Evangelion's visual grammar

Interviewer

When you composed the film by piecing together the first six episodes, did you have any positive prospects that this would turn out well?

Anno

Rather than that, I was thinking of it as a series from the beginning, so I thought that would be the only way to make the first climax. When I was composing the TV series, I was thinking in terms of a character-driven story. From episode one to episode four, Shinji was the main character, and Misato was there as well. When Shinji and Misato have a close relationship where they can talk with "I'm home" and "welcome home," that's where the first Shinji growth story ends once and for all.

The next five and six episodes are about the next pick-up character, Rei Ayanami. There's a big climax in there called "Operation Yashima", so I figured I'd have to break it up before and after episode six.

Episode seven is an extra story about Misato alone, and by episode eight, Asuka has joined the story, so episodes eight, nine, and ten are about the new character Asuka mainly. Episode 11 is about the three of them getting to know each other a little better, and episode 12 is also about the three kids working together to deal with Angel. And episode 13 (production number) is a compilation. Episode 14 is the adult side of the story without the children, and episode 15 is just about the characters. Episode 16 goes back to Shinji's story a bit, and episodes 17, 18, and 19 are the next climax again.

So, if I were to divide the TV story into three major parts, it would be "1-6", "7-19", and "20 onwards". This time, 'Rebuild of Evangelion' will also follow this pattern.

Interviewer

When you decided to make "Operation Yashima" the climax of "1.0", was it also planned that Higuchi would be in charge of the storyboard?

Anno

Yeah. I had already decided to ask Higuchi to do the new parts. I knew he wanted to do it, and for a huge project, I thought he would be the best person for the role, that's the honest reason.

Interviewer

He had just shot 'Japan Sinks', right?

Anno

As you can see from "Project D" and the story of building a large number of nozzles in Antarctica (Toho's "Gorath"), Higuchi can handle that kind of visual work. I think the best person for the job is someone who can hear that music in his head when he's drawing a storyboard. He's a man who can do that.

Interviewer

I'm hearing that music in my head right now, too (laughs).

Anno

In my imagination, first of all, there are a lot of cranes moving, and then a conveyor belt carrying containers (laughs). "I want to make sure the arrangements for Oparation Yashima are correct" was one of the things I wanted to do from the beginning, something I left undone in the TV series.

Interviewer

It was an amazing material warfare, wasn't it?

Anno

That's how Higuchi's storyboard came to me, so I decided to go with that. As a result, the scene was made possible thanks to computer graphics.

Interviewer

How did it come about that you also asked Tomoki Kyoda to do the storyboard for the new part?

Anno

It all started when Ogasawara, the line producer, said he wanted to ask Kyoda to do the storyboards as well. I heard that he was willing to do it, so I decided to go with him.

His storyboards were really good. But it was a little different from the way "Evangelion" was supposed to look. So I took the good parts of his storyboards and rewrote them in the style of Evangelion. I replaced them with still images, omitted set-ups, and so on. In the end, he said, there wasn't that much of a storyboard screen left. However, I took the ideas he had in the storyboard and the parts he wanted to draw, and replaced them with other forms. If he hadn't drawn the storyboard, I don't think it would have turned out the way it does now.

Interviewer

What is new about this new idea?

Anno

For example, it was his idea to have Shinji wander along the highway after he left. He wanders along the elevated highway where there are no people. It was a great idea. Up until "Opration Yashima", he was basically in charge of storyboarding for all the new human drama. It's true that some of the storyboards are still missing. But the camera blocking is still there, and Tsurumaki has rewritten and reassembled the acting plans from the storyboards.

Interviewer

What was the reason why you had to do the rewrites?

Anno

After all, "Eva" has a unique method of production that cannot be removed. This time, I tried to remove it at first. But it didn't come off. Rather, I should say that I couldn't remove it. I don't know exactly why, but there was always someone who said, "This doesn't look like Eva." I even tried to fight it, saying that I didn't want to make it look like Eva. But in the end, I always ended up going in the direction of what Eva is.

Interviewer

What's the difference? Some people say that if you go in a stoic direction, it becomes more like Eva.

Anno

That's part of it, but I think it's just a matter of reducing waste as much as possible to save labor. The way we made "Eva" for TV was, roughly speaking, like making a Mitsubishi A6M Zero.

Interviewer

Oh, you mean like cutting down the thickness of the armor plate?

Anno

That's right. Everything that can be cut down is cut down to make it lighter. There is nothing bulletproof, so if you get hit, you're done. But even so, we did a lot of recalculating and trial calculations, and by reducing the weight to the very limit, we were able to specialize in air combat functions and air-dwell capabilities. It really is that kind of aircraft. When I read a book about the development of the Mitsubishi A6M Zero, I was really impressed. I thought, "This is what the Japanese are all about. "For "Eva," we thoroughly reviewed and eliminated waste.

Interviewer

In American culture, they go the other way. They go for glamorous and gorgeous.

Anno.

Their fighter planes have engines with overwhelming horsepower. Studio Ghibli and Mamoru Oshii's "Innocence" have horsepower, so I think that's fine. In the case of animation, horsepower means the size of the studio and the huge production costs. Mitsubishi A6M Zero is an engine with less than a thousand horsepower. If you don't have the horsepower, like khara, you have to make it extremely light as well. And specialize in something. This is the only way to do it. To put it another way, it's a way to make only one thing gorgeous. This time, there are 30K sheets of picture to be drawn.

Interviewer

Oh boy! Only 30K sheets? Is that so few? Really? Not like 50K?

Anno

No, it's 30K. I only spent about the same amount as two episodes plus the amount for a TV animation with a lot of pictures (laughs).

Interviewer

It might be because the computer graphics cover it, but I'm shocked.

Anno

That doesn't count. It was 30K sheets of animation and finishing. That's why we made it in time.

Interviewer

Oh, so that's how it is!

Anno

With 50K sheets, we probably wouldn't have made the deadline. The schedule was that tight. In order to compress the time, we only needed about 30K sheets.

Interviewer

In the end, only the original images were used, and there were also revisions made by the animation director. So the animation and finishing are counted as a whole new cut in terms of the process, right?

Anno

Yes, the entire movie is new work. So it counts as a completely new film. The previous movie was made for celluloid, so we used colored pencils to mark the surface, and we can't use it as it is.

Interviewer

Oh, I see. You can't scan a digital movie without putting a shadow on the back. So that's why you can't do it.

Anno

Yeah. The previous drawing materials can't be used in digital work. The lines and thickness of the animation are not suitable for digital finishing. It's only for celluloid. We could only use the monitor display and some of the digital data as is.

Interviewer

You used the illustrator data from that time as well, didn't you? It was quite an interesting story.

Anno

Actually, I recreated the data just for reference. I used the previous data for the eye catching effects. I redrew the masks where the letters appear, though. I wanted to create the feeling of light from optical photography, or the halation of the cross filter and circular rainbow, etc. in digital. The T2 technology is amazing. That was just amazing.

» #7