Weekly Playboy 1997 No.33 Aug. 12

It has been a year and a half since the TV version ended its run, leaving behind many mysteries and a strong impact.

In the midst of a boom that has even been called a social phenomenon, the complete conclusion, "THE END OF EVANGELION," has finally been released in theaters and has become a huge hit.

But now that Anno has brought "Eva" to a complete conclusion, all he can think about is his next film!

"Evangelion was a scream on a special frequency."

I was excited when I saw the complete version of the movie at a preview screening.

EVANGELION is ending beautifully, isn't it?

When I returned to the editorial department, one of my seniors asked me, "So, has the mystery been solved?"

But I don't care about that.

They explained what the "Human Instrumentality Project" was, but I was happy to see that my energy level had been increasing since the second half of the TV version, and that it had reached the end as if it was about to erupt.

I want to meet the director who finished such an epic battle!

July 11, extremely hot.

I went to the Nikkatsu Studios in Chofu to directly interview Director Anno, who was preparing for his next film "Love & Pop".

--Right now, I think you're right on the border between "Eva" and "Love & Pop," but what's taking up most of your time in your mind?

Anno

The next one. That's it.

--This "Love & Pop" is a live-action film, isn't it?

Anno

At the moment, I feel that I've done everything I can do in animation. I guess I should be more generous, but I'm not a person who thinks too much about the future.

-- "Princess Mononoke", another popular animated film this summer, I feel Miyazaki's firm message. On the other hand, "Eva" doesn't have a clear message, but it has an unusual realism and power, doesn't it?

Anno

Because "Eva" is like a scream. And it's a scream with a special frequency that normal people can't hear. But since there were so many people who turned their heads to such a scream, I thought Japan might be a little strange (laughs).

--When I look at "Eva", I just wonder why Anno-san has so much energy.

Anno.

I don't have any physical energy. I'm not strong. (Coughing. Mr. Anno had a cold). I've been physically weak since I was a child.

--But it takes a lot of energy to keep screaming, doesn't it? Where does that energy come from?

Anno

Rather than where it comes from, it's just that I'm concentrating the energy that other people are dispersing into the work of making art.

It's all I have.

In fact, I don't really have a life.

I sleep in my office, and I'm not interested in food or anything.

Ever since I was a kid, space food was my ideal diet (laughs).

Since I'm not interested in such things, I just put all my energy into my work.

That's why I think it's great to see people who are properly married, have children, and are able to maintain their families while making art.

--Mr. Ryu Murakami, author of "Love & Pop," says, "I can't communicate normally," and "Talent is not excess, but lack, and we try to fill the deficiency by using all our abilities."

Talent is not an excess but a deficiency, and we try to fill the deficiency by using all our abilities.

Anno

Oh, that's exactly what I think, too. I also think that talent is a lack. I'm trying to fill in what I'm missing by expressing myself in some way. If I don't do that, I don't feel like I'm living.

--But as a result, "Eva" became such a huge hit that it was considered a social phenomenon.

Anno.

I thought I'd be happier if it became a hit, but when I actually saw it, I wasn't so happy. What I felt this time was that I would rather have been recognized by a single woman than by 100 million people. It's not that I wanted anyone in particular.

--But the fact that you kept screaming until this point, you must have had something you wanted to say, right?

Anno

I'm not going to say that here. I won't tell anyone (laughs). That's all in the film.

Is there no such thing as an original anymore?

It has been pointed out that "Evangelion" draws heavily from previous anime works, such as Devilman, Mobile Suit Gundam, Space Runaway Ideon, and so on. This is what makes "Evangelion" a well-made robot animation.

Anno

First of all, we have to admit that our generation is basically not original.

The only common language of our generation was really the programs that came out of the TV box.

When you live under the seven stations of commercial broadcasting and NHK, everything becomes more uniform.

The Tunnels (*1) were the first heroes of our generation, and what they did was recreate the TV shows we used to watch ourselves.

But that's all they could do.

And we have to start from there, too.

*1) The Tunnels (とんねるず, Tonneruzu) are an owarai duo with a long history composed of Tokyo-born Takaaki Ishibashi (石橋 貴明, Ishibashi Takaaki) and Noritake Kinashi (木梨 憲武, Kinashi Noritake). (Wikipedia)

--but "Eva" started to seek something original in the middle, didn't it?

Anno

That's true. My previous works had been other people's projects, but this was the first one that I had created from scratch.

In that situation, when I looked for something original, I had no choice but to look at my own life. The answers I got from my own experiences, my own thoughts, and my own ideas are definitely original.

--In the past, were there any original works?

Anno.

No. It is said that in the long run, most of the patterns of drama can be found in the Bible (laughs). So I think that storylines have always been just combinations. In the world of music, paintings, and movies, it has been said that patterns have been exhausted for a long time.

However, especially in the case of "Evangelion", as I mentioned earlier, we grew up in almost the same environment, so it was easy to find the same TV, manga, and music that we passed through. That's why there were so many people who were happy to find it.

--What do you think of that kind of joy? There are a huge number of books on Eva mysteries in the bookstores now.

Anno

I'm not interested.

・・・

In the second half of the TV version of "Eva," everyone begins to struggle as if they were Anno's alter ego, and in the final two episodes, the main character Shinji ends up asking himself, "What am I?"

This last episode had a great impact, but also left many unanswered questions, which frustrated the fans.

This film version, the final version, was produced to "settle" the last two episodes of the TV version.

Anno's way of exposing himself is sometimes compared to "masturbation".

Anno.

It's the easiest thing to do, because people think that anyone can do it if they put their mind to it, and the older generation says that it's shameful and foolish. But with "Eva," I was forced to do just that.

--But for being called masturbation, Anno's works seem to be very serviceable.

Anno

It's a service to myself. It has to be interesting for me to look at it first. So, even though masturbation is masturbation, I'm confident that my work is more artistic than others.

However, "Eva" is an anime. As long as it's an anime, it seems like I'm masturbating with my pants off, but in fact I'm just drawing naked drawings on top of my pants.

That's the nature of animation, where everything is made up, but in that sense it's a reality within fiction.

"What is the real in the fake?"

Love & Pop" is a story about a high school girl who goes on a date with a sugar daddy in Shibuya. To put it bluntly, it is a surprising choice for a director after "Evangelion".

--What was the theme you pursued in "Love & Pop" after forgetting "Evangelion"?

Anno

It's the question of "What is real in a make-believe world?"

I think the value of making something that isn't a documentary lies in this one point: to feel a sense of reality and truth within the fiction. Anime is all fiction, and no one believes that there is anything real in it. So it's more of an illusion than a fiction. What is left in there that is real enough to compete with the documentaries? --That feeling became stronger while I was working on "Evangelion".

--In the latter half of "Eva," the story and characters start to become confused, but the background of the unusually high level of realism is due to this change in your feelings.

Anno

That's right. At that time, there was a link between the desire for realism and the desire for originality.

--But what does "realism" mean? It's a word that everyone uses, but I'm not quite sure what it means.

Anno

For example, I think the realistic part of a movie is the part that you can take into yourself and replace it with your own body. It's a question of how to incorporate it into what you're making.

-- Recently, a spaceship went to Mars and sent back images, but even though that was real, it didn't feel real to me.

Anno.

That was good. The explorer car that went to Mars was very small. I thought it was going to be a big one like the moon car, but it was actually a radio controlled toy that was very active. That was very realistic.

--So, Anno, what parts of "Eva" did you think were the most realistic?

Anno

Hmmm... (Groans all the way)

--Is it really that hard to answer?

Anno

No, I mean, I forgot (laughs).

--You really forgot about "Eva", didn't you?

・・・

After all, "THE END OF EVANGELION", the complete version of Neon Genesis Evangelion, drew 400,000 people in its three days of release. It was a bigger hit than "DAETH & RIBIRTH" in the spring. Every media outlet is trying to capitalize on this success with various projects.

However, Hideaki Anno is quickly running off in search of the next "reality". What kind of new "realism" is in the future? For the time being, we can't take our eyes off this man!

<Original JP site: https://web.archive.org/web/20130116055550/http://johakyu.net/lib/2008/02/2008-02-03-000766.php>