This is a rough transcript of an interview with Hideaki Anno, which aired in November1996. The interviewer is a famous Japanese voice actress Noriko Hidaka.
A subtitled interview with Anno, including a video from his amateur days, can be seen here. Thank you very much.
I hope you enjoy it.
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The Japan Science Fiction Convention
The Japan Science Fiction Convention has been held annually by fans from 1962 to the present(1996). This is the opening animation of the Japan Science Fiction Convention, which Anno was involved in when he was an amateur.
H: I wonder if you were already working professionally back then?
A: I helped with a TV animation called "Macross" once. Then, when I did DAICON3, I was offered to help with the work.
H: Isn’t that a scout?
A: I guess you could say so.
H: You were in college at the time.
A: Yes. That's how my career started.
H: “Hey, you're good. Are you interested in being an idol?”
A: In Harajuku? Lol.
H: In the case of idols, that's true. It's like you walking in Harajuku and someone says, "You look nice.".
A: Exactly. Lol.
H: “I saw your film. I like it. Do you want to come to Tokyo?”
H: Is it like you became a professional from an amateur and have reached this career pretty smoothly?
A: Smoothly...I rather let it happen. There are times when I get frustrated and think about quitting, though. But from others, it looks like my career is certainly going well.
Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honnêamise
Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honnêamise was the first theatrical film produced by the production group Gainax, to which Anno belongs. He was the animation director for this film. In the rocket launch scene, he says that all the falling pieces of ice were drawn by hand.
H: Were you involved in this film as an animator?
A: Yes. That was my best time as an animator. It sure was.
H: Looking back, do you think you were doing a good job in that anime?
A: I do. Even at the time, it was a job that I was quite satisfied with.
H: What was your next project?
A: Next up is Gunbuster.
H: There were a lot of scenes where you shouted out the names of the moves, weren't there?
A: Yes, yes.
H: At that time, we ended up staying behind for the last recording session, and the lines were passed down verbally from you.
A: That's a nice way of putting it, though, yes.
H: You didn't explain it like "shorten here and stretch there," but demonstrated it out loud from the bottom of your stomach, so you must have been shouting in the studio while getting dizzy.
H: At that time, Gunbuster was quite a tough job, and I was also at the end of two shoots, so I was a bit dizzy myself. You shouted, "Buster Beam," and then you said, breathing on your shoulder, "Go ahead.". I was overwhelmed by your power. Then I shouted, "Buster Beam," and asked you, "Is this okay?".
Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water
For the next film, "Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water," Anno also cast Noriko Hidaka. This film was so popular that it later became a feature film. It is one of the works that both of them will never forget.
H: When I didn't understand something, you often called me silly.
A: Oh did I?
H: Yeah you did.
A: Oh I didn't say you were silly, but I said you were not smart.
H: Oh yea, you did.
A: That's when you couldn't read kanji, dude.
H: Don't call me dude.
H: You're currently working on a theatrical production called Evangelion but,
A: It's a tough job.
H: Right. I feel if I ask you to talk about the future in the middle of something like that, you'll probably say that you are not thinking about anything about the future.
"I want to do fiction."
A: Actually I'm starting to see some direction. I found the words for it the other day. I don't want to do illusions, I want to do fiction.
A: Yes, Fiction. It's not an illusion anymore. I wanted to talk about reality, not dreams, and that's where I ended up. Animation is very useful for expressing dreams, isn't it? That's because a picture itself is already an illusion. Trying to make something real out of it is very difficult, but it's interesting to see how you're trying to make something real out of a painting. It's not that you're trying to make it look like a real action, but it's about the concept of the world, the characters, and so on. I thought, “Why am I trying so hard to take it in that direction?”. This is because I want to do fiction.
At first glance, he seems strong and unsociable, but inside he is quite funny and shy. The energy behind his elusive vibe is immeasurable. I thought I knew a lot about him, but maybe I really didn't know anything. I wonder what he will do in the coming year.
Hideaki Anno, occupation, according to him, “I'm a producer and an animation director.”. He's an old friend of mine.