May 28, 2022
6 mins read
Chapter 7: Review
Interview with Director Hideaki Anno
The reason why the message of the last episode was "To be continued".
Now he can talk about it...
・First interview in 20 years
You were interviewed at the beginning of the airing of "Kare Kano".
However, you stopped being interviewed in the latter half of the program's run.
So, I would like to ask him to summarize it here, 20 years later.
The project started in earnest in early August 1998, when storyboards were beginning to be completed for the October 1998 TV broadcast.
There were only about two months from the time we started drawing for the first episode until the TV broadcast began.
Plus, once the TV broadcast started, I had to complete my work every week, so I was too busy.
Therefore, during the TV broadcasting period, I had neither the emotional nor time leeway to be interviewed.
When we started the project, there was still leeway, but it was gone as we were working on it.
While I had leeway after starting the project, I did not know much about high school girls from "Love & Pop" alone, so I asked a weekly newspaper company targeting middle and high school students every day to let me interview high school students in Tokyo once a month.
I also appreciated that I was able to shoot the high school building because of this connection.
It was said that the reason you decided to make "Kare Kano" into a TV anime was to prepare for Kazuya Tsurumaki's next project.
After the theatrical version of "Eva" ("The End of Evangelion") was finished, the studio had decided that Tsurumaki would next direct an original film.
However, things didn't go very well.
Eventually, it became "FLCL".
At the time, Tsurumaki was lost and there was no indication as to when the project would take shape and move forward.
The young staff at the studio who were going to be involved in the next project were beginning to get impatient.
They were even beginning to talk about transferring studios if nothing would happen.
Then the studio would fall apart and we would lose the staff that had stayed on after "Eva" before Tsurumaki started his work.
This is not good, I thought.
So I decided to come up with a new project for a TV series in a hurry.
We had no time to start an original animation project, so we were looking for a manga that could be used as an original story.
At that time, I borrowed "Kare Kano" from the manga artist Kimiko Higuchi and read it.
I thought that would be good.
Four volumes had been published by that point, and the characters and humor were clear and appropriate for an animated television series.
However, I thought that the number of episodes in the manga might be a little short for a TV anime to be broadcast for six months.
But at that time, I was determined that we could make it work, so I started working on it myself.
To make it concrete, I first talked to Toshimichi Otsuki, former senior managing director of King Records and president of Ganges.
I talked with the editor-in-chief of "LaLa" of Hakusensha, which manages the original story, and the editor in charge, and we decided to start the project.
It was after the success of "Eva," so the negotiation went smoothly.
To be honest, I took advantage of that.
After the project was decided to launch, I told Tsurumaki,"I would train the young staff and hand them over to you so that they can help you during the first half of the project (three month). In the second half of the project, I would like you to leave and concentrate on your own project."
This project was also for keeping the young staff in the studio.
I told them, "You can do whatever you want in whatever position you want, and it will be a good experience for you," and it worked out.
I told Otsuki that it was not such a profitable project, but they were making money on Eva, and it was probably a no-lose project, so I would like them to continue working with our studio.
I told the studio staff that this would help the studio going for a while.
I talked to many people like that and worked on putting together the project.
It was Otsuki who brought J.C. Staff, an animation production company, into the project.
Sadafumi Hiramatsu is designing a character for the first time in this project.
I wanted to make Hiramatsu famous both inside and outside the animation industry, just as Toshiyuki Kuboka became famous with "GunBuster."
He was the first person I approached.
If Hiramatsu would accept the job, we would go ahead with this project.
If he refused, I was going to look for other original works.
He had been a very good animator since the time of "Nadia" and "Eva," but he still had no experience in character design or as a main animation director.
As for Hiramatsu, I really wanted him to be a part of the main staff.
Looking back now, we were able to ask him to do the right job at the right time.
Hiramatsu's drawings and personality were a great fit for the work.
In particular, the LD jacket is still wonderful to look at today.
Many talented newcomers are working at "Kare Kano," and Hiroyuki Imaishi is one who has made a name for himself.
I remember Imaishi was the first one to raise his hand when I told the studio staff, "Please tell me what you want to do."
I asked him to be the storyboard and animation director for episode 3.
Anyway, if there was an animator, assistant director, or production assistant who wanted to write a storyboard, I left it to them.
Ogura, Saeki, and Hiramatsu also wanted to draw storyboards, so I asked them to do so as long as it was not too difficult for them to work as animation directors.
I would only modify the storyboards to make them fit into the schedule or add missing parts, and the rest was left to the staff to do as they wished.
I also let the production staff and animators who want to direct the film do that work.
I also told Sato, who had been working in public relations, that if he wanted to be a producer, he was welcome to do so.
Instead, I warned everyone that it was a tough job.
It was physically and mentally demanding work with no schedule, but since we gave them a lot of freedom, I think it was interesting for the staff who were willing to do it.
I have the impression that Imaishi was especially happy to work on it.
I wondered if this was the time when you discovered Imaishi's outstanding talent early on and educated him to develop and use it to its fullest potential. Did you stimulate him by showing him "Yokai den Nekome kozo" and "Fight! PYUTA"?
It's not that specific.
I hoped something of them would be useful to him.
I was recommending works that I had found interesting as a child and that I thought would suit his tastes.
I wanted them to be a new stimulus for him to create something even more interesting.