This past April 1, it was revealed Hideaki Anno (Evangelion) and Shinji Higuchi (live-action Attack on Titan) would be co-directing the new Japanese Godzilla film due out 2016.
Both men, who have a long history as tokusatsu professionals and fans, are such a perfect fit for the project many fans, including myself, had to wait until April 2 to make sure it wasn’t some kind of “too good to be true” April Fools’ joke.
Also on April 1, largely overlooked thanks to the Godzilla announcement, came a very personal blog entry on Studio Khara’s site by director Anno himself regarding the long-delayed Evangelion 4.0, the new Godzilla project and his battle with depression.
Here’s our translation of Anno’s post:
“What am I doing next? And why have I decided on a tokusatsu film?
Evangelion 3.0 was released December 2012. I was a broken man. It was what you might call depression. The demons inside me I thought I’d gotten rid of six years ago when I decided to make Evangelion again suddenly returned.
2013. A year when waves of negative emotions kept coming back. I couldn’t even bring myself to go to the studio of which I’m the representative, which is creating my works, once. My relations with other people and the outside world becoming strained, and suffering from complete exhaustion, I sank into mental instability.
I caused a lot of trouble for people during that time. But thanks to my wife and friends, I was able to stay in this world. Mr. Hayao Miyazaki asked me to be in his movie [The Wind Rises], and a friend of mine made a remake of an anime I liked when I first became a fan, and those things helped me cling to the world of anime production. As a tokusatsu fan, another friend’s sentai series helped support me as well.
November of that same year, I supervised Shiro Sagisu’s “petit film” music video. Once more, I was reminded of why anime is interesting, once more, why I like anime, once more, why I keep returning to the studio. I also realized the staff and studio, exhausted from making Evangelion, needed a fresh project. From that idea came the Animator Expo idea, which is still going. I’m very happy we decided to do it.
The beginning of 2014. I finally returned to the studio, and after more than a year of mental rehabilitation, I returned to working on anime. That same year, the Tokyo International Film Festival showed my old high school works. I was happy to be able to look back on that time.
Finally, 2015. This year the original Evangelion series turned 20 years old, and after more than two years of delay, work is slowly moving forward on the new Evangelion. I’m able to move forward thanks to the support of those around me and the motivation I receive from anime fans. I’m truly thankful for that support. I’m happy for all the patience everyone is showing for the new Evangelion film.
At the same time, I’ve taken on a roll working on a new tokusatsu special effects film. It all started at the end of January 2013. I received a request from Toho asking, “we’d like you to be the director of a new Godzilla film.” At that time, in my poor mental state, I responded, “it’s impossible. I’m busy with Evangelion.”
After I declined, Toho asked my good friend director Shinji Higuchi, who accepted that March. But afterward, I decided to take on the role of chief director. Not only do I want to carry on the torch of the past, but I realized that only by bringing my hopes for a revival of science fiction films and the ideas I put into the Tokusatsu Museum to reality can I truly bring my concepts and responsibilities to fruition, and give back to the artists and the works that have come before me. This is why I’ve decided to take on this project.
I took on the project because it can only be done now, because now is the time, because it’s a new challenge. I took on the project because I know I can’t progress on Eva until I work on something new.
In May of 2013, we decided on the theme of the project. Then in June, we submitted a document we called the “G Project Memo” with details of the plot, etc., to Toho. The science fiction world of Godzilla is populated not just by dreams and fantasies, but by caricatures and reflections of real life. Even in today’s Japan, people are experimenting with such projects. Honestly, with a Japanese film budget, which are very low compared to those of other films around the world, we’re not sure how far we’ll be able to go.
At the same time, I feel with this project as well as with Evangelion, a pride in making stories only I can make. I understand that when an artist says anything it is ultimately just an excuse, and that I am putting myself in a position where I receive people’s opinions, both good and bad. I am writing this to ask of you to understand, even just a small amount, that I am taking the responsibility of making, in this day and age, the hallmark of Japanese science fiction films.
Finally, I want to express my gratitude to those around me and to the fans who have lent me support. It’s because of you I’m able to create again.
Here’s wishing Anno a continued recovery and all the best for his work on both films. For additional perspective on Anno’s post, check out Rocket News’ post on the subject.
Translation is by the author, and as with all translations should be taken as an interpretation. Thanks to Ryotaro Aoki for assistance.
Source: Ryotaro Aoki