into the strategy meeting scenes.

As for the scene where Shinji is taken in front of Lilith, it is a depiction of Misato being an adult, so on the contrary, I try not to show her childishness too much. The situation itself had a serious feel to it, and Misato's impressions from the second half of the TV anime were still fresh in her mind, so it tended to get more serious. I remembered that Misato was softer and cuter than the character I had talked about with Sadamoto and Anno during the planning process. I was careful to draw her as a fun person as possible.

Interviewer

Shinji also seems to have changed a little more positively.

Tsurumaki

Shinji is going through the same process as in episodes 5 and 6 of the TV series, so I don't think he's going to change that much. In the TV series, when Misato came to pick him up in episode 4, Shinji just said "I'm home", but he didn't clearly express his intention to ride the EVA. In the next episode, Episode 5, he starts with the atmosphere of "It's natural that I'm already going to ride it", so it might be a difference that he once again expressed his decision in words.

I think that if Misato had shown a different attitude in episode 4, Shinji's reaction would have been different. If she had told Shinji everything she knew, like in 1.0, and then acted like an adult and said, "You decide," Shinji might have responded with a firm attitude. So the difference this time is not that I've changed the character's personality, but it's more like a virtual war story(*1), or "if only I had made this decision here".

*1) Refers to a genre of entertainment works that depict "IF" in historical fact (mostly World War II).

Interviewer

Since Central Dogma depicts people interacting with each other hand in hand, it was a kind of surprise to me.

Tsurumaki

That was a play that came out of my thinking about how to depict the differences I just mentioned in a straightforward and impressive way. In the TV version of "Eva," there is very little depiction of holding hands or touching each other. This was partly for directorial purposes, to avoid depicting the relationship as a common one, but also because it was too much work to draw. As a result, the number of scenes where the characters are talking apart from each other increased, and it became an established style of direction, and in the end we ended up with a worldview that said, "In this world, communication is incomplete". But this time, we're portraying things in such a way that we're going in as far as we can, so I thought this would be the most impressive if we put skin to skin.

As a fan of "Eva" from before, this may have been a surprise.

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つづく