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Hideaki Anno meets Hideki Noda, soaring from Two-dimensional space #1

Dec 14, 2020

~Monthly Newtype May1998~

When you see a cool animation, does your heart skip a beat? That is, without a doubt, the heartbeat of a living person. Anno Hideaki, the champion of the two-dimensional space, felt the awesome feeling of a living body for the first time when he saw Noda's play. In this interview, he meets the charismatic Noda Hideki and talks about his fascination with the world of theatre.

  • Hideki Noda

Born in Nagasaki Prefecture in 1955. Playwright, director, and actor. After working for Gekidan Yume no Youminsha, which was at the forefront of the 1980s theater boom, he went to London to study theater. In 1992, he founded a theater production unit called "NODA MAP" and has been actively performing.

  • Hideaki Anno

Born in Yamaguchi Prefecture in 1960. Director. He has been active in a wide range of fields, including animation and live-action, and has received high praise. With high expectations for his next work, he is currently working on an anime adaptation of the girls' manga "Kareshi Kanojo no Jijō". It is scheduled to air this fall. In addition, there are rumors that he is currently filming a porn video.

What are the similarities between Anime and the stage ?

Anno: As for Mr. Noda's stage performances, I saw the replays of "Red Demon" and "Kill". I also saw the first performances of "Half Gods" and "Kill" on video. I hadn't seen many stage performances before, but there were some I found interesting. But "Red Demon" was the first one that made a strong impression on me. I thought, "This is something you can only experience in a live performance". For example, when I saw Koki Mitani's stage play "Ganryuujima", I also thought it was interesting. I thought it was interesting, but it was too long. But "Red Demon" was amazing. Those four sweaty guys.

Noda: Acting is a physical art.

Anno: Also, I liked the script. I think Mr. Noda's plays have a good rhythm. It's speedy.

Noda: Isn't animation also a world of rhythm?

Anno: That's right. I think that's the most important thing. The rhythm of the script. There is a certain beauty in the appearance of a script, like a long line of dialogue suddenly appearing in a neat sequence of lines.

Noda: Oh, yeah. There is.

Anno: Yeah, that's right. I really liked the rhythm of the lines. There's a several lines of long and solid dialogue between the short lines.

Noda: Then you can tell a good script without reading the words (laughs).

Anno: It can be represented by a graph.

Noda: You can say that.

Anno: I like your graphs. A graph of the amount of words.

Noda: The animation would definitely need to have that kind of rhythm, too.

Anno: Yes. But there are pauses in anime. I know it's a small thing, but it happens to me that I don't need a single frame to close a cut.

Noda: What is that?

Anno: There are always six frames per second with closed mouths (Note 1), and it is always stopped for a quarter of a second. I wondered why they would stop there. I heard that it doesn't feel right unless it's there, but I think the creator's intuitive sense for speed is rather slow. In normal anime, I can't help but notice the unnecessary pauses. I think it would be much more pleasant if it were tighter.

Noda: If you don't up the tempo, the real pauses don't seem to be alive. In order to show something really beautiful, I want to show something that makes you feel like it's abnormal.

Anno: Yeah. I cut out the unnecessary pauses, like no one speaks for 40 seconds (editor's note: "Eva" episode 22), then you finally understand its point.

Noda: In both animation and theatre, there is a time limit. If you want to express something real in a limited amount of time, you have to exaggerate or omit something somewhere. Eventually, that's what Kabuki is all about. I think Kabuki is the origin of why Japanese people love anime so much.

Anno: The Japanese allow that symbol. The other day, I saw Shakespeare for the first time. It was "King Lear" with Ikkei Watanabe. I thought it was almost like an anime. It's a world of fake things. They were forcing the audience to follow the rules of fake things. If the set is tilted 45 degrees, it becomes a wilderness, and if it is tilted back 45 degrees, it becomes a royal palace. The audience pretends that they are not there. I felt that this world of rules was very anime like. I thought, "It's really nice, it's like watching an anime. It's a world that's separated within a frame, isn't it? It's already symbolically constructed. If the customer doesn't get the rules, everything breaks down. It's just like anime.

Note 1: When drawing a scene where a character speaks in a normal animation, a wide open mouth, a medium mouth, and a slightly open mouth are drawn as one movement. It is said to be an industry convention that the last mouth is always "closed", but in Anno's works, this is avoided in order to increase the tempo.


NODA MAP: Where Hideaki Anno found Uehara in Love & Pop

Uehara, who is said to be the alter ego of Hideaki Anno, appears in "Love & Pop. Toru Tezuka, who played this role, had appeared in NODA MAP's stage production of "Kill" ('97), which Anno went to see, and was asked to play the role. "Mr. Tezuka is good, isn't he? I sense the feeling that things are going wrong around him." Tezuka's role was that of a slightly insane traveller. Anno saw in him something similar to Uehara, an eccentric and traumatized man.

By the way, Mitsuru Fukikoshi and Ikkei Watanabe, the other actors in "Love & Pop," are also famous stage performers who have appeared in "NODA MAP. Akinori Hano, who has appeared in the movies "Mothra 1" and "Mothra 2" and in TV dramas, is also a regular member of NODA MAP.

NODA MAP" pursues the dynamism that only a stage production with excellent actors can provide. The actors run around the stage from beginning to end, delivering their lines as if they were bullets. The overwhelming power of their movements and voices fascinates the audience. They make the audience feel their breath and heartbeat, something that is rare in everyday life. (Noda)

Half Gods" (based on the novel by Hagio Mochito), which Anno saw on video, is a work from Noda's "Yume no Yuminsha" period. The video is now on sale from Sony Music Entertainment.

The voice is an important element that makes you feel the live

Noda: The crucial difference between anime and theatre is the body. I envy anime because it is so easy to create beautiful women there.

Anno: Yes, Ayanami Rei doesn't appear unless it's in an anime.

Noda: But the more you get into it, the more you want to touch the "body" of the character. That's why I understand why anime fans get so involved in the voice actors. Because the only " physical " part is the voice.

Anno: That's right.

Noda: I really like the word "voice". Don't underestimate the power of the voice on stage. There are many people who can't act because of their voice. There are certain voices that people don't like.

Anno: I used to believe that the voice actor's voice was the only live part of the anime. But one day, I suddenly realized that the opposite was true. The voice actors' performance is a technique.

Noda: I understand it very well. It should be the physical part, but it's not physical.

Anno: Yes. It's just a symbol there. To unify the characters. A symbol in the form of a human voice.

Noda: You're trying to fit into something that isn't physical.

Anno: That's right. That's when I was really struck by the idea of animation. That's why I thought that live action and stage performances would be good. Because the body and the voice are in one.

Noda: So, why don't you just create the animation without using voice actors, and get the voices first?

Anno: That would be ideal. Presco (Note 2) is a method. Isao Takahata does it, and it's common in Disney and the U.S., but it's difficult to do in Japan because of the system. For the upcoming anime ("Kareshi Kanojo no Jijou"), I'm going to hold voice actor auditions. I'd like to see someone who is not a traditional actor.

Noda: For example, there are no actors who still cover their faces when they cry, right?

Anno: In Hayao Miyazaki's anime, everyone cries like that. I told him that no one cried like that, he said, "Yes, I do!". On stage, it might be a good idea to make people watching from behind understand though.

Noda: I don't really see the point to let people understand it.

Note 2: The opposite of post recording. A method in which the voice is first taken and then the animation is made to match it. The actor's performance takes priority.

<Original JP site:http://anime-room.jp/modules/evangelion/eva-doc/siryou12.html#top>

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