Interview & Writing: Ryusuke Hikawa

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Evangelion:1.0 CRC interview, Kazuya Tsurumaki #7 (Describing the urban landscape and creating a zoom out image)

In search of a new balance between drawing and CGI

Interviewer

By the way, from a production standpoint, I think it was an all-out battle at the end.

Tsurumaki

We were in such a critical situation that there was no way we could make it in time. If we had made a mistake somewhere, we would have been unsuccessful. I think we were lucky in any case. Since each department proceeded independently, it was only at the very end that we could see for sure whether we were on the right track.

Interviewer

Do you mean mistakes at a level that you can tell because you are the person in charge?

Tsurumaki

No matter how you make a film, there will always be things that you feel you should have done differently, and there will always be complaints. But that's not the same thing as completing a film.

Also, Anno is very good at presenting alternative ideas at the last minute, and showing them in a dramatic way without compromising the quality. People who obsessively create things often panic when they find themselves in such a situation, but Anno is calm and steady. But that doesn't mean that he gives up on everything. He has high ideals, but in the end he has a way of being OK with dropping them to a certain degree. Well, he may not be thinking that deeply (laughs).

Interviewer

I see. So that's one of the secrets of getting the work done in time. Moreover, the finished work was applauded. That's a rare thing in anime.

Tsurumaki

My impression is that it was like an event for fans to gather, like "Star Wars". It's true that Sadamoto's manga has been serialized in shonen magazines for a long time, and people in junior high and high school may have gone to see it because they felt that their favorite manga had finally become an animated feature film.

Interviewer

So, you've had a hit, and there is more to come. How do you feel about it now?

Tsurumaki

For ":1.0", I had a pretty clear idea of what I needed to do, so it was easy to work on, but for ":2.0", it's a lot of work. In fact, it's already become quite a challenge (laughs). But I keep thinking back to how it was when I was working on the TV animation.

Interviewer

Do you have any vision of what you would like to do next?

Tsurumaki

I'd like to develop the use of digital more, and the fact that I was able to get quite into making the TOKYO-3 building in 3D was a great achievement, so I have a desire to try to fill in that direction. Anno's concept is to "use 3DCG like a miniature", but I think there are more possibilities there. If you try to pursue something more realistic, the difficulty level rises considerably, but if you can do it in a "model special effects-like" way, you can do something more interesting. It was a valuable discovery to me that 3DCG in this direction was a good match for Anno's direction.

With tokusatsu, you only need to place a few miniature buildings in front of the camera, and if you control the angle of view, you can suddenly create an atmosphere. It would be a lot of work to try to create an entire cityscape using CGI, but instead, if you use the methodology of special effects to set up CGI buildings, you can efficiently create an atmosphere.

Thinking of it as a miniature means concentrating only on what you want to show off, and I think that's how you can bring out the fetish aspects of CGI. I have the impression that CGI tends to diminish the fetish, so I think it would be great to bring that out. I don't have much essence of special effects, but Anno and Masayuki are special effects geeks (laughs).

Interviewer

Finally, is there anything you would like to mention in ":1.0"?

Tsurumaki 

As an animator, I can't help but pay attention to the drawings. Then again, I think Takeshi Honda is really good at it. The cut where the EVA collapses, which was used in the trailer, you can feel its mass, or the EVA's hip movement in the cut where it tears apart the A.T. field, both are great.

It's completely different from the original drawings for the TV animation. When I first saw Honda's original drawings for "Nadia," I was amazed at what a great guy he was, but now that I've worked with him for the first time in a long time, it's not just "he's as good as ever," but he's really good. At the same time, I'm impressed by his craftsman-like workmanship as he silently continues to draw.

Interviewer

It's great to see that he's always making progress.

Tsurumaki

However, in "Eva", the production was made in such a way that the skill of the drawing was not noticeable. It's made to look like an ordinary action scene, but it's actually a lot of work in the drawing. There are many cuts like that. The acting itself is generally simple, but on the other hand, there are always demands for highly difficult drawings. If they don't get it right, the cuts are no good. Once they get it right, the movements are natural, so now the drawings don't look as hard. Next time, I'd like to make a direction that makes the drawings stand out and reward their work.

Interviewer

After the second film, there will be more new works, and I think there will be more opportunities to show off EVA.

Tsurumaki

The second half of the film that I was in charge of was all cuts where EVA didn't move much, so next time I'd like to have a long talk with Honda and create a scene that will be a highlight.

・・・

PROFILE

Director: Kazuya Tsurumaki

Born in Niigata Prefecture in 1966.

After working at Studio Giants, joined GAINAX as an animator from "Nadia, The Secret of Blue Water" (1990). First directed the LD-BOX video bonus "Nadia Omake Gekijo"(*1) for the same work.

His first directorial work was "GunBuster! New Science Lecture"(*2), a video bonus included in the 1994 LD-BOX "GunBuster! Welcome back BOX".

In "Neon Genesis Evangelion", he was the assistant director of the TV series, the director and director of the theatrical version of "Rebirth", and the director and director of "Air".

After that, he worked on the original video animation "FLCL" (2000), which became the topic of much attention for its innovative direction.

Following this, he was the original creator and director of the original video animation "GunBuster2!"

*1) Nadia Omake Gekijo (#1-#5)

*2) GunBuster! New Science Lecture