Hideaki Anno

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Director Hideaki Anno

Hideaki Anno (庵野秀明 Anno Hideaki) (born 22 May 1960 in Ube, Japan) is a Japanese animation and video director. Having a distinctively vivid and precise visual style, Anno is best known for his work on the influential anime series Neon Genesis Evangelion.



Early work

Anno began his career as an animator for the anime series The Super Dimension Fortress Macross (19821983), but wasn't a recognized talent until the release of his work on Hayao Miyazaki's 1984 film Nausica of the Valley of the Wind. Running short on animators, the film's production studio posted an ad in the famous Japanese animation magazine Animage, announcing that they were in desperate need of more animators. Anno, in his early twenties at the time, read the ad and headed down to the film's studio, where he met with Miyazaki and showed him some of his drawings. Impressed with Anno's work, Miyazaki hired him to draw some of the most complicated scenes near the end of the movie.

Miyazaki and his crew were very happy with Anno's final product, and he went on to be hired by the scrappy animation studio Gainax as an animation director for their first feature-length film, Wings of Honneamise (1987). He ultimately became Gainax's premiere anime director, helming the majority of the studio's projects such as Gunbuster (1988) and Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water (19901991). However, Anno fell into a four-year depression following Nadia—the series was handed down to him from NHK as a partial remake of Hayao Miyazaki's Castle in the Sky, and he was given very little creative control.

Neon Genesis Evangelion

Anno's next project was the anime TV series Neon Genesis Evangelion, (19951996), which has ultimately gone on to be one of the most influential anime works ever, championing a return to traditional anime drawing styles and themes and taking them to new heights of precision and depth. During the show's production, Anno rejected the hermetic otaku lifestyle he had been living, considering it a form of forced autism. For this and other reasons, Evangelion's plot became increasingly dark and psychological as the series progressed, despite being broadcast in children's television timeslot. Anno felt that people should be exposed to the realities of life at as young an age as possible, and by the end of the series all attempts at traditional narrative logic were abandoned, the final two episodes being a kind of bad trip taking place inside the head of the main character. The show did not garner high ratings at its initial timeslot, though it was soon moved to a later, more adult-oriented venue and became exceptionally popular throughout Japan.

After the ending of Neon Genesis Evangelion, Anno received numerous letters and emails from fans, both congratulating him on the series and criticizing the last two episodes. Among these were death threats and letters of disappointment from fans who thought Anno had ruined the series for them. Partially in response to this outcry, a project was launched to create a movie with a 'proper' ending for the series in 1997, eventually culminating in the controversial The End of Evangelion.

Recent work

After Evangelion, Anno directed a significant portion of the 1998 anime series His and Her Circumstances—the first Gainax work to be directly adapted from previously-written material—until disputes with both the show's sponsors and the original manga author ended in the director's departure, leaving the show in the hands of his proteg Kazuya Tsurumaki (see also FLCL). Since that dispute, Anno has gone on to work with Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli on several short animated films which have been shown at the Ghibli Museum.

The director has also made forays into live-action films, beginning with Love & Pop (1998), a cinma vrit-style film about enjo kosai ("compensated dating", a form of teenage prostitution) in Japan, of which a major portion was shot on miniature digital cameras with constantly shifting aspect ratios. His second live-action film, Shiki-Jitsu (2000) (translated "Ritual Day" or "Ceremonial Day"), is the story of a burnt-out former anime director (played by popular indie director Shunji Iwai) who falls in love with a woman disconnected from reality. Though like Love and Pop it was an experimental work, the film was shot using a more traditional 2.35:1 aspect ratio and has a more polished presentation, eschewing the cinma vrit grittiness of Anno's first live-action film.

Anno's third live-action film, released in the summer of 2004, was a tokusatsu adaptation of the comic book Cutie Honey. A stark contrast to his earlier more realist live-action works, Cutie Honey is a lighthearted fantasy/superhero movie. Later in 2004, Anno supervised but did not direct the three-part OVA, Re: Cutie Honey. The directors are actually Hiroyuki Imaishi (part one), Takamichi Ito (part two), and Masayuki (part three).


External links

fr:Hideaki Anno es:Hideaki Anno he:הידאקי אנו ja:庵野秀明 pl:Hideaki Anno ru:Анно, Хидэаки zh:庵野秀明


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