Nausicaa: A Miyazaki and Anno Love Story (Toshio Suzuki)

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Nausicaa: A Miyazaki and Anno Love Story (Toshio Suzuki)

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Postby Xard » Sat Oct 12, 2013 9:05 am

Last January fascinating article on relationship between Miyazaki and Anno by Toshio Suzuki got published on Gekkan Bunshun as Anno was set to work on Miyazaki film for first time since Nausicaa (at this point it was just about animating Zeros though!). I wanted to translate it at the time but the link to article stopped working almost immeaditly and for one reason or another I had poor success refinding it via moon rune googling so I forgot about it.

So I was very happy when I stumbled upon translation of said article! It's beautifully fluid job, much better than I could come up with, and all credit goes to Akira.

With that out of the way here's the text.

Nausicaa: A Miyazaki and Anno Love Story

SHOWA 59 (1984)

With works such as Princess Mononoke and Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea, Hayao Miyazaki has turned anime into one of Japanese culture’s crown jewels. Hideaki Anno continues to create hit after hit with the release of the Rebuild of Evangelion series. The two great men of Japanese animation are share a master-apprentice relationship, but are also rivals, says producer (and president) Suzuki Toshio of Studio Ghibli.

Hayao and Hideaki first met on the set of Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind. Looking back, not only was Nausicaa Miyazaki’s breakout work, it changed the status of anime itself. It was the first time I’d been involved in the early stages of production. Top Craft, the studio that produced Nausicaa, was the predecessor to Studio Ghibli.

Five months before the movie’s release, we were beset by delays. In the fall of 1983, we declared a “state of emergency” at the studio. It was then that Hideaki Anno, a recent dropout from Osaka University of the Arts, showed up at our doorstep in Asagaya.

Image

He looked like a warrior in training who’d just crashed a dojo. He even brought the keyframes for an anime had created. Hayao saw those sketches and hired him immediately. Most artists in the anime industry start by animating before moving on to key animation, so this was an unprecedented move.

Hayao didn’t simply like Anno’s art. He also loved his style. I remember he looked (well, he still looks) liked a terrorist― tall, almost foreign. When he spoke, he stared straight at you, eyes unmoving, unblinking. He had the intimidating intensity of a man about to be martyred for a greater cause.

When we hired him, the first surprise he sprang on us was the fact that he was homeless. He literally came to Tokyo with nothing but the clothes on his back. He’d been sleeping at his workplace. He drew cels all day and slept at his desk at night. Wake up, draw, sleep some more. That was his life.

Hideaki was in charge of the scene depicting the God Warrior’s disintegration. The God Warrior was this artificial colossus, large enough to fit a human in the palm of its hand. During Nausicaa’s climax, this gargantuan being disintegrates and crumbles. If you’ve seen the movie, you may remember that there were many small details and movements in that scene. It’s quite complicated. It’s a scene that had every key animator recoiling in fear.

Why did Hayao leave such an important and difficult scene in the hands of a complete rookie? Hideaki’s art was very good, but more importantly, the energy he exuded was so intense. Anno’s God Warrior was incredibly viscous in the way it collapsed. Every veteran animator knows how to make movements fluid― therefore, for a scene like that, it was necessary to find someone who didn’t know such techniques. I think Hayao’s foresight is really quite something.

The scene’s about 90 seconds long, but it took Hideaki around 3 months to complete. When Hayao checks his staff’s work, there’s often quite a lot of cutting and adding involved, but he left Hideaki’s work more or less untouched. They say that if Hayao had tried to edit Hideaki’s scenes, the movie would have never been released (laughs). In the final product, that scene is basically all Hideaki’s work.

Nausicaa was the only Miyazaki that Anno worked on. Four years later, he crashed through our doors again when Isao Takahata was making Grave of the Fireflies. He never came back after that. Like a warrior in training, once he’s learned the master’s tricks, he would leave and go somewhere else.

When Neon Genesis Evangelion aired in 1995, I was very happy that it was an instant hit. When Hayao saw the Evas, he said, “Those are God Warriors.” I thought so too. Last year, during the Hideaki Anno exhibit at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art, I wrote that “The origins of Eva are Ultraman and the God Warrior.” We made a special tokusatsu short for the exhibit called “The God Warriors Appears in Tokyo”, in which God Warriors destroy Tokyo.

When I meet Anno, he sometimes tells me that he wants to create a sequel to Nausicaa. According to him, he considers Evangelion a continuation of Nausicaa, done in his own way. It’s amazing how much he was influenced by Nausicaa. Those short three months he spent at our office ended up defining everything about him.

Image

Hayao often praises Hideaki for his frank, straightforward style. I think it’s because Hayao’s a straightforward, honest person. Hideaki seems to like Hayao too. Every once in a while, he’ll come visit us. He’s comfortable around Hayao.

Anno is ruthless in his criticism, though. Evangelion: Death and Rebirth was showing in theatres around the same time as Princess Mononoke. Everyone billed it a showdown between master and pupil. When Anno was asked about Mononoke, he criticized it harshly― he said it wasn’t deft. The technical aspects of the movie had left him wanting. It says a lot about his expectations towards Miyazaki. (Incidentally, he did praise Ponyo, saying that the composition of the film was good.)

I think that movies are becoming less and less relevant. It’s harder for them to become cultural phenomena. Anno’s trying his best to change that with his Rebuild of Evangelion series. I think the next ten years belong to him.

This July, we’ll see the release of Miyazaki’s new work, The Wind Rises, as well as Takahata’s Kaguya-hime. The Wind Rises is about the life and career of Mitsubishi A6M Zero fighter designer Jiro Horikoshi, based on the novel by Tatsuo Hori. Anno told Miyazaki that if there’s a scene with Zeros flying through the sky, he wanted to animate that. If that happens, it’ll be the first time in 29 years they’ve worked together. Perhaps we’ll see another stand-off between pupil and master.

- Toshio Suzuki
Studio Ghibli Producer

**********


According to him, he considers Evangelion a continuation of Nausicaa, done in his own way.


Fucking A. I know I've brought this up before to more or less perplexed reactions that Evangelion is essentially Anno's personal rehash of Nausicaä's seventh and final volume (with more depression and psychosexual hangups). Of course confirmations from horse's mouth have been around since 90s but still, some time ago Anno apparently said in same magazine that he wants to do film trilogy based on the last volume :hahaha:

After Rebuild's over I guess it's time for Nausicaä retake. Even Miyazaki has ok'd it by now. :|
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Postby cyharding » Sat Oct 12, 2013 10:29 pm

Damn good find Xard. I should try to update my little entry in the wiki about Nausicaa as it is somewhat out of date with all sorts of new information coming to light in the last couple of years, such as this article. I just need to find the sources of some of this info so it can be cited (for example, where was it said that Anno was sneaking into Miyazaki's office when he was drawing the final chapters of the Nausicaa manga to take a look at the completed pages?). It will have to wait until damn near spring as I have several other projects I would like to do first, along with the fact that Turning Point is getting an English release this spring, and I want to see if Miyazaki wrote anything about Eva.

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Postby C.A.P. » Mon Oct 14, 2013 1:23 pm

According to him, he considers Evangelion a continuation of Nausicaa, done in his own way.


Well, I'm speechless. This confirms my suspensions that the second half was indeed Gainax just throwing up their hands in defeat and digging deep into their anxieties to get the show done, ignoring everything they set up in the first half and what they wanted to do with the whole "what we're trying to do" thing.

Fantastic find Xard. I await the day someone takes this titbit seriously and goes somewhere with it.
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Postby Xard » Tue Oct 15, 2013 2:05 am

View Original Postcyharding wrote:(for example, where was it said that Anno was sneaking into Miyazaki's office when he was drawing the final chapters of the Nausicaa manga to take a look at the completed pages?)


It's from June interviews:

In Anno’s view, Miyazaki’s greatest work is volume seven of the Nausicaa manga. If I understood the next part correctly (Anno laughs a lot telling this), when Nausicaa was being serialized in Animage Anno used to visit Miyazaki’s office and ask to see the part of Nausicaa currently in progress; Miyazaki wouldn’t let him, so he would go in and look at them when Miyazaki wasn’t there. Anno wished that Miyazaki would stop making anime and focus on the Nausicaa manga.


View Original PostC.A.P. wrote:Well, I'm speechless. This confirms my suspensions that the second half was indeed Gainax just throwing up their hands in defeat and digging deep into their anxieties to get the show done, ignoring everything they set up in the first half and what they wanted to do with the whole "what we're trying to do" thing.


...I fail to see how this follows from anything said there at all but ok. :|

(hell, "What we were trying to make here" quotes Nausicaa as is)
ran1: Oh gosh this sentence gave me an internet boner. You're so tsundere.
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And don't forget to wear the Ran mask.
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Gob Hobblin: Sanctimonious, subtly racist, vaguely misogynist, somehow says something while at the same time saying...nothing, really, at all....

Nice, Xard. That's nice.

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Postby C.A.P. » Tue Oct 15, 2013 2:10 am

Well, I stand corrected. Forgot about that.

That Anno, he always has a method to his madness.
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Postby cyharding » Tue Oct 15, 2013 10:53 pm

View Original PostXard wrote:It's from June interviews:


Thanks Xard.

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Postby Dream » Wed Oct 23, 2013 6:23 pm

Walked into this somewhere in the internet long ago, thought about posting it here but never got around to it. Glad to see someone else, with a better OP, did.

As said this is a really great article, lots of very interesting things in it. Learning how Anno's demeanor and life were back then is really moving.
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Postby pikadourei » Fri Nov 22, 2013 3:29 am

In a more recent interview Miyazaki has said he will not make a sequel to Nausicaa, but, Hideaki Anno can do so it if he wants to.

Sorry if this was already posted elsewhere: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pVUrfhIJ-9s#t=7m40s
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Postby Defectron » Sat Nov 23, 2013 2:00 am

View Original Postpikadourei wrote:In a more recent interview Miyazaki has said he will not make a sequel to Nausicaa, but, Hideaki Anno can do so it if he wants to.

Sorry if this was already posted elsewhere: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pVUrfhIJ-9s#t=7m40s


Here's hoping he will, Anno directing a miyazaki anime would be a really interesting movie I'm sure!
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Postby gatotsu911 » Sat Nov 23, 2013 5:18 pm

Man I guess maybe it's time for me to stop putting off seeing Nausicaa

Also based on the thread title I sort of half-expected this to be Xard's steamy Miyazaki x Anno fanfiction and I'm kinda disappointed that it wasn't
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Re: Nausicaa: A Miyazaki and Anno Love Story (Toshio Suzuki)

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Postby kuribo-04 » Tue Apr 03, 2018 4:51 am

When Anno was asked about Mononoke, he criticized it harshly― he said it wasn’t deft. The technical aspects of the movie had left him wanting.


This gets the most sincere "what?" from me.
I mean I'm not an animator, but..
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