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What makes Anno Hideaki unique?

Jan 30, 2021

Jan. 30, 2021, 11:30

With "EVANGELION:3.0+1.0 THRICE UPON A TIME" and "Shin Ultraman" on the way, we look back at "Shin Godzilla".

"Shin Godzilla" is a selection of the best of everything he like.

April 2015. The comment by Hideaki Anno, released with the announcement of the production of the new "Godzilla" film, began with shocking words.

"December 2012. After the release of Eva: 3.0, I went into a state of mental abnormality, or depression. I went into a state of depression, which was the natural retribution for 6 years of grinding my soul out to make Eva again. I couldn't even come close to the studio I represented and the work I was responsible for."

From Khara's official website, "Hideaki Anno's comments on EVANGELION:3.0+1.0 THRICE UPON A TIME and the new Godzilla movie.

Shin Godzilla was announced in the midst of the controversy that surrounded "EVANGELION: 3.0 YOU CAN (NOT) REDO." It was not accepted with open arms by all movie fans.

This is because what they were waiting for, including myself, was the "conclusion of Eva" and nothing else.

As we have seen, Anno's live-action films have not been numerous, nor have they been entertaining for everyone. The production of "Shin Godzilla" was carried out in secrecy, and the only information that became public before the release date was the cast, main staff, and a brief trailer. It's a work that you don't know anything about until you open it, and the people who open it are half in doubt about its quality, too. Under such circumstances, "Shin Godzilla" was released on July 26, 2016.

"Shin Godzilla" (2016)

As soon as it was released, "Shin Godzilla" was showered with praise. Not only did it set a new box-office record for the series, but it also won seven awards, including the Japan Academy Prize for Best Picture and Best Director, which, as the Minister of State for Disaster Management repeats in the film, was "unexpected."

This political fiction about the Japanese government confronting the disaster of Godzilla, using the metaphor of the Great East Japan Earthquake - the most recent tragedy that every resident of Japan has suffered from deep in their hearts - has undeniably shaken the emotions of many viewers.

The scene after Godzilla's landing (image from "Shin Godzilla")

Although there is a rather cold opinion in the latter part of the story where the story significantly leans towards fiction, it does not bother me that much because of the perfect setting of the reality in the story line. There is a sense of discomfort caused by bringing a certain kind of opportunism into a very realistic world.

This is softened by the casting of the film. Anno's friend and director/special effects director Shinji Higuchi's previous work, the live-action "Attack on Titan," had Hiroki Hasegawa and Satomi Ishihara playing very anime-like characters. The use of Mikako Ichikawa in Anno's live-action "Cutie Honey" works well.

In addition, the film is characterized by the fact that it strips down to the absolute minimum the slow portrayal that has tended to occur in entertaining Japanese films up to that point. Not only the meeting scenes, but also the rapid-fire conversations and the fast-changing cuts. The storyline changes and evolves one after another, leaving no room for relaxation, and the odd angles that occasionally catch the eye. The subtitles that appear when the scenes and characters change.

Many critics have already written about the fact that these are homages to Kihachi Okamoto, Kon Ichikawa, and Akio Jissoji. However, I am again impressed by the fact that the techniques of these pioneers were accepted as "fresh" in this age.

The most important thing is that the film not only uses these techniques, but also makes extensive use of self-homage from previous Anno works. In other words, it is a sign of determination to be very conscious of being called "Eva-like".

A music piece by Shiro Sagisu, including the EM20 series, that is played repeatedly during the operation scenes.EVANGELION:1.0 YOU ARE (NOT) ALONE." Godzilla's beam attack reminiscent of the battle with the 6th angel, followed by the outline of Operation Yashiori. Orange digital numbers.

Starting with the scene of the establishment of the special disaster task force for the giant unidentified creature, "EM20" plays repeatedly and impressively in the scene of operational preparations (image from "Shin Godzilla")

In the past, Anno has stated that "when I make anime, I want to do things that can't be done in anime," and while he has used outlandish directorial techniques in his live-action works "Love & Pop," "Shikijitsu," and "Cutie Honey," they were not always "Eva-like".

The exception to this rule is "Kare Kano," directed by Anno in 1998. There are many scenes here that are very similar to the scenes and direction of Eva. However, most of them are comedies and parodies that make us laugh at the gap between the world of shoujo manga. In "Shin Godzilla," however, aside from the fact that Eva was greatly influenced by special effects films, it is seriously cool and Eva-like by all measures.

"Kare Kano" also had some "Eva-like" effects, but they were basically used as a comical essence (image from "Kare Kano" episode 1)

The TV version of "Evangelion" was a work that was conscious of the fact that "our expression may be nothing more than a copy, and our thoughts may be nothing more than a copy". The Evangelion is a copy of the ancestors Adam and Lilith, and the frequent use of the words "copy," "original," and "its soul" is a sign of this.

"In the end, I think we can only do collages. There's no way around it. If there is an original, it's only my life. I am the only one who has my life."/ From "Schizo Evangelion" (Ota Shuppan, 1997)

Anno has also included a great deal of homage in this film.

  • The first time Godzilla appears from behind a mountain in the 1954 version of "Godzilla.

  • The story of Maki Gorou, which begins with a drifting ship in the 1984 version of Godzilla.

  • A reference to the decision to launch a nuclear attack.

  • In episodes 5 and 6 of "The Return of Ultraman," the stoppage of firing when civilians are found, and the inclusion of photos of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

It is the greatest respect for the pioneer and superficially a copy, but at the same time, only the mind of the creator who feels that he likes the method and that it is a good picture is the one and only original, no matter what anyone says.

In this sense, this film is a masterpiece created by Hideaki Anno, and is the best selection of all his "likes". I wonder what Anno will show us in "Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon a Time" after making "Shin Godzilla". I can't help but look forward to it.

Godzilla statue installed at Hibiya Godzilla Square in March 2018.

The other day, it was announced that "Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon a Time" would be rescheduled for release in response to the declaration of a state of emergency. As a person who has been waiting for the release of this movie, I feel frustrated. However, I think it is the best decision now that we are not in a situation to proudly say, "I want you to go to the cinema".

The special report for "Shin Ultraman," which is scheduled to be released in early summer, arrived on January 29. Directed by Shinji Higuchi, Anno's credit is limited to planning and scriptwriting at this point. However, you can feel the taste of "Shin Godzilla" in every part of the film. Khara also announced that "Anno will join Higuchi's team in earnest after "Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon a Time" is completed.

We've waited 8 years since the release of 3.0. The only thing left to do is to take care of our own safety until it is released.

The real government doesn't work like the fictional one.

(Written by Shorai no owari)

<Original JP site: https://nlab.itmedia.co.jp/nl/articles/2101/30/news013.html>

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