Newtype, November 1995 issue

Speaker

  • Hideaki Anno

  • Kotono Mitsuishi, a Japanese voice actress, singer, and narrator

  • Kunihiko Ikuhara, a Japanese director, writer, artist, and music producer

  • Newtype


We, the editors, have planned a special roundtable discussion to get to the essence of "Evangelion". In attendance, of course, was director Hideaki Anno. Also in attendance was Kotono Mitsuishi, who plays the important heroine Misato Katsuragi. The special guest was director Kunihiko Ikuhara, who is also a close friend of Anno. The theme of the film is "about happiness".

・・・

Newtype

Now that you've seen the recording of Evangelion, how did you like it?

Kunihiko Ikuhara

It was great. I could feel the high tension of the staff. The actors are very eccentric and have a lot of charm. Ogata-san, who plays Shinji, has a nice neutral vibe. She has a sense of cleanliness that you don't find in male voice actors.

Kotono Mitsuishi

Is this the first time you've seen an Evangelion recording?

Kunihiko Ikuhara

Yes, it was my first time. I've seen the dubbing before, though.

Newtype

What was your impression when you first saw Evangelion?

Kotono Mitsuishi

When I saw the video of the first episode, I couldn't help but shout 'ooh'. After that, I just kept admiring it, going "Ooh, ooh!"

Kunihiko Ikuhara

I thought it was nostalgic when I first saw it.

Newtype

Nostalgic?

Hideaki Anno

Oh man, but I'm trying to make a '90s anime.

Kunihiko Ikuhara

No, I don't mean old. When I was watching animation in the past, I thought that the younger generation would come out and change animation in the future. But that didn't happen. So when I saw "Evangelion" for the first time, I felt nostalgic because I felt like I had encountered the kind of animation that I thought would change in the future. Well, that's just my impression of "Evangelion" from 10 years ago, and I have a different impression of it now. But I'm sure it brought me back to the feeling I had when I was a fan.

Newtype

What kind of work is "Evangelion" for you, Mitsuishi-san?

Kotono Mitsuishi

I haven't finished it yet, so it's hard to say.

It's a work with a unique "smell". Director Anno also said that the characters in this animation don't speak honestly. The only ones who are honest are the boys at school.

Hideaki Anno

It's true, it's only those two (Toji Suzuhara and Kensuke Aida).

Kotono Mitsuishi

Pen-Pen is also a character that brings me comfort.

Hideaki Anno

I'm sorry, they're all twisted.

Kunihiko Ikuhara

Can I ask you something strange?

Hideaki Anno

Sure.

Kunihiko Ikuhara

The other day, in an interview with Newtype, you talked about 'seeking happiness...'. What was that?

Hideaki Anno

No, I didn't really talk about happiness all that much, it's just that the part that was covered in the article was the part where I talked about happiness.

Kunihiko Ikuhara

I see. The reason why I asked you that is because I saw "Die Hard 3" the other day. But it was a crappy movie. Before that, I saw "Forrest Gump" because it had a good reputation, but it was also a crappy movie. What's stupid is that they're both about finding happiness.

Absolute evaluation standards and absolute happiness

Hideaki Anno

Isn't that what all American movies are like these days?

Kunihiko Ikuhara

That's true. "Die Hard 3" is also a movie about the search for happiness. It starts with a story about discrimination against black people, and at the end, there's a guy who's like a communist. In other words, it's a story about happiness as a comparative theory.

Newtype

Comparative Theory?

Kunihiko Ikuhara

Yes. Sounds like America is poor and there is a lot of discrimination, but we are still happy, and we are lucky to be Americans. When I saw that, I felt dizzy and wondered if America was really that hard.Just then, I read Newtype, and there was an article titled "In Search of Happiness".

Hideaki Anno

No, I'm not talking about happiness as a comparative theory. What I've always thought about is not that it's okay to compare it to something else, but that it's absolute. What I want is an absolute evaluation.

Kunihiko Ikuhara

Are you saying you want absolute happiness?

Hideaki Anno

No, I mean, don't you want absolute evaluation in many ways, not just happiness?

Newtype

Are you saying you want absolute evaluation for "Evangelion" as well?

Hideaki Anno

I crave for it. It doesn't mean much to me if people say that my work is better than other anime. I want to make a work that I can say is good when I look at it, not when I compare it to other works. "Absolutes" exist only in the context of ideas. I want to make a work that makes something that is impossible exist only in the mind and imagination of the person. As for me, I have my own absolute evaluation standards.

Newtype

The criteria for evaluating "Evangelion"?

Hideaki Anno

Yes, I do. When I made "Evangelion", I had an ideal image in mind. I thought it should be at least this interesting. So if it doesn't reach that level, no matter how many people around me say it's interesting, I can't evaluate it in my own mind.

Newtype

The only place to measure whether "Evangelion" is interesting or not is in "Evangelion"?

Hideaki Anno

I guess that's what I'm saying. Even if people around me say it's interesting, I still feel that it should be more interesting than it is. The reason why it doesn't become interesting is because I'm not good enough. Returning to the topic of happiness, I think I feel unhappy when I feel that way.

Kunihiko Ikuhara

Hmm, what I'm hoping for from Evangelion is that it will be a drama that shows us an embodiment, a concrete way to be happy.

Hideaki Anno

You mean the way to embody happiness?

Kunihiko Ikuhara

"Yes, yes. There are many young people who think that they will be happy if their current situation changes. They think that because the situation is bad, they can't be happy or do well. That's not true. What makes us happy is our ability to materialize - to give shape to our happiness.

Hideaki Anno

Is happiness tangible? Is it something that can be easily put into words?

Kunihiko Ikuhara

Happiness can be expressed in many ways. For example, I'm happy to be dating so many girls.

Kotono Mitsuishi

Oh man... (laughs)

Kunihiko Ikuhara

(In a panic) I'm just talking about an example.

Kotono Mitsuishi

But Ikuhara-san, when you think about happiness, that's the first thing that comes up.

It kind of makes sense, doesn't it?

Kunihiko Ikuhara

What makes sense? That's rude (laughs).

Everyone

(laughs).

Newtype

What is your happiness, Mitsuishi?

Kotono Mitsuishi

I can't talk about it here.

Kunihiko Ikuhara

That's right. But you're happy, aren't you, Mitsuishi?

Kotono Mitsuishi

Probably. I think the fact that you don't feel unhappy is happiness itself.

Kunihiko Ikuhara

That's what's important. People who think about how they can make themselves happy are already unhappy at that point.

Kotono Mitsuishi

Just the other day, I was so happy to find out that my favorite actor's house and mine were near each other.

・・・

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