Hideaki Anno interview 14/07/2012

Discussion of the new series of Evangelion movies ( "Evangelion Shin Gekijōban", meaning "Evangelion: New Theatrical Edition").
The third installment debuted in Japan on November 17, 2012.

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Postby Ornette » Wed Jul 25, 2012 1:21 pm

View Original Postliquidus118 wrote:The latter half of NGE is not just entertainment. End of Evangelion is definitely not just entertainment.

If it was anything more than entertainment, then maybe I missed something. But that's pretty much the only thing I got out of it, maybe aside from having a lot of fun fanwanking away plot holes (which is the only reason I came to this forum, when it was Evamonkey.com). And Rebuild, for me so far, is just entertainment, never expected it to be anything other than that.

I think Anno's right on with by saying that.

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Postby FreakyFilmFan4ever » Wed Jul 25, 2012 2:00 pm

^ I agree. (Though, I never found EoE all that entertaining in the optimistic sense. But there is something to be said about people who are entertained by depressing stories.)

I like how people here think how creating entertainment can't be creative. I mean, if all we're gonna whine about with these new movies is the lack of depression, then that's not really an argument about quality, is it?

For example, there have been movies that have very depressing premises and conclusions, like Plan 9 From Outer Space, The Wild Ride, The Violent Years, The Room, The Passion of the Christ, Apocalypto, and Revenge of the Sith, and the depressing premise or conclusion of these movies hasn't made them all that great.

Anno hasn't promised us depression in NME yet. He's promised us psychological character development through Shinji's Hell Train scenes in the first two films (more than what we had in the original series, actually), stellar directing from cinematography to vocal performance and character blocking, intrigue in his writing (Rei's establishment in 1.11, Shikinami's set up throughout 2.22, Kaworu's last line in 2.22, NERV, SEELE, ect.), the return of a great creative team from the original series, he's promised us a whole lot of great things actually, and has delivered on everything but the conclusion. (The only thing really missing from NME that was found in NGE is the use of on-screen texts and discontinuous editing.)

Then he mentions that he's looking to have all of these quality elements be entertaining to watch rather than depressing, and half the people here get all up in a huff about it and start making bizarre complaints suggesting that the creation of entertainment isn't somehow as creative as the creation of depression.

I don't get it.
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Postby Nonoriri » Wed Jul 25, 2012 4:00 pm

I just hope that 3.0 is more ambitious than 1.0 or 2.0 were.

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Postby Rodeo » Wed Jul 25, 2012 4:21 pm

View Original PostFreakyFilmFan4ever wrote:^ I agree. (Though, I never found EoE all that entertaining in the optimistic sense. But there is something to be said about people who are entertained by depressing stories.)


Nothing in particular needs to be said. If you liked EoE you must have been entertained by it.

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Postby qu4d » Wed Jul 25, 2012 5:31 pm

View Original PostOrnette wrote:If it was anything more than entertainment, then maybe I missed something. But that's pretty much the only thing I got out of it, maybe aside from having a lot of fun fanwanking away plot holes (which is the only reason I came to this forum, when it was Evamonkey.com). And Rebuild, for me so far, is just entertainment, never expected it to be anything other than that.

I think Anno's right on with by saying that.


What would be your definition of "more than entertainment"? Maybe also with an example? :)

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Postby Ornette » Wed Jul 25, 2012 5:41 pm

View Original Postqu4d wrote:What would be your definition of "more than entertainment"?

Something more than simply entertainment that I could easily do without or if there was something else equally as entertaining that I could do.

Maybe also with an example? :)

Examples? There are some documentaries that I find more than entertainment, something that changed the way I look at things, or came out of better than going in. There are entertaining books that I've read that I felt made me a better person, or gave me an insight that I sorely lacked before. I thought Grave of the Fireflies was more than entertainment.

NGE? Nope, it was just entertaining for me. And I don't mean that in any way as a bad thing. Maybe if I was 15 years old when I watched it, it would have had a different effect. And it could very well be that something 20 years ago that I watched/read/etc would have had a similar effect as if I had gotten something more than just entertainment value out of NGE. But whatever it was that I got back then, apparently I didn't need to "get it again" by watching NGE, nor Rebuild for that matter.

And this is all starting to get off-topic.

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Postby FreakyFilmFan4ever » Thu Jul 26, 2012 1:33 pm

The only thing NGE really changed for me was that it made me realize that Japanese anime could be as well-told a story as a Stanley Kubrick film. (I got into anime rather late into my film education, and I had a predisposition to the Japanese art form that needed to be overcome.)

Other than that, it was entertaining and well more than a solid piece of work.
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Postby Kendrix » Thu Jul 26, 2012 6:36 pm

View Original PostFreakyFilmFan4ever wrote:Apparently the only reason why Doritos was in Eva is because either Doritos liked Eva, or Anno likes Doritos.


Isn't it somehow more realistic if there's real products in their shopping bags than if there were nondescript grey packages ore made up stuff? Especially with the level of detail the drawing style has gotten.
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Postby Gendo'sPapa » Thu Jul 26, 2012 6:42 pm

But I don't think anyone who has ever watched a movie has wondered when it ended - "Gee, that scene in the grocery store, I wonder what brand of chips did they buy".

The product placement in the series has never bothered. Struck me as a necessary way to get more money.

Anywho, Eva 3.0 should easily be more ambitious than 1.0 & 2.0 because to the best of my knowledge they have very little of NGE left to retread.

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Postby Warren Peace » Fri Jul 27, 2012 1:20 am

I look at it as free money too. For me, changing name brands to "Moca-Cola" or whatever is way more distracting.

I'm surprised Anno's "entertainment" comment is controversial. He wasn't saying "From now I'm watering down my scripts 'cuz you bitches is CRAZY." Just the opposite -- the psychos used to bother him, but not anymore. He's just gonna do what he wants:

"Q: What do you think of yourself, as someone who creates works which produce dependence?

Anno: Nothing. I want the works to be successful, but an excessive response is not my responsibility."


Seems pretty clear. I'm also perplexed that people keep saying Rebuild lacks "psycho-analysis" or whatever the word is. What does that mean? Hell trains? Mind rapes? Character can be (and is) revealed in other ways. Rei has come to a dramatically different place by the end of 2.0 from when we met her in 1.0. Just because there are no sequences of her talking to herself doesn't mean the films shun her inner life.

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Postby Jornophelanthas » Fri Jul 27, 2012 7:07 am

I think that Anno's quote to focus more on entertainment reflects an artistic choice that distinguishes Rebuild from NGE, in order to make it more accessible to the segments of the audience that care less about the psychological aspects of the story. Anno is apparently shunning a narrative technique that was everywhere throughout NGE: the monologue.

Nearly every episode of NGE contained at least one long monologue of a character talking to him/herself, occasionally in the form of extended flashbacks, and occasionally being disturbed by the hinted interference of either an Angel or an Evangelion's soul. This was what some here called the "epilepsy inducing" scenes.

However, none of this is in Rebuild. Instead, Anno uses different tools to portray the inner turmoil of his (main) characters.

For example:

- Dialogue, not monologue
Shinji's hell train sequences are half-remembered shards conversation (where it's unclear whether they're even his own memories) that are brought in different voices. It's no longer his own voice questioning himself (where in some cases you may doubt whether one of Shinji's voices is even Shinji himself).

- Short, not drawn out
Any stream of consciousness scene lasts only a short time, with very few actual lines or interchange. This makes those all the more important, but at the same time more difficult to interpret.

- No more explicit thoughts
Instead of characters saying their thoughts out loud to nobody in particular, a lot of their inner workings is portrayed through their expressions and posturing. At most, one or two lines are uttered by the character, in order to clarify to the viewer what it is that they're mulling over.
(Rei in Rebuild 2.0 is a prime example here. She is not reciting Evangelion-induced stream-of-consciousness "poems" to the viewers any more. Instead, she is seen staring at a pill with slumped shoulders, or raising a kitchen knife with an expression of utmost concentration, or standing forlorn next to a garbage container, clutching Shinji's discarded music player.)

- Show, don't tell
Rebuild uses (symbolic) imagery in order to reflect the inner workings of characters. The blood and dirt on Shinji's hands, the close ups of Kaji's watermelon patch, Rei holding Gendo's glasses or Shinji's music player, the weird imagery inside Asuka's entry plug as the 9th Angel ("Bardiel") invades her consciousness; these scenes all show key moments in characters' development, with the objects representing or symbolizing some special meaning to the character.
(Asuka's doll is another one of these symbols, but we are unfortunately not yet told what it represents. I wouldn't be surprised if her relationship to the colour red will also prove to be significant later on.)

In conclusion, the absence of the "traditional" (NGE) method of conveying psycho-analytical reflections does not mean that the psycho-analysis is absent. You just have to recognize the new methods chosen by Anno to convey the message.

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Postby chee » Fri Jul 27, 2012 9:44 am

View Original PostJornophelanthas wrote:In conclusion, the absence of the "traditional" (NGE) method of conveying psycho-analytical reflections does not mean that the psycho-analysis is absent. You just have to recognize the new methods chosen by Anno to convey the message.


Thank you

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Postby Bagheera » Fri Jul 27, 2012 10:09 am

View Original Postchee wrote:Thank you


Though I'm a bit confused as to how any of this is "new", as all of these methods were used extensively in the original work as well. It seems to me that Anno is just emphasizing some methods more than others in each work even as all of them are present in both -- which is to be expected, given that we're talking about a TV series vs. a series of movies.
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Postby Infinite Freedom Machine » Fri Jul 27, 2012 10:44 am

His comments about the sheltering of children are quite interesting. His rejection of that is quite evident in the series now that I think about it. Makes me excited for the resolution of Gendo and Shinji's relationship in Rebuild.
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Postby FreakyFilmFan4ever » Fri Jul 27, 2012 7:00 pm

View Original PostBagheera wrote:Though I'm a bit confused as to how any of this is "new", as all of these methods were used extensively in the original work as well.

True enough. The tones are different though. (So far.) Maybe that's what he means.

But, let's be real, is there a truly "new" concept anymore?
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Postby Jornophelanthas » Sat Jul 28, 2012 5:54 am

View Original PostFreakyFilmFan4ever wrote:True enough. The tones are different though. (So far.) Maybe that's what he means.

That is at least what I meant with my previous post. Anno is presenting his characters' inner thoughts in Rebuild through different narrative methods than he did in NGE. Even though some or all of the Rebuild narrative methods were present in NGE, and even though some or all of the NGE narrative methods are also used in Rebuild, the emphases are all different, which results in a vastly different experience for the viewer (with regard to "mood" or "atmosphere"), regardless of whether the characters and their inner thoughts are the same between these two works.

View Original PostFreakyFilmFan4ever wrote:But, let's be real, is there a truly "new" concept anymore?

As media theorist Marshall McLuhan would put it, there is nothing "new" that does not simply take the "old" and present it in a novel fashion. It is the medium that determines how the message or content is received and interpreted, regardless of what the content itself actually is about (or whether there even is such content).

So if Anno chooses to present the same message through a new medium*), the end result is "new" in this fashion. However, when you ask for "truly new" in media, you are simply asking for the impossible. Every story or character is always and inevitably a rehash or variation of a pre-existing story or character archetype.
(Movie and literature studies are devoted to identifying such archetypes and tracking their influence throughout media.)

*) My previous post contains a summary of some narrative techniques that Rebuild uses more extensively than NGE to convey the same content. However, you may also consider that four feature length anime movies are a different medium than a 25-minute anime TV series of 26 episodes.

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Postby FreakyFilmFan4ever » Sun Jul 29, 2012 5:02 am

View Original PostJornophelanthas wrote:Shinji's hell train sequences are half-remembered shards conversation (where it's unclear whether they're even his own memories) that are brought in different voices. It's no longer his own voice questioning himself (where in some cases you may doubt whether one of Shinji's voices is even Shinji himself).

From what I remember in NGE, most of introspective Shinji's monologues in NGE didn't occur inside the Hell Train scenes anyway. A lot of those occurred in other kinds of scenes that used simple graphics and off-screen voice-overs, which are missing from NME.
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Postby Jornophelanthas » Sun Jul 29, 2012 5:43 pm

Exactly. My point is: no more voice-overs (such as characters having internal monologues).

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Postby FreakyFilmFan4ever » Sun Jul 29, 2012 7:31 pm

Heh, or sped-up character voices chanting "Shinji."
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Postby Kendrix » Sun Jul 29, 2012 8:50 pm

If you look closely, they even ADDED hell train scenes (Especially in 1.0), they're all but non-present... more than the corresponding anmount of original series had up untill the zeruel battle.
I did note the same shift to more visual metaphors (Many, many things about Asuka, but most obviously, Shinji standing in front of that wrecked motorway. Bam. End of the road.) that Jorno noted, but I don't think the Psycho talk was significantly decreased...
I'd like to mention the aquarium scene... not the comic relief and shipping related cuteness, but Kaji's speech about the responsibilities of survivors and the rebuilding of the earth .... or heck, any scene Kaji is in(He and Misato also get a new scene deliberating on responsibility), to the point that his rebuild VA (not the same guy who did him in the series) mainly remembered that particular role as some gritty serious katastrophe survivor guy as opposed to the common perception of his casanova-ness being his most remembered trait... He didn't get to do that much casanova-ing in rebuild, baring the introduction scene with Ritsuko.

The psycho talk is *abundant*, even the most comon sources of complaint, Mari and Asuka, keep sprouting stuff about doing things alone, and heck, just look at Asuka:
She got all these scenes where she's alone in the darkness of her room or her entry plug, deliberating things about human comunication.
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