Biography & legacy
Childhood and personal lifeThe son of Fumiko and Takuya Anno, Anno was born in Ube, Yamaguchi; he attended Wakō Kindergarten, Unoshima Municipal Elementary School, Fujiyama Municipal Junior High School, and Yamaguchi Prefectural Ube High School where he was noted for his interest in artwork and making short films for Japanese Cultural Festivals. Anno is an agnostic and has stated that he has found Shintoism, Japanese spiritualism to be closest to his personal beliefs. Anno is also a vegetarian.
Early workAnno began his career while attending Osaka University of Arts as an animator for the anime series ''The Super Dimension Fortress Macross'' (1982–1983). Wrapped up in producing the DAICON III and IV Opening Animations with his fellow students, and also busy making self-financed films, Anno stopped paying his tuition, eventually getting expelled from Osaka University of Arts. He did not gain recognition until the release of his work on Hayao Miyazaki's 1984 in film, 1984 film ''Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (film), Nausicaä 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 his ability, Miyazaki hired him to draw some of the most complicated scenes near the end of the movie,Studio Ghibli, ''The Birth of Studio Ghibli'' video, Wiktionary:circa, c. 2003 (included on UK Nausicaä DVD) and valued his work highly. Anno went on to become one of the co-founders of Gainax in December 1984. He worked as an animation director for their first feature-length film, ''Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honneamise'' (1987), and ultimately became Gainax's premiere anime director, leading the majority of the studio's projects such as ''Gunbuster'' (1988) and ''Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water'' (1990–1991). However, Anno fell into a four-year depression (mood), depression following ''Nadia'' — the series was handed down to him from NHK from an original concept by Hayao Miyazaki (of which ''Castle in the Sky'' is also partly based upon) and he was given little creative control. In 1994, the minor planet 9081 Hideakianno was named after him by his old friend Akimasa Nakamura.
''Neon Genesis Evangelion''Anno's next project was the anime television series (1995–1996). Anno's history of Major depressive disorder, clinical depression was the main source for many of the psychological elements of the series and its characters, as he wrote down on paper several of the trials and tribulations of his condition. During the show's production, Anno became disenchanted with the Japanese "otaku" lifestyle. For this and other reasons (although perhaps by design as well), ''Evangelion''s plot became increasingly dark and psychological as the series progressed, despite being broadcast in a 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, as the final two episodes take place within the main character's mind. The show did not garner high ratings in Japan at its initial time slot, but after being moved to a later, more adult-oriented venue, it gained considerable popularity. Budgeting issues at Gainax also forced Anno to replace the planned ending of ''Evangelion'' with two episodes set in the main characters' minds. In 1997, Gainax launched a project to re-adapt ''Evangelion''s scrapped ending into a feature-length film. Once again, budgeting issues left the film unfinished, and the completed 27 minutes of animation were included as the second act of ''Evangelion: Death and Rebirth''. In response, Anno received several letters both of encouragement and criticism. Eventually, the project culminated in ''The End of Evangelion'', a three-act film that served as a finale to ''Neon Genesis Evangelion''. In September 1999, Anno appeared on the NHK TV-documentary "Welcome Back for an Extracurricular Lesson, Senpai!", answering some ''Evangelion''-related questions, including the origin of the name ''Evangelion'', and teaching children about animation production. Anno wrote and directed ''Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon a Time'' (2021), launched in March 2021, after being rescheduled twice due to COVID-19 pandemic, COVID-19 Pandemic. He stated that Shinji's story was completed, but mentioned that he had more ideas set on ''Evangelion''
Subsequent workAfter ''Evangelion'', Anno directed the 1998 anime series ''Kare Kano, Kareshi Kanojo no Jijō'' (''Kare Kano'' for short, also known in English as ''His and Her Circumstances''), the first Gainax television series to be directly adapted from previously-written material. During the production of ''Kare Kano'', Anno became frustrated with the restrictions placed on the show by TV Tokyo after the Dennō Senshi Porygon, Pokémon seizure incident and has not directed television anime since then. The director has also made forays into live-action films, beginning with ''Love & Pop'' (1998), a cinéma vérité-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 ratio (image), aspect ratios. He won Best New Director Award at 1998 Yokohama Film Festival for the film. Asumi Miwa who played the lead role won Best New Talent award respectively. He and his friend Masayuki also directed the documentary "Gamera3" which documented the production of the third Gamera film. His second live-action film, ''Shiki-Jitsu'' (2000) (''"Ritual Day"'' or ''"Ceremonial Day"''), is the story of a burnt-out former animation director (played by popular independent film, indie director Shunji Iwai) who falls in love with a woman disconnected from reality. Though an experimental work like ''Love & Pop'', this film was shot using the more traditional 2.35:1 aspect ratio (image), aspect ratio and has a generally more polished presentation, eschewing the cinéma vérité grittiness of Anno's first live-action film. This movie earned him Best Artistic Contribution Award at Tokyo International Film Festival and very positive reviews. Anno's third live-action film was ''Cutie Honey (film), Cutie Honey'', based on Go Nagai's Cutie Honey, 1973 manga and anime series. Released in the summer of 2004, this lighthearted fantasy/superhero film was a stark contrast to his earlier, more realist live-action works. Later in 2004, Anno supervised but did not direct the three-part OVA, ''Re: Cutie Honey'', instead directed by Hiroyuki Imaishi (part 1), Takamichi Itō (part 2), and Masayuki (part 3). Also released in 2004 was the movie , in which Anno makes several acting cameos: as the student in the front row of the "Home Room!" skit sitting next to Hataru, in "Who's the Director?" as an animator who feels he is being overworked, and finally in "Singles Picnic" he is among the men awaiting females who never come. On August 1, 2006, Hideaki Anno's official website was updated with job listings for key animators and production staff at a company he founded, Studio Khara. In September 2006, it is reported by the October edition of the Japanese animation magazine ''Newtype''. On September 9, 2006, GAINAX's official website confirmed that ''Rebuild of Evangelion'' was in the works. The first three movies would be an alternate retelling of the TV series (including many new scenes, settings, backgrounds, characters), and the fourth movie would be a completely new conclusion to the story. Kazuya Tsurumaki and Masayuki would direct the movies while Yoshiyuki Sadamoto would provide character designs and Ikuto Yamashita would provide mechanical designs. Shinji Higuchi would provide storyboards for the first movie. The first was launched in Summer 2007, and the second and third were planned to be launched in 2008, however, the second installment was released by itself on June 27, 2009. The third movie was to be released simultaneously with the fourth, instead, the third movie was released on November 17, 2012 and the release date for the fourth movie in Japan was announced to be June 27, 2020. On February 17, 2007, Anno published an official statement on the Japanese Yahoo Portal for the films regarding his personal involvement and goals in their production. In October 2007, Hideaki Anno resigned from Gainax. In 2011 Anno co-produced the Koinobori Pictures movie ''Kantoku Shikkaku'' ("Failed Director"), directed by Katsuyuki Hirano featuring Yumika Hayashi. In 2012, Anno was the curator of an exhibit entitled ''Tokusatsu- Special Effects Museum-Craftsmanship of Showa and Heisei Eras Seen Through Miniatures'', held at the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, featuring actual props and suits from many of Japan's tokusatsu films and TV shows. Anno also produced a short live-action film for the exhibit, entitled ''A Giant Warrior Descends on Tokyo'', featuring the Giant Warrior-God from Studio Ghibli's animated film Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (film), Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. He has gone on to work with Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli on several short films which have been shown at the Ghibli Museum. He also voiced the main character Jiro Horikoshi in Miyazaki's 2013 feature film ''The Wind Rises''. He also designed the ''Space Battleship Yamato#Space Battleship Yamato: 2199, Space Battleship Yamato 2199'' sci-fi anime television series opening sequence. In 2014, Anno and Studio Khara launched ''Japan Animator Expo'', a series of original net animations made by various directors. In March 2015, it was announced that Anno would team up with close friend and Gainax cofounder Shinji Higuchi to write and codirect ''Shin Godzilla'', the 2016 reboot of Toho's Godzilla (franchise), ''Godzilla'' franchise.
DepictionsAnno has appeared in manga twice, both created by personal acquaintances. His wife, Moyoko Anno, wrote ''Insufficient Direction'', a chronicle of their courtship and marriage and depicting Anno's "true face" as "the founder of the otaku cult". In 2007, a college-age version of him appeared alongside other Gainax founders Hiroyuki Yamaga, Takami Akai, and Toshio Okada in the Kazuhiko Shimamoto manga ''Aoi Honō''. Anno attended Osaka University of Arts with Shimamoto. ''Aoi Honō'' was adapted into a live-action television drama in 2014, where Anno was played by actor Ken Yasuda (actor), Ken Yasuda. The 2014 animated series ''Shirobako'' has a walk-on appearance by a character named "Mitsuaki Kanno", a caricature of Anno.
Director and screenwriter* ''Gunbuster, Aim for the Top! Gunbuster'' (1988–1989) * ''Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water'' (1990–1991) * ''Neon Genesis Evangelion (anime), Neon Genesis Evangelion'' (1995–1996) * ''Neon Genesis Evangelion: Death & Rebirth'' (1997) * ''The End of Evangelion'' (1997) * ''Love & Pop'' (1998) * ''Kare Kano (His and Her Circumstances)'' (1998–1999) * ''Shiki-Jitsu'' (2000) * ''Cutie Honey (film), Cutie Honey'' (2004) * ''Re: Cutie Honey'' (2004) * ''Diebuster, Gunbuster vs. Diebuster'' (2006) * ''Evangelion: 1.0 You Are (Not) Alone'' (2007) * ''Evangelion: 2.0 You Can (Not) Advance'' (2009) * ''Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo'' (2012) * ''Shin Godzilla'' (2016) * ''Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon a Time'' (2021) * ''Shin Kamen Rider (film), Shin Kamen Rider'' (2023)
Storyboards* ''Aim for the Top! Gunbuster'' (1988–1989) * ''Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water'' (1990–1991) * ''Neon Genesis Evangelion (anime), Neon Genesis Evangelion'' (1995–1996) * ''The End of Evangelion'' (1997) * ''Mahoromatic, Mahoromatic: Automatic Maiden'' (2001) * ''Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi'' (2002) * ''Gunbuster 2, Aim for the Top 2! Diebuster'' (2004–2006) * ''Sugar Sugar Rune'' (2005–2006) * ''Rebuild of Evangelion'' (2007–2021) * ''Space Battleship Yamato 2199'' (2012–2013)
Animator* Daicon III and IV Opening Animations, ''Daicon III'' and ''IV Opening Animations'' (1981, 1983) * ''The Super Dimension Fortress Macross'' (1982–1983) * ''Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (film), Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind'' (1984) * ''Macross: Do You Remember Love?, The Super Dimension Fortress Macross: Do You Remember Love?'' (1984) * ''Birth (anime), Birth'' (1984) * ''Cream Lemon'' (Episode 4) (1985–1987) * ''Urusei Yatsura'' (Episode 133) (1984–1986) * ''Urusei Yatsura (film series)#Remember My Love, Urusei Yatsura 3: Remember My Love'' (1985) * ''Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honnêamise'' (1987) * ''Crystal Triangle'' (1987) * ''Dangaioh'' (1987–1989) * ''Battle Royal High School'' (1987) * ''Madox-01'' (1987) * ''Grave of the Fireflies'' (1988) * ''Gunbuster, Aim for the Top! Gunbuster'' (1988–1989) * ''Baoh, Baoh the Visitor'' (1989) * ''Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water'' (1990–1991) * ''Crimson Wolf'' (1993) * ''Macross Plus'' (1994–1995) * ''Giant Robo: The Day the Earth Stood Still'' (1994–1998) * ''Macross Plus, Macross Plus Movie Edition'' (1995) * ''Neon Genesis Evangelion'' (1995–1996) * ''Neon Genesis Evangelion: Death & Rebirth'' (1997) * ''The End of Evangelion'' (1997) * ''FLCL'' (2000–2001) * ''Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi'' (2002) * ''Re: Cutie Honey '' (2004) * ''Gunbuster 2, Aim for the Top 2! Diebuster'' (2004–2006) * ''Sugar Sugar Rune'' (2005–2006) * ''Rebuild of Evangelion'' (2007–2021)
Actor* ''Return of Ultraman: MAT Arrow 1 Takeoff Order'' (1983) (Ultraman) * ''Yamata no Orochi no Gyakushū'' (1985) (TV Reporter) * ''Otaku no Video'' (1991) (''A Portrait of an Otaku'' interview, uncredited) * ''Abunai deka forever the movie'' (1998) * ''FLCL'' (2000–2001) (Voice of Miyu-Miyu, uncredited) * ''Frog River'' (2002) (Bar owner) * ''Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi'' (2002) (Cameo role in Episode 12, uncredited) * ''Cutie Honey (film), Cutie Honey'' (2004) (Office worker) * ''The Taste of Tea'' (2004) (Cameo, anime director) * ''Koi no Mon (Otakus in Love)'' (2004) (Cameo) * ''Funky Forest'' (2004) (Actor) * ''Nihon Chinbotsu (2006 film), Nihon Chinbotsu'' (2006) (Yamashiro's Son in law) * ''The Catch Man'' (2006), (Actor) * ''Welcome to the Quiet Room (Quiet room ni yôkoso)'' (2007) (Doctor) * ''Death Kappa'' (2010) (Actor) * ''The Wind Rises'' (2013) (Voice, Jiro Horikoshi, main character) * ''The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness'' (Documentary film) (2013) (Self) * ''Shin Godzilla'' (2016) (Passerby, uncredited) * ''Last Letter (2020 film), Last Letter'' (2020)
Mechanical designer* Daicon III and IV Opening Animations, ''Daicon III'' and ''IV Opening Animations'' (1981, 1983) (Mecha designer and mechanical animator) * ''Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack'' (1988) (Mecha designer) * ''Neon Genesis Evangelion (anime), Neon Genesis Evangelion'' (1995–1996) (Mecha designer) * ''Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi'' (2002) (Mechanical animator)
Other* ''Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honnêamise'' (1987) (Special effects) * ''The End of Evangelion'' (1997) (Lyrics of "Music of Neon Genesis Evangelion#Komm, süsser Tod, Komm, Süsser Tod") * ''Petite Princess Yucie'' (2003) (Supervising director) * ''Shin Godzilla'' (2016) (Editor) * ''The Dragon Dentist'' (2017) (Sound director) * ''Virtual-san Looking'' (2019) (Creative supervisor) * ''Shin Ultraman'' (2021) (Planner and screenwriter)